December Cheese Club: Iowa

Cheese Clubletivaz-cheeseGenillard Philippe and Marianne
L’Etivaz AOP
Ormont-Dessus, Switzerland

L’Etivaz AOP is a hard alpine cheese produced by hand in over 100 creameries in the Vaud Alps between May and October using raw milk, under an open fire and the traditional recipe. The long ripening process brings out the rich, powerful aromas which come from the large amounts of herbs the cows consume. This is an excellent dessert cheese, fondue, or cheese that will compliment many cuisines. Members will enjoy two distinctive varieties of the L’Etivaz AOP, both a floral and onion style.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: When pairing wine with this cheese, reach for a Crisp Chardonnay, a Fruity Barbera d’Alba, or a Fruity Pinot Noir. For beer, grab something light and crisp, such as a Hard Cider.

WINESTYLES: Crisp or Fruity
BEERSTYLES:
Crisp and Clean

PRODUCTION:
The Alpine pastures are situated at an altitude of between 1,000 to 2,000 meters. The raw milk comes from cows which graze on the natural pastures of the Vaud Alps and Alpine foothills. It is these pastures, rich in wild flowers, that create the aroma and provide the unique flavor of L’Etivaz AOP. To make the cheese, t
he milk from the evening milking is stocked in churns until the following morning, when the cheesemaker skims off the cream with a ladle. The evening milk and morning milk are then poured into a copper cauldron. The milk, enriched with lactic bacteria obtained from the production center itself, is gently heated to 89.6°F over a wood fire. The cheesemaker then adds the rennet, which consists of natural enzymes extracted exclusively from the abomasum of young calves. After stirring the milk for a few minutes the cheesemaker stops the mixer and allows the milk to rest so that it can curdle.

The cheesemaker then stretches a cheesecloth on a rod, slides it under the curds and lifts out the cheese mass which he then puts into a mould and presses. The wheel of cheese thus formed must subsequently be turned over several times. The producer then puts the L’Etivaz AOP casein mark on it as well as his initials in order to be able to guarantee traceability. The wheels remain in the press until the following morning. Weighing between 33 and 84 lbs., the wheels are rubbed with cheese dairy salt and kept at the alpine production center for a maximum of 7 days. For more information, click here.

 

 

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 >

December Bubbly Club

Bubbly Wine ClubChampagne Collet RoseChampagne Collet
Brut Rosé
Aÿ-Champagne, France

BUBBLY WINE STYLE

“This Brut Rosé Champagne seduces with its intense pink color, its tenderness and harmony.”

This Brut Rosé Champagne is intense and luminous peach-pink color. On the nose it first gives off floral fragrances, which give way to fragrances of orange, mandarin, yellow peach and red fruits – mulberries and raspberries. It has a beautiful freshness and a delicate nose with notes of brown sugar. Enjoyment and elegance describe this cuvée Brut Rosé. A richness of fruits – mulberry, blackcurrant, and peach – and a note of cocoa, make a round, supple, velvety wine. This wine has a beautiful, silky texture, sustained by a tender effervescence.

Brut Rosé will delight the palate as an aperitif, but also lends itself perfectly to a buttery lobster or a red fruit dessert.

Analysis: 12.5% alcohol / volume
Varietals: 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier
Closure: Natural Cork
Critical Acclaim:  91 pts. Wine Spectator

VINEYARD:
The grapes in this wine have their origin in 20 Crus from the Grand and Premier Crus sites of the Champagne region. The Chardonnay comes predominantly from the Premier Cru of Vertus and gives the wine freshness and lemony notes, while the mineral dimension and flinty aromas, come from the Cru of Villers-Marmery, which has a limestone soil. The Grands Crus and Premiers Crus villages, such as Chouilly, Avize, Oger and Vaudemange, complete the blend with great complexity. The Pinot Noir comes from the Grands Cru and Premiers Cru villages of Ay, Hautvillers, Avenay Val d’Or and Louvois; it produces light, tender and fruity wines, while the Pinot Meunier imparts a roundness and suppleness. This unique blend of terroirs, producing a unique Rosé Champagne.

