The answer... after exhaustive tastings, they were the best examples of that magical taste experience when wine and cheese compliment each other perfectly!
We laughingly say... "Wine and cheese tastings. It's a tough job but someone got to do it." And it is a tough job, let me walk you through our process.
First Molly, Lisa and I commandeered the Gathering Room. We opened 10 of our wines (white, reds, old favorites and new releases). Then let the reds breathe for a bit.
Second we tasted through all the cheese samples from Golden Glen and picked (scored) our favorites based just on the cheese merits.
15 Cheddars - natural, raw, length of aging, sharpness and flavors.
4 Goudas - Medium to very old and a reserve
Cheddar Cheese Curds - which I love, my new snack treat
Third we taste the wines and the cheeses we selected one at a time. This is a very lengthy process. You put a piece of cheese in your mouth, let it soften into a "slurry" and then taste the wine.
Fourth we rank each wine/cheese tastings under 3 categories: Doesn't work, It's OK, It's a Keeper. As an example: we started with Chardonnay and sampled this wine with about 9 cheese selections. Then we tried La Galopine with the same cheeses... and so forth through the reds. Of course we had to take breaks and drink lots of water. When you find the perfect pairings, you just know it. Me... I'm smiling with remnants of the cheese and wine on my tongue... trying to sputter"This is It".
I knew when the pairings were right but Lisa and Molly would have lengthy discussions on the flavored cheddars and the nuances of seasonings in cooking. Why they would pair a white wine with a chicken recipe seasoned with "X" but choose another wine with chicken seasoned with "Y".
As a result of these discussions our pairings with Golden Glen's seasoned, flavored cheeses took on a new dimension. It went beyond serving the right cheese with wine for our event; it moved into the kitchen...
Our Favorites and Lisa's Tasting Notes:
Golden Glen Sweet Basil Cheddar and Olympic Cellars 2009 La Galopine (Roussanne/Viognier Blend). Pleasantly sweet and temptingly delicious. Our La Galopine has a nice florally expression due to the Viognier grape, which I particularly like. The sweet basil in the cheese compliments that floral character. It draws it out. If the cheese didn’t have the basil, it would still be fine with the wine, but not exceptional.
Golden Glen Chive & Onion Cheddar and 2009 Dungeness Red Lemberger. The “spice” in both the wine and cheese create a fabulous complimentary pairing. The Dungeness Red is an acidic red wine. A lot of Italian Reds are acidic. They tend to pair with either more acidic foods or fatty foods. Cheddar cheese is both acidic and fatty, so combine that with the earthy flavors of the onion and herby flavors of the chive and you have a match.
Golden Glen Signature Cheese, River Cheddar and Olympic Cellars New Release 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. A double-cream Cheddar that is aged at least one year. The River Cheddar is smooth and creamy with a little tang. It brings out the fruity fullness of our Cab, but doesn’t overpower the wine. It may seem counterintuitive, but bold red wines tend to pair with creamy but mild cheeses.
Northwest Wine and Cheese Tour
Saturday and Sunday, April 14-15
11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Cheese Pairing in the cellar
Additional Wine Tasting at the Bar
Wine/Cheese Soup in the Gathering Room
Magical Bovines roaming the Winery
We look forward to visiting with you this weekend and pouring our wines...
The Working Girls,
Molly, Lisa, Kristi, Cally and Kathy