December Sweet Club

Sweet Wine ClubKiona Red Mountain Ice WineKiona Vineyards
Chenin Blanc Ice Wine
Red Mountain AVA
Washington

NECTAR WINE STYLE

While the Red Mountain AVA is known for big, powerful red wine, it’s also an exceedingly good place to grow white varietals. The Kiona Estate Vineyard has four acres of Chenin Blanc planted in a depression, ensuring a consistent freeze year-in, year-out. We don’t pick Ice Wine until the grapes are naturally frozen in the vineyard, typically picking in the early morning hours before the sun rises.

Ice Wine is one of the world’s most elusive and delicious elixirs. Kiona prefers to use Chenin Blanc, a varietal that allows for robust acidity and intense green and tropical fruit flavors. Kiona’s philosophy with this wine is to emphasize acidity over outright sweetness, a tactic that ensures a balanced, crisp wine that dances on the tongue.

Food Pairing Recommendations: Ideal with fruit desserts, including pastries and tarts.

WineStyles’ Wine and Cheese Pairing: Sweet wines from our ‘Nectar’ section pair well with an herbal cheese, such as a gorgonzola. Learn more about our wine and cheese pairings here.

Analysis:
9% alcohol / volume
pH: 3.26
TA:
8.63 g/L
Residual Sugars: 175 g/L
Vineyard Source: 100% Kiona Estate, Red Mountain, Washington
Vineyard Blocks Planted: 1976, 1983
Varietal Composition: 100% Chenin Blanc
Winemaking: 100% Stainless, 31.3º Brix @ Harvest

PRODUCTION: Heat accumulation tracked slightly behind the previous vintage on Red Mountain. Bloom occurred slightly ahead of historical averages, and during ideal weather conditions. Crop loads were heavy going into the summer, resulting in the need to perform additional thinning. Weather during harvest (September-October) was ideal. It’s a stellar high acid and high sugar vintage.

Photo by John Vitale of Washington Tasting

Photo by John Vitale of Washington Tasting Room Magazine


ABOUT THE VINEYARD:
While Red Mountain is known for big, powerful red wines, it’s also an exceedingly good place to grow white varietals. The Kiona Estate vineyard has four acres of Chenin Blanc planted in a depression, increasing the likelihood that we are able to produce Ice Wine. They don’t pick the grapes until they are naturally frozen in the vineyard, a process that concentrates the sugar and flavor to unprecedented levels.

ABOUT THE WINERY:
In 1975 John Williams and Jim Holmes’ families planted the first vineyard on Red Mountain, an area now known for producing some of the world’s most powerful, opulent wines of distinction. For three generations their families have worked side by side, hand in hand to craft exciting, vineyard-driven wines that capture the essence of Red Mountain. Learn more about Kiona Vineyards here.

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Sweet Club

November Sweet Club

Sweet Wine ClubIl MoscatoMionetto
Il Moscato
Veneto, Italy

BUBBLY WINE STYLE

Founded in 1887 by Francesco Mionetto in the small village of Valdobbiadene, Mionetto has an established reputation for quality, tradition and innovation. In the heart of the Prosecco region, Mionetto produces exceptional wines with consistent national and international acclaim.

Mionetto’s Il Moscato has a bright, golden, straw yellow color; persistent nose reminiscent of aromatic grapes; elegant, sweet, delicate palate. Overflowing with stone fruit aromas such as peach and apricot, with slight floral overtones On the palate, it tastes of bright juicy fruit with a refreshing zing from the delicate bubbles. The persistent, fine bubbles enhance the taste experience.

Food Pairing Recommendations: Ideal with fruit, pastries and tarts.

WineStyles’ Wine and Cheese Pairing: Sweet wines from our ‘Bubbly’ section pair well with soft or pungent cheeses, such as a Brie and Camembert. Learn more about our wine and cheese pairings here.