Brut Rosé

Photo by Eric Vanden at Champagne Collet

ABOUT THE WINERY:

Since 1921, Maison Collet has been creating distinctive champagnes that appeal to a clientele of demanding wine connoisseurs in search of authentic, elegant and refined champagnes. Established in Aÿ, in the heart of the Champagne region, Maison Collet uses primarily Premier and Grand Crus in its wines in order to reflect the diversity of the Champagne terroirs. Champagne Collet is a gastronomic wine and every cuvée has been created to complement various fine dining and fine drinking experiences, whether served as an aperitif or paired with the most sophisticated of dishes.

Raoul Collet became Director of Champagne Collet in 1928. At the time he was a wine producer in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and had created his eponymous brand in 1921. Over his lifetime (1896-1960), he dedicated 30-years of work to Maison Collet, which he took to the most important French and international exhibitions. He was the instigator of property investments and was behind the brand’s first advertising campaigns. During his tenure as director, he lived in the Villa Collet with his family.

This spirit of the “Roaring Twenties” lives on at Maison Collet today and is reflected in its rich heritage and its elegant, Art Deco-inspired visual identity. The elegant transparency of the Champagne Collet labels gives the brand a contemporary feel and is an expression of the brand’s sincerity and taste for innovation. This design universe has been applied to all the Champagne House’s creations, from the champagnes’ packaging, gift boxes and cases, to the decor of Villa Collet, our “brand home”. Learn more about Champagne Collet here.

Bubbly Wine Club Learn more about our Bubbly Club >

Skylark Pinot Blanc

Creamy Lemon Pappardelle with Scallops

Creamy Lemon Scallop Pasta

© Spices in my DNA

INGREDIENTS:

For the scallops

  • 1 pound jumbo scallops, side muscle removed
  • small drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • squeeze of lemon

For the pasta

  • 9 ounces pappardelle pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus extra for serving

DIRECTIONS:

For the scallops

  1. Make sure scallops are super dry, pat down thoroughly with paper towels until they’re dry. Season with pepper (no salt yet). Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small drizzle of olive oil and the butter. Once melted, wipe out the pan so that only a thin layer of oil and butter remain. Sear the scallops on one side for about 2 minutes, or until a golden brown crust forms. Flip and sear on the other side for 1 minute or until just cooked through. Season with salt and a squeeze of lemon.

For the pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water generously. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Be sure to scoop out the pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking, or right before you drain it.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil. Once melted and hot, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant, stirring constantly. If it seems too hot, reduce the heat to medium (you don’t want the garlic to brown). Add the reserved pasta water (start with 1/4 cup), mascarpone, ricotta, parmesan, and lemon zest, and stir until melted and creamy. Add the pasta and toss until coated. If the sauce seems too dry, add another splash of pasta water and toss until desired consistency is reached. Add the chopped basil and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the scallops over the pasta, and garnish with extra fresh basil and parmesan. Enjoy!

© Recipe from Spices in my DNA

DECEMBER WINE CLUB:

Silky styleSkylark Wine Company
Pinot Blanc
Mendocino County, California

SILKY WINE STYLE

Light straw yellow in color. High-toned aromatics of lime peel, roasted lemon, Granny Smith apple and a complicating note of pebbled soil. Intense and penetrating on the palate, the flavors follow through with the roasted lemon and green apple enlivened by natural acidity. Deftly light and concentrated at the same time, with the crunchy fruit streaming into a palate-staining finish.

One of Skylark’s oldest vineyard sources is Bernie Orsi’s Pinot Blanc outside of Hopland in Mendocino, California. Originally planted by John Fetzer in the 1970s, John and Robert walked through the oldest block of this site in 2005. Impressed by the thick, stubby trunks and gnarled old vines, they signed on to purchase that section for harvest 2005.  They have now grown production to almost the entire vineyard for Skylark’s Pinot Blanc bottling. After picking, the fruit is whole cluster pressed into a tank, then racked to Mueller stainless steel barrels for fermentation. Stirred the lees once, blocked malolactic fermentation and bottled with a light filtration. No doubt, this vintage of Pinot Blanc will brighten your day.

John L and Robert P

Photo by Skylark Wine: John L. and Robert P.

