Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – January 16, 2013

Wine expert Karen MacNeil has described Beaujolais as "the only white wine that happens to be red"

Beaujolais is made from the Gamay Grape which has a thick skin and is low in tannins. Beaujolais tends to be a very light-bodied red wine, with relatively high amounts of acidity. This has created a negative reputation among consumers who associate Gamay-based Beaujolais wines with the slightly sweet, simple light bodied wines that characterize the Beaujolais Nouveau Craze. However, there are now many Cru Beaujolais communes which has resulted in a rise in the number of more complex, terrior-driven estate-bottled wines that are aged longer in oak barrels prior to their release.

Cru Beaujolais can now be treated like red Burgundy in regard to pairing with food. However cheese presents a different problem. Lighter Beaujolais wines pair best with mild cheeses while many cru Beaujolais can stand up to aged cheese. However, for our tasting most experts recommend lighter cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, Goat and young Goudas.

Our cheeses for tonight are:

Fromager d'Affinois - a classic pairing and a favorite at Le Tastevin. It is often mistaken for a triple-creme brie, this delicious French double-creme cheese has a butterfat content of "only" 30% due to a special technique called "double filtration" that decreases the size of the fat globules and disperses them more evenly throughout the paste. This makes the cheese feel richer on the palate than it really is. Beneath the bloomy edible rind, the soft paste is sweet, mild and creamy and is best spread on bread. Enjoy it with a Beaujolais.

Uniekaas Meadowkass (Meadow Grass) - a light, young Dutch Gouda only made for three months of the year, during the cows first grazing on spring time grass. Over the winter the grasses have grown rich in nutrients resulting in copious amounts high cream fresh milk. This butter colored cheese is mild and creamy with a slight nutty flavor and a hint of salt and sweetness on the finish. You may notice a slight grassiness in the cheese which matches a grassiness in Beaujolais wines. Obviously it is only available in limited quantities a few months a year. Ideal match for Beaujolais.

Montchevré Goat Cheese Medallions - plain and lightly seasoned, from France. There are many types of goat chesses available, from creamy mild spreads, to pungent crumbly discs. Our medallions are plain, pepper and basil. The tangy flavor of the goat cheese is best offset by either a crisp White Sauvignon Blanc or a young red wine. The best red wines to pare are a Zinfandel, Pinot Noir or Beaujolais.

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