January Cheese Club: Iowa

Cheese ClubBlumenkäse
Switzerland

An alpine cheese covered with wildflowers from the meadows of Switzerland. This floral beauty isn’t just pretty on the outside, it’s packed with flavors of French onion soup and sweet carrots on the inside. The rind is decorated in a long list of herbs and flowers, including: winter savory, dill, garlic, caraway, lovage, marjoram, mint, leek, chive, parsley, juniper berries, onion, marigolds, cornflower, roses, and strawberry leaves. 

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: When pairing wine with this cheese, reach for a Chardonnay, Viognier, Bubbles or Fruity Red Wines; for beer, look for something Hoppy and Bitter, such as an IPA.

WINESTYLES: Crisp, Fruity, and Bubbly
BEERSTYLES:
Hoppy and Bitter

Blumenkases


Marcel Petite
Sagesse 24-Month Comté
France

Selected by Essex St. Cheese Co., Sagesse Comté (formerly “Symphony”) represents the highest level a wheel of Comté can achieve at Marcel Petite; only 2% of all production reaches this point. Sagesse Comté is selected in line with the Essex flavor profile, but is bigger and broader in taste with a darker paste and immense tyrosine crystallization. This is an unpasteurized cows’ milk cheese with a powerful depth of flavor, similar to a great piece of dark chocolate. Sagesse Comté is available only once a year.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: When pairing wine with this cheese, reach for a Champagne, aged Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir; for beer, look for something Malty & Sweet such as a Milk Stout.

WINESTYLES: Rich, Mellow, or Bubbly
BEERSTYLES:
Malty & Sweet

MarcelPetiteSagesse

© Photo by Comté Marcel Petite


Monthly Cheese ClubDon’t let your Wine Club go home alone!

Join our Cheese Club and bring home a match made in heaven!

If you enjoy pairing cheese with wine, this is your club!  Each month you’ll discover specialty and artisan cheeses to pair with your Wine Club. Monthly cheese selections are chosen by your local WineStyles participating location. It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing artisan cheese every month! Only $19.99/month and your wine won’t be lonely!  Click to learn more >

September Bubbly Club

Astraeus RoséBubbly Wine ClubWaterkloof
Astraeus Rosé Pinot Noir MCC
Elgin Valley, South Africa

BUBBLY WINE STYLE

“In Greek mythology, ASTRAEUS, father of the four wind gods and the stars was an astrological deity known as the god of the dusk. Appropriately he married Eos who was the goddess of the dawn. Together they had many children, one of whom was named Boreas: God of the cold north wind, which howls relentlessly through Waterkloof’s vineyards and so defines the character of our grapes and resulting wines. While many people believe Waterkloof’s logo depicts a blowing man, it is actually a blowing god – Boreas. No myth, this palest of pale MCC rosés is a true product of nature.” – Waterkloof Wines

This is a lightly colored Pinot Noir Rosé with fine bubbles and not an overpowering mousse. It gives off floral and mineral aromas and strikes a fine balance on the palate between elegance and fine supporting structure. It can be enjoyed on its own or with some classic red fruit desserts.

Analysis: 12% alcohol / volume
TA: 6.2g/l
pH: 3.2
Residual Sugar: 5.24 g/l

ABOUT THE VINEYARDS:
The grapes for Astraeus were sourced from an organically farmed vineyard in Elgin Valley, in the Western Cape of South Africa. Here, the Pinot Noir grapes receive enough cold temperatures during the winter season, as well as during the growing season, with Elgin Valley’s natural level of cloud cover. Elgin has a big diversity in soil types, but this particular vineyard consists of Table Mountain sandstone, which imparts a minerality to the wine.

Vineyard Work 1

WINEMAKING PROCESS:
This hand harvested Pinot Noir is whole bunch basket pressed for the purest juice; no further maceration is allowed. The juice is then left to settle naturally for 12 hours. From there, wild yeast fermentation, with no additions, takes place in old 600 liter barrels, where the wine spends 9 months on the lees. With bottling, champagne yeast is added and the wine is left in bottle on the lees for a further 11 months; after it is disgorged and left under cork for a further 7 months, the wine is ready to be released.

HISTORY OF WATERKLOOF:
In 1993 Paul Boutinot commenced his search for a vineyard site with the potential to produce truly fine wine with a defining sense of origin. The classic areas, capable of growing naturally balanced grapes such as the Cote d’Or, Chablis, Paulliac, Barolo, etc. were either unavailable or unattainable (rich men’s toys), so he had to find a new classic. It took ten years to narrow the search down to a small area on the south-facing slopes of the Schapenberg, overlooking False Bay in the Cape. As soon as he was led up a steep ravine opening out into a hidden amphitheater of potential, all his experience and intuition told him: THIS IS IT! Waterkloof was born, and the hard work began.  Learn more about the Waterkloof story here >

 