Analysis: 13.2% alcohol / volume
pH: 3.28 g/L
TA: 7.1
Aging:
Whole cluster pressed and vinification in multiple stainless steel 75gl barrels

Harvested: Hand-picked
Vineyard: Orsi Vineyard
Cases Produced: 800

“To reflect our palates, the portfolio at Skylark includes crisp, flavorful, aromatic white wines and full-bodied, rich, spicy red wines. As we have long admired the beautiful white wines produced in Alsace and Austria, our Pinot Blanc is a California rendition of a classic European varietal.”

 

Wine club logoJoin our WINE CLUB and enjoy these amazing wines and pairing recipes each month. Plus, you’ll receive 10% off all retail wine purchases!

Learn More >

November Cheese Club: Iowa

Cheese ClubCrucolo Il Piu SaporitoRifugio Crucolo
Crucolo Il Piu Saporito
Scurelle, Italy

Crucolo “Il Piu Saporito”, which means “more tasty”, is a semi-hard, mild asiago cheese coming from the Trentino region in northern Italy. The milk to make this cheese is selected from the cows that roam the pastures beneath the Trento Mountains. Crucolo has a surprisingly tangy finish to its creamy flavor.

The center is white and buttery with diffused and uniform holes, making for a very characteristic cheese. The sub-crust is evenly distributed – an indicator of great attention to detail during the ripening period. The ripening process lasts over 60 days, and must be performed under optimum temperature and humidity conditions. In the aging period, the cheese forms are wetted and washed with water, then turned twice a week. The final product boasts flavors that are sweet, slightly sour, and perfectly salty with a slight bitter-spicy note.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Reach for our November Wine Club wine, Finca Buenaventura Aureo Cabernet Sauvignon, when pairing with this cheese. For beer, grab a Hard Cider or a Porter when pairing with this cheese.

WINESTYLES: Bold
BEERSTYLES:
Fruity and Spicy

ABOUT RIFUGIO CRUCOLO:
The company takes its name from the place where it was built, and still today is the restaurant Rifugio Crucolo, on the “top” of the mountain in the heart of Val Campelle- halfway between the Valsugana and the Lagorai mountain range.

The Crucolo Refuge has entered the register of historic businesses, as it has remained in the same family management since 1782. Thanks to the love and loyalty of customers, the Crucolo company continues to grow each year. Today, they are exporting their own brand of cured meats, cheeses, and liqueurs worldwide.


GarrotxaSant Gil d’Albió
Garrotxa
Catalonia, Spain

Gorratxa, pronounced ‘ga-ROCH-ah’, is a semi-ripened cheese with a natural flowery rind. Made with pasteurized goat’s milk, it is creamy and compact texture in the cut. This moist and cakey Catalonian import is fast becoming Spain’s most famous goat cheese. Crafted in the foothills of Northern Spain, Garrotxa offers a white pepper piquancy and looks like a river-stone. Its milky, delicate taste is not at all typical of a goat’s cheese. The full-bodied cheese is rich in flavor with a soft paste and a moist, creamy, yet almost flaky, texture. It is covered by a velvety grey mould coating that lends it a woody aroma, yet the rind is not ideal for eating. Garrotxa’s flavor is reminiscent of damp earth underlined by slightly nutty & herbal essences.

HOW IT IS MADE:
Made with pasteurized goat’s milk, then aged for several weeks in caves to ensure the delicately, cakey texture won’t harden up.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS: For wine, pair with a Cava or the Finca Buenaventura Aureo Chardonnay from this month’s Wine Club. The clean, lactic qualities of the cheese strike harmoniously with the fruitiness of these two wines.  For beer, look to pair with a Farmhouse Ale or Sour from our Sour, Tart and Funky or Fruity and Spicy sections.

WINESTYLES: Silky, Nectar, or Bubbly
BEERSTYLES: Sour, Tart and Funky, or Fruity and Spicy

ABOUT SANT GIL D’ALBIÓ:
Sant Gil d’Albió is a family business in Catalonia, Spain, with 35 years of experience in the production of artisanal cheeses. Currently produce close to 90,000 kg (about 198,416 pounds) of cheese a year; their products are made in an artisanal way, producing only the highest quality of cheeses. Sant Gil d’Albió exports about 40% of their production, mainly shipping to the United States and throughout Europe.

Sant Gil d’Albió is a dynamic, growing company; expanding their range of products and modernizing their facilities, without forgetting their roots. They are a leading company in the production of artisanal cheese in Catalonia, receiving various awards for the quality of their products, including Garrotxa cheese, Lactium d’Or 2019 award.

