A Fabulous Wine and Cheese Party for Fall!

The leaves are turning in Central Park and it’s time to celebrate Fall colors with a fabulous Wine & Cheese gathering!

Have a gander at these helpful pairings of delicious cheeses with lovely wines when planning your Fall festivities!


Crisp Fall nights

Aged Cheese – Gruyere, Adam’s Cheddar

  • Chardonnay:  J.Lohr October Night Chardonnay 2007 ($25)
  • Rioja: Bodegas Altanza Lealtanza Crianza Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain ($16)

Goat Cheese – Chevrot, Capri

  • Sauvignon Blanc: 2009 Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, CA ($40)
  • Pinot Noir: 2008 A by Acacia Pinot Noir, California

Blue-veined Cheese – Gorgonzola, Danish Blue, Cambozola

  • Amarone: 2008 Le Tobele Amarone Della Valpolicella Ripasso, Veneto Italy ($15)
  • Muscat: 2009 Joseph Cattin Muscat ($15)

Afternoon Fall delights

Fresh Cheese – Mozzarella, Crescenza

  • Riesling: Late Harvest: Wente Late Harvest 1995 ($10)

Soft Cheese – Camembert, Brie

  • Vinho Verde: 2010 De Gomariz Vinho Verde, Douro, Portugal ($15)
  • Merlot: 2008 Cathedral Cellar Kwv Merlot, Coastal Region, South Africa ($15)

Sheep’s Milk Cheese – Feta, Manchego

  • Zinfandel: 2009 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Red Label, Zinfandel ($22)
  • Sherry: 2008 Savory & James Amontillado Sherry, Spain ($12)

Wine Essentials – Class #1

So, I started this blog not only because of my affinity towards wine but because I wanted to use it as an opportunity to teach myself and learn the value and treasures of the ‘ins and outs’ of wine and the industry.  I started reading ‘wine for dummies’ and realized, it’s just not all that fun “studying” wine without tasting and getting to know how to taste and match foods without an expert giving you a hands on experience…. So, as an investment, I signed up for a Wine Essentials class at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education) in NYC.  My first class was last night and I had the most amazing time listening about wine’s “accidental” creation and how regions were suddenly created as secrets for wine making were not shared and each “region” had to come up with their perfect balance themselves.  We started slow and with background and the wine making process (Location, harvesting, cursing, fermentation, storage, bottling) then went into the fun stuff… TASTING!

Here are a few FUN FACTS from the class along with wines we tried w/ my reco’s…

Fun Facts:

- Port if fortified before it is finished. It is spilled into a barrel that contains brandy
- Alcohol helps wine age more slowly hence why port has a very long lasting life

- Red wines fade as they get older hence the sediment at the bottom of your glass – wine is dropping/loosing it’s color so drink up!
- Red wines get lighter as they age (Purple – Red – Brick – Brown) Don’t drink it if it’s Brown!

- White wines get darker as they age (Green – Yellow – Gold – Brown) Don’t drink it if it’s Brown!
- Wines that taste ‘buttery’ have been fermented in an oak barrel, wines that taste ‘stoney’ are unoaked and most likely are stored in stainless steal!

Last Night’s Tastings (Wine’s I liked BOLDED)

Dolomiti (Trentino-Alto Adige), Pinot Grigio, Alois Lageder 2009 – Retails $22 (Northern Italy)

  • Notes: Fresh/Vibrant and ‘oaky’ in scent; Light weight, Bright acidity, ‘mineralness’, tinge of apple
  • Pairings: Very light and simple fish – Clams, oysters, chicken w/ mushrooms dish – Great sipping wine before dinner

Hawke’s Bay, Chardonnay, Babich Wines 2009 – Retails $18 (New Zealand)

  • Notes: Ripe fruit smell; sweet, ripe plum and cherry flavor with a hint of caramel
  • Pairings: Seared meat, Duck, pasta with a creamy/lemony sauce

Alsace, Pinot Gris, ‘Reserve Personnelle’, Trimbach 2001 – Retails $40 (France)

  • Notes: Smells fruity, heavy weight, earthy flavors ‘acidicly’ rich, smooth finish
  • Pairings: Aged goat cheese, roasted veal, salmon

Champagne, Brut, Nicolas Feuillatte, NV. – Retails $30 (Northern France)

  • Notes: Fruity smell; rich in weight, creamy, soft avidity, oaky, smooth well rounded finish
  • Pairings: Aged goat cheese, Brie

Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, J. Vidal-Fleury 2008 – Retails $32 (Southern France)

  • Notes: Smells of very ripe fruit; Tastes like apricots, peach, less acidity ‘syrupy’ fruitiness.  More alcohol than Champagne
  • Pairings: Salty nuts, dried apricot, apricot or peach tarts

Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir, Benton Lane 2008 – Retails $22 (Oregon)

  • Notes: smells of berries, sour cherry and strawberry; LIght some acidity, sour cherry, fades fast, simple red
  • Pairings: fish, chicken, brie, grilled salmon, light pasta dishes

Medoc, Cru Bourgeois, Chateau Greysac 2006 – Retails $19 (France)

  • Notes: Oaky, cedar smell; heavy in weight, dark fruit, tannins, taste of oak
  • Pairings: An elegant red wine that is delicious with beef, lamb (heavier meats)

Valle de Uco, ‘Numina’, Gran Corte, Salentein 2006 – Retails $45 (Argentina)

  • Notes: Heavier in smell than Medoc, ripe fruit smell (no oak); Fruity tannins, sweet, ripe plum and cherry
  • Pairings: Seared meat with a sweeter/richer sauces

Porto, ‘Six Grapes Reserve’, Graham’s, NV – Retails $30 (Portugal)

  • Notes: Dark cherry and plum smells; dark cherry, heavy vintage style, dark fruits – 18% Alcohol
  • Pairings: Great at the end of a meal paired with a rich, nutty or chocolate dessert as well as strong cheeses

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