Bubbly Wine Club Learn more about our Bubbly Club >

August Cheese Club: Iowa

cheese_club_logo-1240x1240Abondance CheeseAbondance AOP
Rodolphe Le Meunier
Haute-Savoie, France

Abondance, is a semi-hard, traditionally French, mountain cheese produced in the Abondance Valley of Haute Savoie, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. The cheese is made exclusively from unpasteurized cow’s milk sourced from its own breed of cattle, Abondance, as well as Taurine and Montbéliarde. Abondance features a slightly grainy and creamy paste with floral, vegetal, and nutty aromas. On the palate, there’s a beautiful balance of sweetness to acidity; it tastes intensely fruity and buttery with a hazelnut flavor.  Before eating, remove the natural rind its gray layer underneath.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS:
Abondance cheese pairs wonderfully with a dry white wine from the Savoie region; or a light red, such as a Gamay Beaujolais or a light Pinot Noir.  Additionally, this cheese pairs well a crisp, pale lager or a kolsch.

WINESTYLES: Crisp and Fruity
BEERSTYLES: Crisp and Clean

PRODUCTION:
Abondance cheese has had an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) designation since 1990.  AOC designations were created to ensure products with long histories and strong senses of terroir will guard their identity and uniqueness in the marketplace. With this designation, a cheese producer cannot call a cheese Abondance if it is not made within the confines of a singular region, or according to traditional methods and specifications, similar to wine AOCs like Bordeaux, Bourgogne, and Champagne.

Abondance was originally made by monks at the Abbaye d’Abondance (Abondance Abbey) in the 12th century. In the late 1300s, the monks were the official supplier of cheeses to the Avignon popes. This rich, ivory-yellow cheese is made in the area’s mountain chalets from batches of raw milk that combine morning milk with milk from the previous evening. The milk is heated in a copper cauldron to 90° F to warm the curd that is formed, without cooking it. The curd is then cut, drained, put into a round wooden mold, and pressed for a day with a weight on it. It is then salted either by hand, or soaked in brine, then cave aged on spruce planks for six months at a temperature of 54° F and a humidity level of 95%. The cheese is brushed with brine and turned while aging.

Tomme d’Abondance

Comté Fort Saint-Antoine CheeseComté Fort Saint Antoine
Marcel Petite
Jura, France

Comté Fort Saint Antoine is a semi-firm, unpasteurized, aged, cow’s milk cheese from the Jura and Franche-Comté regions of Eastern France. Century-old techniques are used to make Comté, which is the most produced and consumed cheese in France. Made with unpasteurized cow’s milk, from Montbeliarde Cattle or French Simmental (or crossbreeds of the two), the taste is complex, nutty and caramelized with a lingering, but not sharp, flavor. The combination of sweetness and saltiness give this cheese an intriguing flavor. This mature Comté is firm but supple, with a buttery and oily texture. It is traditionally sold in huge blocks and matures for a year before it is ready for sale. The natural cave atmosphere of the fort allows this longer aged Comté to have a rich, nutty, fruitier and more flowery taste than its younger aged counterparts. Considered one of the finest cheeses in the world, a wedge of Comte reveals a pale yellow interior and a texture that can vary from silky, flabby to crystalline.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Comté Cheese is very versatile and pairs beautifully with a Chablis (Chardonnay), a Champagne, or a Pinot Noir. It also pairs well with a light lager, a blonde ale, or a pilsner.

WINESTYLES: Silky, Bubbly and Mellow
BEERSTYLES: 
Crisp and Clean

PRODUCTION:

In 1966, Marcel Petite discovered a defunct military fort in a forest of Haut Doubs, at 3600 feet altitude. The fort’s structure of cut and vaulted stone, covered with a thick layer of soil, providing ideal conditions for “affinage lent” (slow maturing). Petite realized that his Comté cheeses should be aged in their natural environment, near the mountain cheese dairies where they are made. This hard mountain cheese is matured to perfection in the silence and darkness of special caves where the cheese gets its unique taste, texture and color. There are several maturing cellars in the region where Comté is ripened for a minimum of 4 months to 18 or 24 months. Comté generally will get its name from the cellar where it was ripened, such as Comté Fort Saint-Antoine. Today, over 100,000 wheels are ripened for 10 to 20 months, in the Cathedral of Marcel Petite Comté.

Comté was one of the first few kinds of cheese to receive an AOC status in 1958. It is one of the most popular AOC cheeses in France with around 40,000 tons of annual production.

Comté Cheese Production

© Comté Marcel Petite

Comté Production

© Comté Marcel Petite

 

Monthly Cheese ClubDon’t let your Wine Club go home alone!

Join our Cheese Club and bring home a match made in heaven!

If you enjoy pairing cheese with wine, this is your club!  Each month you’ll discover specialty and artisan cheeses to pair with your Wine Club. Monthly cheese selections are chosen by your local WineStyles participating location. It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing artisan cheese every month! Only $19.99/month and your wine won’t be lonely!  Click to learn more >