Analysis:
7% alcohol / volume
Varietal: Moscato
Residual Sugar: 70 g/l
Acidity: 6 g/l
Winemaker: Francesco Mionetto

ABOUT THE WINERY:
In 1887, master winemaker Francesco Mionetto opened the winery in Valdobbiadene, in the heart of the Prosecco area, just north of Venice. His love and passion for the region and its wines are still to this day a fundamental value for this unique winery. Mionetto has become a flagship for the area and a shining example of Prosecco production on the international scene.

From the very beginning, Mionetto has always been a modern and innovative winery able to anticipate trends, while maintaining a strong bond to the traditions of its homeland, a feature which still today sets it apart from other sparkling wine producers.

PRODUCTION:
In 1982, the Mionetto family introduced autoclave fermentation by switching to the Charmat method, which allows for better preservation of the flavors and aromas of Prosecco and other sweet wines. After an initial soft pressing and the temperature-controlled first fermentation that takes place at the facilities of their selected producers, using the Charmat method, the second fermentation takes place in autoclaves instead of individual bottles. This additional temperature-controlled fermentation is recommended in order to help maintain the freshness and aroma of the grape in the bottling phase.

The winemaker’s job is not only to produce a high quality sparkling wine, but to maintain the relationships with local farmers who provide the grapes. Mionetto is fortunate to have relationships with vineyard owners that date back for generations. The strength and longevity of these relationships are what greatly affect the quality and quantity of grapes provided to a winery. 

THE TERRITORY:
Mionetto has become a flagship for the area and a shining example of Prosecco and Moscato production on the international scene. The beauty of the hills takes in many physical forms. While some slopes roll gently towards the valley, others are much steeper. For protection from the prevailing cold alpine winds and icy rains from the North, vines are on Southern slopes. Southeast slopes are best; they face the morning sun, benefiting from the early sunlight and a morning jolt of CO2, needed for sugar production. The climate is generally temperate: the area is protected by the Alps to the North and warmed by the winds of the Adriatic Sea to the East, mitigating the temperature in summer and producing rainfall that favors the proper growth of vines. In late summer, the area is characterized by great temperature variations between day and night, enabling the growth of aromatic substances in the grapes as they mature. Learn more here.

Croft Fine Tawny PortCroft
Fine Tawny Port

Douro Valley, Portugal

NECTAR WINE STYLE

Vivid tawny-red color. Nose of ripe mellow fruit with aromas of figs and prunes set off by an attractive woody and spicy character. Smooth and round on the palate, full of rich jammy flavors.

Food Pairing Recommendations:
Ports are very versatile and can be used for cooking sauces to roasted beef or lamb; or added in desserts for dimension and silkiness.  When simply drinking this port, keep it for desserts, or pair with more savory dishes such as Pâtés, Blue Cheeses, or Walnuts. Check out Croft’s recommended recipes and pairings here.

WineStyles’ Wine and Cheese Pairing:
Sweet wines from our ‘Nectar’ section pair well with strong cheeses, such as a Stilton and other Blue cheeses. Learn more about our wine and cheese pairings here.


Analysis: 20% alcohol / volume
Varietal: Blend
Residual Sugar: 100.6 g/l
Acidity: 3.37 g/l

Production:
The Fine Tawny is drawn from a reserve of fine wood ports which have been aged for up to three years in seasoned oak casks, each holding about 650 liters of wine. The individual wines are then blended to guarantee consistency of quality and house style. Croft Fine Tawny is bottled for immediate drinking.


ABOUT THE WINERY:
Croft is one of the most distinguished of all Port houses. Founded in 1588, it is the oldest firm still active today as a Port wine producer. The company is renowned above all for its Vintage Ports as well as for its range of wood aged reserves and tawnies, time-honored styles refined by skill and experience passed down the generations.

As important as its history, traditions and vineyards, is the fact that Croft remains a family company, dedicated to the production of the finest Ports of all styles, from full bodied reserve Ports to the iconic Croft Vintage Ports prized by the connoisseur and collector.

