The Art of Tasting - Finding Flavors in Cheese & Wine with Formaggio

This past Tuesday I was able to take another excellent Formaggio class, The Art of Tasting. I learned what to take into consideration when tasting wine and cheese. For example, in wine, there are three main characteristics: acidity, sweetness, and alcohol. Cheese has four main characteristics to take into consideration: appearance, feel, smell, and taste. Hopefully I can become a bit more of an expert taster, now that I'm equipped with this information!

On to the tasting! We began with Mothais sur Feuille, a goat's milk cheese from Poitou-Charentes, France, that was served with Arraya Confiture de Citron from Aquitaine, France. This paired wonderfully with the 2012 Langhe Cellario Favorita. The second cheese was the Saveur du Maquis, a sheep's milk cheese from Corsica, France. It was served with a tasty honey, Gaec Miel du Printemps, from Corsica, France.

The next set of cheeses were paired with my favorite type of wine - Riesling. It was a 2011 Leitz Eins Zwei Dry! Riesling from Rheingau, Germany. It paired best with Pantaleo, a goat's milk cheese from Sardinia, Italy, that was served with dried Blenheim apricots. The second cheese of the set was Comté Trois Sapins, a cow's milk cheese from Jura, France. The ever-excellent Comte was served with both Beaufor Moutarde a l'Ancienne, from Dijon, France, and Rosette de Lyon, from Lyon, France.

It's Rosé season, and the third set of cheeses paired wonderfully with the 2012 Cocagne Coteaux di Vendômois Rosé from the Loire Valley in France. The first cheese of this set was a buffalo's milk cheese, which I haven't had nearly as often as the other, more common milk types, like cow, goat, and sheep. It was good, though; Quadrello di Bufala, from Bergamo, Italy, served with Confettura di Pompelmo from Sicily. The second cheese was a delicious sheep's milk cheese, Brebis Pardou, from Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France. It was served with the yummy, fruity Arraya Confiture de Fraise et Framboise from Aquitaine, France.

Spain's famous Manchego cheese was next; Manchego Curado, a sheep's milk cheese from Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. It was served with a very reliable cheese pairing - figs, in this case, Chatelain Confiture de Figue, from Rhône-Alpes, France. To balance this excellent cheese, 2011 Solar de Randez Rioja Joven, a dark red wine from Laguardia, Spain, was chosen. It also paired very well with the Bayley Hazen Blue, a cow's milk cheese that's been a favorite of mine for a while. It's made fairly locally, in Vermont, USA. It was served with Blanxart dark chocolate from Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, and wound up being one of my favorite pairings of the night!


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