As spring ushers in al fresco dining and at-home gatherings, give your cocktail hour some sass and savory takeaways with these oh-so-decadent pairs.
Five Simple, Perfect Cheese and Wine Pairings by Speaker, Author, and Expert, Laura Werlin.
1 Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc + Cypress Grove “Humboldt Fog”
This crisp and vibrant all-chardonnay sparkling wine made by the much heralded Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa Valley is the perfect foil for the rich, creamy, lemony, buttery classic goat cheese made in California’s Humboldt County. The bubbles in the wine love the creamy-chalky texture of the cheese and vice-versa, which is why it’s pretty hard to stop eating and drinking these two seminal products when they’re in the presence of one another.
Can’t find Humboldt Fog? Look for Vermont Creamery’s Coupole, goat brie, or Bucheron.
It’s nice to find an American rosé that hits all the notes a rosé should: light and refreshing, slightly floral but not sweet. Because of that, this wine loves the herbs de Provence, calendula and safflower petal coating on this his small-production semi-hard goat cheese made in the somewhat unlikely locale of Indiana.
Can’t procure Juliana? Look for Fleur de Maquis sheeps’ milk cheese from France or any herbed goat cheese.
3 A to Z Wineworks Chardonnay 2018 + Briar Rose Creamery “Maia”
The lack of oak in this beautiful Oregon chardonnay means that its spectrum of flavors–from apricot to melon, green apple to citrus fruits of all kinds–loves this rich, buttery, delectably creamy Brie-like cheese. This cheese treasure is made by Sarah Marcus, who created the small but mighty Briar Rose Creamery located in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, Willamette Valley.
Can’t get Maia? Look for a buttery brie-like cheese such as Jasper Hill Farm and Cellars “Moses Sleeper,” Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam, or a double-créme from France.
4 Domaine Drouhin Cuvée Laurene Pinot Noir 2016 + Marin French Cheese Company “Petite Truffle”
It doesn’t get better than pinot noir and truffles unless it’s an Oregon pinot noir and a rich buttery truffle cheese. The cheese is made by America’s oldest continually operating cheese operation, Marin French Cheese Company, located northwest of San Francisco. Domaine Drouhin is unquestionably one of America’s best pinot noir producers (chardonnay too!), and with its refinement, structure, and dark fruit flavors, their Cuvée Laurène is not only spectacular on its own, it’s equally so with this memorable cheese.
Hard time finding Petite Truffle? Look for Marin French Cheese Company’s more widely available Truffle Brie, Cypress Grove Cheese’s Truffle Tremor or, from Italy, Boschetto al Tartufo or Moliterno Truffle.
5 Andrew Rich Wines Gewurztraminer Ice Wine 2015 + Rogue Creamery “Caveman Blue”
Pineapple, passion fruit, and acidity love blue cheeses, and the Andrew Rich Gewurztraminer dessert wine heeds the call. Acidity is key in a dessert wine (who wants to drink syrup?), and when paired with the perfectly balanced, earthy, caramel-y, and salty blue cheese that is fellow Oregonian producer Rogue Creamery’s Caveman Blue, there’s no question the sweet-salty pairing will leave you in awe.
Can’t find Caveman Blue? Look for Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company’s Bay Blue, Jasper Hill Farm and Cellars’ Bayley Hazen Blue, Fourme d’Ambert from France or Gorgonzola Piccante from Italy.
Considering the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen held June 19-21? Laura will be presenting two seminars, one on Pacific Northwest cheeses, and another with Bobby Stuckey on Italian cheeses and wines (each seminar is staged twice). Laura Werlin is a corporate and event speaker. For more information, visit https://www.laurawerlin.com/.