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Sweet Club

October Sweet Club

Sweet Wine ClubLa Cantina Pizzolato - Moscato DolceLa Cantina Pizzolato
Moscato Dolce
Treviso, Italy

NECTAR WINE STYLE

The Organic and Vegan Dolce, or sweet, Moscato Sparkling Wine of the “So Easy” line is one of the trendiest wines in La Cantina Pizzolato’s range. Bright gold color. Aromas of honeysuckle, ripe apricot, and angel food cake with a round, vibrant, sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, refreshing, medium-length peach nectar, sweet apple, orange marmalade, and honey finish with no oak flavor. A balanced and floral Moscato that is sure to please fans of the varietal.

Food Pairing Recommendations:
This wine can be served with all types of desserts and especially with creamy desserts. Suggested also as an aperitif with some fresh fruit or herbal and spicy cheeses.

WineStyles’ Wine and Cheese Pairing: Sweet wines from our ‘Nectar’ section pair well with an herbal cheese, such as a gorgonzola. Learn more about our wine and cheese pairings here.

Analysis:
6.5% alcohol / volume
Appellation: Moscato I.G.T.
Varietal: 100% Moscato (Muscat)
Residual Sugar: 89 gr/l
Acidity: 5.4 gr/l
Critical Acclaim:

  • Silvier Medal at AWC Vienna 2017
  • Silver Medal at IWSC International Wine&Spirits 2017
  • Diploma di Merito at Mostra Vini Triveneto of Camalò 2018
  • Silver Medal at 42° Mostra del Vino of Candelù 2017
  • DAMA D’ORO and PREMIO “TULLIO DE ROSA” as Best Sparkling wine at Enoconegliano 2017
  • Admission to the book 5StarWines of Vinitaly 2018 with 90/100
  • Bronze medal at Decanter World Wine Awards 2018

 

Production:
Using soft pressing, the must remains in steel pressurized tanks, with Charmat method for 2 months, reaching up to a pressure of 2.5 atm. The bottle has been covered with a sleeve that recalls the bubbles with a floral design and communicates its personality from the first impact. Packaging is completely recyclable as the sleeve can be removed.

ABOUT THE WINERY:
Founded in 1981, the company initially focused on the cattle industry and the cultivation of kiwi, peaches, strawberries, apples and pears. Grapes and wine eventually became their top selling products. In 1987, the winery started to bottle their own way – mainly producing Verduzzos, Merlots and Cabernets. Motivated by the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to drink healthy wines, the winery obtained their organic certification in 1991, the year in which the certification system was born in Italy. By 2012, the Pizzolato winery had achieved their Vegan certification. Since then, many sustainable choices have been consolidated, towards a organic innovation of the entire winery, as well as of the product.

Owner, Settimo

Owner, Settimo Pizzolatool

The present owner, Settimo Pizzolato, has many years of experience enriched by five generations that preceded him. His organic farming allows him to have good health and the ability to enrich the organic treasure that his company has. He balances the ecosystem of his land with the organization of his winery to create a wine that is a result of healthy natural grapes from his vineyards. These grapes create a wine that will remind you the tradition and well being when you taste it. Learn more about Pizzolato Winery here.

It’s been more than thirty-five harvests and I feel like I have lived so many lives; each year, each vintage is an adventure in itself, difficult, unique and unforgettable. We want to produce a wine that is suitable for everyone, can be paired with every meal, vegan or not; the most important thing is that it must be a good wine. – Settimo


Botani MuscatJorge Ordóñez & Co.
Botani Muscat Frizzante

Sierras de Málaga, Spain

NECTAR WINE STYLE

A delicate, lightly sparkling wine with a flowery, exotic nose characterized by aromas of lychee and stone fruit. This wine is 100% Muscat of Alexandria – one of the oldest clones of the Muscat family and one of the only remaining genetically unmodified vitis vinifera cultivars remaining in the world today. The seafaring Phoenicians transplanted this grape from Alexandria, Egypt to Málaga 3,000 years ago.

Food Pairing Recommendations:
Enjoy this versatile liquid gold nectar of the gods on its own or with strong cheeses, figs, pâtés, pastries and desserts. This wine should always be enjoyed well chilled.

WineStyles’ Wine and Cheese Pairing:
Sweet wines from our ‘Nectar’ section pair well with strong cheeses, such as a blue cheese. Learn more about our wine and cheese pairings here.


