Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – September 13, 2023

Pinot Noir from Burgundy have flavors of ripe red berries, sweet black cherries, mushrooms and what sommeliers call forest floor, that smell you get from freshly fallen damp leaves. Sheep's milk cheeses often pair especially well with Pinot Noir, but they're not the only ones. All in all, Pinot Noir tends to be a somewhat versatile wine with cheese. The exceptions can sometimes be strong, stinky cheeses and fresh goat cheeses, which overwhelm this delicate grape. Tonight's Comté and Guyere, which tend to pair nicely, comes from the owner of York (Tommy York) in Ann Arbor, and the bread comes from Whole Foods, also in Ann Arbor. Cheeses that I tried to find but couldn't that would have paired nicely were Abbaye de Belloc, Roucoulons and Zamarano.

Comté (raw cow’s milk) has the same sweet, nutty character that makes so many sheep's milk cheeses pair well with Pinot Noir. Aged versions of Comté that have a stronger, sharper flavor might overwhelm some Pinots, however this aged (20 months) French cheese may be quite harmonious with our wines tonight. Comté (also called Gruyère de Comté or Comte Fort Saint Antoine) is a French cheese from the Jura Massif region of Eastern France since the 13th Century. This hard mountain cheese is matured in the darkness of special caves where the cheese gets its unique fruity and salty taste, pale yellow interior color, and a texture varying from silky, flabby to crystalline. Comté is ripened for a minimum of 4 months to 18 or 24 months. The iconic Fort des Rousses cellar, over 214 metres long, is where Charles Arnaud Grand Reserve cheeses are kept. The imposing Charles Arnaud cellar is dedicated exclusively to Comté cheeses reserved by cheese and dairy product sellers.

Gruyere (pasteurized cow’s milk) is a type of Swiss cheese that is nutty and earthy, with a slight sweetness. Unfortunately, although this cheese tasted very good at the store, they had very little information on the producer.

As a slight change of pace, I have also include a thinly sliced rosette salami made by Pillars in Canda as a salty and fatty meat indulgence.

Page last updated: May 10, 2024 (EB)

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