The family business is part of the ‘Lal de Cabres Catalanes’ label, a group of farmers and cheesemakers that defend the consumption of products made with local milk. They continuously maintain the quality of all cheeses and ensure all products are sold at a fair price.


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 >

October Collector’s Wine Club: Iowa

Collectors Wine ClubBandeau Cave

Extrait BlancDomaine Chante Cigale
Extrait Blanc
Châteauneuf du Pape, France

Rich WineStylesRICH WINE STYLE

Vinified, aged in an ovoid concrete vat and selected from an outstanding terroir: this wine is truly “Haute Couture”. This Blanc Extrait has a very pure nose, mineral and saline coated by a fruit white white flesh; powerful, elegant and creamy mouth feel. Pairs well with Provencal and Mediterranean cuisine, foie gras, lobster, scallops, and king prawn.

“Freshly cut pear, fairly full in body. with a pear juice texture and flavor. Acidity is low but balanced, with a little positive bitter twist accentuating the freshness. Fairly long finish, not hugely deep, but very well put together Organically grown on clay soils in lieu-dit Palestor to the north of the village. Fermented then matured for 10 months, half in demi-muid, half in concrete tank.” – 93 pts, Matt Walls – 2018 En primeur tastings, Rhône Valley

“The 2018 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc Extrait is 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc, with roughly half made in demi-muids and the other part in concrete. A bit reticent right now, with just hints of pineapple and tangerine, it’s full-bodied but tightly wound and tense, seemingly in need of time to unwind. It’s by no means unapproachable now, but it should be better in a year or two and will drink well for close to a decade.” – 91+ pts, Joe Czerwinski – The Wine Advocate 2019

Terroir: Clay – Limestone 70% (lieu dit: Palestor), Rolled Pebbles 30% (lieu dit: Cabrières)
Age of Vineyard: 40 years old
Varietal: 70% Roussanne, 30% Grenache Blanc
Aging: 9 months on fine sediments
Aging Potential: 10 years
Serving Temperature: 50-53.6° F
Production: 1,700 Bottles

About Domaine Chante Cigale

Domaine Chante Cigale has been in operation in Southern Rhone Valley for more than 150 years. Founded in 1874, Hyppolite Jourdan named roughly 28 hectares of family property Clos Chante Cigale. In 1936, the same year the Chateauneuf de Pape AOC was created, the estate was renamed to Domaine Chante Cigale.

Today, Domaine Chante Cigale is one of the most important family estates of Châteauneuf du Pape.  Alexandre Favier is now carefully running the winery by keeping up with the winemaker’s tradition of the family.

The Estate now stretches over 40 hectares on the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation, divided into 45 parcels, scattered all over this exceptional terroir.  The diversity of its soils and of the grape varieties allows the elaboration of a unique and exceptional wines.  Alexandre Favier and his team are taking good care of every step of the wine production themselves, respecting the spirit of the Domaine. 

Domaine Chante Cigale VineyardsDomaine Chante Cigale Harvest

 

Bold wine Style logoExtrait RougeDomaine Chante Cigale
Extrait Rouge
Châteauneuf du Pape, France

BOLD WINE STYLE

A genuine and rustic wine that will go through decades. Showcasing a deep, red color, with a complex nose of black fruit and licorice. The Extrait Rouge has a very powerful mouth, that is fleshy and concentrated, with very fine and dense tannins. Pairs well with roasted meat, pigeon, lamb, pecking duck and sheep’s cheese.

A broad, muscular style, with chestnut and tobacco leaf notes and roasted cedar accents framing a large core of lightly dried plum, red currant and blackberry fruit. Cuts a broad swath on the finish, offering a long echo of humus. Will likely age toward a more rustic profile. For fans of the style.” – 92 pts, JM 2017

The smallest production cuvée is the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Extrait. An uncommon blend of 70% Mourvèdre and 20% Grenache, aged in demi-muids and older barrels, its deep ruby color is followed by rich, concentrated and ripe aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, toasted spice, licorice and roasted herbs. This big, mouth-filling and structured 2015 will need to be forgotten for 3-4 years and will have two decades of overall longevity.” – 92-94 pts, Jeb Dunnuck – The Wine Advocate 2016