Analysis:
9.5% alcohol / volume
Denominacion de Origen: D.O. Málaga & D.O. Sierras de Málaga
Varietal: 100% Muscat of Alexandra
Critical Acclaim:

  • 89 pts. Jeb Dunnuck
  • 89 pts. Wine Enthusiast Magazine
  • 87 pts. Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Production:
Planted on multiple old mountainside vineyards. The vineyards in Málaga are the most extreme in all of Europe. The mountainside vineyards are planted at inclinations of up to 70°. There is no terracing, ladders, or mechanization to assist with the harvest. The winery uses traditional dry farmed viticulture and organic Gobelet trained vines. Everything is cultivated completely by hand, with minimal human intervention; the majority of the vines receive no treatments whatsoever. Primary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks using wild yeast. Secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks following the Charmat method of sparkling wine production.

ABOUT THE WINERY:
Sierras de MálagaBodegas Jorge Ordóñez Málaga, located in Ordóñez’s hometown, was founded in 2004- a partnership between Ordóñez and the Kracher family of Austria. The winery was founded with the goal of resuscitating the centuries long tradition of winemaking in Málaga, which was destroyed by the phylloxera plague in the 19th century. It was Jorge’s dream to champion his home region and restore it to its former glory.


Jorge Ordóñez Málaga produces its dry and sweet wines from Muscat of Alexandria; one of the world’s only remaining ancient (genetically uncrossed) grape varieties and the most important for commercial wine production. The Muscat of Alexandria vineyards used by Jorge Ordóñez Málaga were planted between 1902 and 1974 on un-terraced mountainside vineyards. The vast majority of steep vineyards in Europe have terraces or are mechanized in some way to protect workers and assist with harvest; the vineyards in Málaga, however, have remained untouched. All pruning and harvesting is done by hand, and mules carry six 33 pound boxes up the slopes at a time. An absolutely heroic form of viticulture.

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Sweet Club

September Sweet Club

Sweet Wine ClubBenguela Cove - Noble Late HarvestBenguela Cove
Noble Late Harvest
Hermanus, South Africa

NECTAR WINE STYLE

This wine has a medium straw color with heady notes of honey blossom, orange peel, pineapple and dried peaches. The lovely sweetness of the wine is balanced with a lingering finish while still remaining fresh and crisp on the palate.

Region: Walker Bay, Hermanus, South Africa
Analysis: 9.50% alcohol / volume
Residual Sugar: 190.00 g/L
pH: 3.17
TA: 8/30 g/L
Critical Acclaim: 4.5/5 stars in 2016 Platter’s South African Wine Guide

Food Pairing Recommendations:
Enjoy this versatile liquid gold nectar of the gods on its own or with strong cheeses, figs, pâtés, pastries and desserts. This wine should always be enjoyed well chilled.

ABOUT BENGUELA COVE LOGOON WINE ESTATE:
Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate is a 200 hectare lifestyle farm and exclusive luxury estate situated in Walker Bay, Hermanus. Overlooking the Bot River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean these unusual maritime conditions ensure that this unique terroir produces outstanding quality grapes.

VINEYARDS:
Benguela Cove’s close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean results in a cooler median daytime temperature and in cool maritime winds that caress the vineyards at night. This favorable climate, use of covered crops and the direction in which the vines face aid in the slow ripening of these grapes.
The Sauvignon Blanc grapes’ exposure to the cool ocean mist helps to create conditions under which botrytis cinerea (noble rot) can flourish, producing grapes of concentrated intensity.

Photo by Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate: Penny Streeter OBE (Owner) & Johann Fourie (Winemaker)


WINEMAKING:
The grapes are harvested, pressed, centrifuged, and then held as a cold juice at 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The juice is fermented at various intervals throughout the year, which allows the wine to remain fresh and delicate throughout the entire fermenting process. The Stella Rosa family uses this technique to capture the fresh flavors of natural blueberry distillates & purées for their Blueberry wine, and an off-dry Rosé, busting with fresh flavors for their Watermelon wine. Both Stella Rosa Blueberry and Watermelon contain natural carbonation. The juice is fermented in Charmat-style, pressurized tanks, and as the alcohol is created, so is the carbonation. Once the desired sweetness is achieved, the wine is centrifuged and bottled. The alcohol level stays at approximately 5% and contains 6-10% residual sugar. Its natural acidity and low pH strike the perfect balance with the wine’s natural sweetness.

Benguela Cove Vineyard

Photo by Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate

VINIFICATION AND MATURATION:
The botrytis cinerea grapes were meticulously selected and harvested by hand. On arrival at the cellar, further hand selection and sorting of botrytis infected bunches was done. Destemming was followed by 24 hours of cold maceration and thereafter the fruit was pressed several times to extract the highly concentrated juice. After settling, fermentation occurred in both stainless steel tanks and 225-liter French oak barrels (20%) at 16°C. This process took three weeks until the desired sugar/acid balance was reached. Fermentation was stopped by filtration and the wine was then chilled.

VINTAGE:
A cool ripening period, and especially low night temperatures, contributed towards exceptional quality and flavor. The favorable conditions resulted in exceptionally flavorful and intense Sauvignon Blanc with good acidity. The harvest had the earliest start in decades and resulted in one of the best vintages for white wines with above average quality. Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break, after which a warm, dry and windy summer kept vineyard growth under control and accelerated ripening by approximately two weeks. The dry weather also led to one of the healthiest seasons in years.

WineStyles’ Wine and Cheese Pairing: Sweet wines from our ‘Nectar’ section pair well with strong cheeses, such as a blue cheese. Learn more about our wine and cheese pairings here.

Love the Sweet life?
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Sweet Club

August Sweet Club: Iowa

Sweet Wine ClubStella Rosa BlueberryStella Rosa®️ Wines
Blueberry
Piedmont, Italy

NECTAR WINE STYLE

Stella Rosa Blueberry is their winery’s newest flavor, and is a proprietary blend of several red grape varietals. The wine is combined with flavors of natural blueberry distillates & purées, making it undeniably irresistible. Its sweet and succulent blueberry taste will elevate your mood and your wine-tasting expectations.

Region: Piedmont, Italy
Analysis: 5% alcohol / volume

Food Pairing Recommendations: This flavor pairs well with fresh fruits, BBQ chicken, charcuterie, cheesecake, and cinnamon roll coffee cake.

Blueberry Frosé

Photo credit: Stella Rosa Wines

BLUEBERRY FROSÉ
Cool off this summer with a refreshing frosé! Check out this fun way to switch up Stella Rosa Blueberry Wine.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bottle Stella Rosa Blueberry
2 1/3 cups frozen blueberries, divided
¼ cup lemon juice
2 oz. vodka
fresh blueberries (for garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.Pour wine into ice cube trays and freeze for 6 to 8 hours until almost frozen solid Note: wine will not freeze completely
2. In a blender, pulse together wine ice cubes, vodka, 2 cups frozen blueberries, and lemon juice.
3. Divide frosé among 4 glasses. Garnish with a handful of fresh blueberries and enjoy!
© Recipe courtesy of Stella Rosa Wines

Stella Rosa WatermelonStella Rosa®️ Wines
Watermelon
Piedmont, Italy

NECTAR WINE STYLE

Stella Rosa Watermelon is a new, and exclusive, addition to the winery’s semi-sparkling collection. Featuring a proprietary blend of several white grape varietals, including White Moscato (an indigenous grape variety from Piedmont, Italy), and a touch of Barbera for color. Its crisp, refreshing taste showcases the natural flavors of watermelon, created using a distillation process of Italian fruits grown in southern Italy. The semi-dry character is a perfect compliment to Brunch and light appetizers.

Region: Piedmont, Italy
Analysis: 5.5% alcohol /volume

Food Pairing Recommendations: This flavor pairs wonderfully with light salads, such as Greek or Caesar, as well as salty appetizers like Edamame or Jalapeño poppers. For dessert, you can pair it with coconut cream pie!