Terroir: Rolled Pebbles (lieu-dit: Le Calada)
Age of Vineyard: 100 years old
Varietal: 80% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache
Aging: 30 months in demi muid
Aging Potential: 15-20 years
Serving Temperature: 60.8-64.4° F
Production: 800 Bottles

Bandeau DomaineAbout Chateauneuf-du-Pape

In the 14th Century, under the reign of Pope John XXII, the Avignon village became the summer residence of the papacy. As for the precious nectar produced in this area, he granted it the rank of “Vin du Pape”, opening the doors of the great European courts.  More than likely, during Gallo-Roman times the vines covered the territory of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. However, the first written evidence of its existence dates from 1157. In keeping with local tradition and planting himself, Geoffroy, bishop of Avignon, had a vineyard within the territory of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. However, it’s the popes from the fourteenth century that were the real promoters of the wine growing business of the appellation.

By the 19th Century, the wines were very well known, enjoyed by famous people, poets, literary and cultural associates in Paris.  By the 20th Century, winemakers were anxious to defend the growing reputation of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, the beginnings of the current system of AOC.  The 1919 wine appellation law on “designations of origin” was too general and didn’t prevent fraud. The constituent meeting of the “Châteauneuf-du-Pape winegrowers union” took place in October 1923. After several years of legal proceedings, the decree of the appellation is published and Châteauneuf-du-Pape becomes the first wine-making AOC of France on May 15, 1936.  Still in force today, it continues to protect and guarantee the quality of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. The vineyards now cover 7900 acres in the towns of Châteauef-du-Pape, Bédarrides, Courthézon, Orange and Sorgue.


Love to collect amazing wines? 
Learn more about our quarterly Collectors Club > click here

Collectors Wine Club

 
 
 

Mediterranean Baked Halibut

Mediterranean baked halibut

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 1/3 lb halibut cut in 4 pieces or baked whole
• 2 tablespoons olive oil (reserve 1 TBS)
• fresh ground black pepper
• Kosher salt to taste
• ¼ cup red onion finely diced
• 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
• ¼ cup Spanish olives halved
• ¼ cup Kalamata olives halved
• ½ cup parsley chopped
• zest of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS:
• Preheat the oven to 425°F.
• Using 1 tablespoon of olive oil, brush the fish on both sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
• Place the fish in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the fish is opaque in the center.
• While the fish cooks, heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
• Add the red onion, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 2 minutes.
• Add the tomatoes, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook for another 2 minutes until it just started to wilt and release juices.
• Stir in the olives, parsley and lemon zest and transfer the sauce to a bowl.
• To serve, place the halibut on a plate, top with the olive and tomato mixture. Serve immediately. © Recipe courtesy of Vintners Alliance.

FEBRUARY WINE CLUB PAIRING:

Robert Eden ChardonnaySilky style
Robert Eden Collection
Chardonnay
Languedoc, France

SILKY WINE STYLE

Robert Eden, co-owner and winemaker of Château Maris, is recognized worldwide for his commitment to sustainable and organic viticulture. The Robert Eden Collection is his latest project, made with organic grapes from the Languedoc region in the South of France. Year-round sunshine and high winds provide a dry environment, naturally keeping away pests and vine diseases. This makes for perfect conditions for organic agriculture and beautifully balanced, ripe grapes. Robert selects the best vineyards and hand-crafts each wine to bring out the purest expression of Chardonnay grapes.

Winemaker Robert Eden“Yellow straw color. Aromas of baked apple, phyllo pastry, butter cream, dried pineapple, and dried sage with a satin, soft, dry yet-fruity, light-to-medium body and a smooth, buoyant vanilla, cream finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. An easy-drinking Chardonnay with toasty notes of pastry and baked apples. Pairs well with everyday cooking, grilled food, mixed salads, Asian-inspired dishes or enjoy as aperitif.” – Robert Eden, Winemaker

Winemaker: Robert Eden
Appellation: Languedoc, France
Varietal: Chardonnay
Analysis: 12.5% alcohol / volume
Critical Acclaim: Silver Medal, World Wine Championship 2019

Wine club logoJoin our WINE CLUB and enjoy these amazing wines and pairing recipes each month. Plus, you’ll receive 10% off all retail wine purchases, 4 free tasting tickets and special discounts to attend wine tasting events, classes and more!