Stella Rosa Watermelon

Photo credit: Stella Rosa Wines

SPICY STELLA ROSA RITA

A little sweet, a little spicy! Try this fun cocktail at home with this month’s Stella Rosa Watermelon Wine.

INGREDIENTS

For Drink:
5 oz. Stella Rosa Watermelon, chilled
1½ oz. Jose Cuervo Tequila Blanco
¾ oz. lime juice
2 oz. watermelon juice
1 jalapeño, sliced
For Rim:
1 tbsp. Kosher salt
1 tbsp. chili powder
Lime wedges

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place jalapeño slices in a jar with tequila and let sit for 15 minutes for the spice to infuse the tequila.
2. Remove the jalapeño slices & set aside.
3. Mix salt and chili powder together on a separate plate. Smear the rim of the glass with a lime wedge then dip it into the salt-chili powder mixture to coat the rim.
4. Add a handful of ice to the glass.
5. In a cocktail shaker, add the juices & infused tequila; shake vigorously.
6. Strain the mixture into the glass.
7. Top off with Stella Rosa Watermelon, garnish with a Watermelon slice, and enjoy!
© Recipe courtesy of Stella Rosa Wines

Stella RosaWINEMAKING:
The grapes are harvested, pressed, centrifuged, and then held as a cold juice at 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The juice is fermented at various intervals throughout the year, which allows the wine to remain fresh and delicate throughout the entire fermenting process. The Stella Rosa family uses this technique to capture the fresh flavors of natural blueberry distillates & purées for their Blueberry wine, and an off-dry Rosé, busting with fresh flavors for their Watermelon wine. Both Stella Rosa Blueberry and Watermelon contain natural carbonation. The juice is fermented in Charmat-style, pressurized tanks, and as the alcohol is created, so is the carbonation. Once the desired sweetness is achieved, the wine is centrifuged and bottled. The alcohol level stays at approximately 5% and contains 6-10% residual sugar. Its natural acidity and low pH strike the perfect balance with the wine’s natural sweetness. 

ABOUT STELLA ROSA:
It all started in 1917, when the Riboli family founded Los Angeles’ historic San Antonio Winery. Back then, Los Angeles was the prime location for wine growing in all of California. For some time, the wine industry reigned as one of Southern California’s most economically significant and popular industries of that time. After surviving Prohibition and about a century later, the Riboli family has continued its artisan winemaking tradition through four generations. From within the tasting rooms of San Antonio Winery, customers repeatedly requested a sweeter, light, refreshing wine. The Riboli family took this unique opportunity to create a new semi-sweet, semi-sparkling wine style, which today, they are a leader of. And so, Stella Rosa was born.

our-story-mapMADE AND IMPORTED FROM ITALY:
To create the Stella Rosa wines, their family chose the region of Asti, a province in Piedmont, Italy, as the source for its aromatic grapes. The area of Asti has particular significance to the Riboli family, as it is the birthplace of their family matriarch, Maddalena Riboli. Their first Stella Rosa wine was Moscato D’Asti, which has become a flagship of this line. Soon after, Stella Rosa Rosso was created – the brand’s first semi-sweet, semi-sparkling red wine blend, and first wine of its kind to be brought to America from Asti. The rapid phenomenal successes of these two wines began the lineage of Stella Rosa, which now boasts over 20 distinctive flavors.

WineStyles’ Wine and Cheese Pairing: Sweet wines from our ‘Nectar’ section pair well with strong cheeses, such as a blue cheese. Learn more about our wine and cheese pairings here.

Love the Sweet life?
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Sweet Club

July Cheese Club: Iowa

cheese_club_logo-1240x1240Iberico BonvallisBonvallis – Iberico Cheese
Valladolid, Spain

Bonvallis Iberico Cheese is a Manchego-style cheese, one of the most eaten in Spain. An authentic Iberico Cheese must have, by law, a maximum of 50% cow’s milk, a minimum of 15% goat’s milk, and a minimum of 15% sheep’s milk. If these amounts are not specified on the label, the cheese cannot be labeled ‘Iberico’. Bonvallis Iberico Cheese is compact and firm in texture. It features herby, grassy flavors from the goat and ewe milk, and a smooth, creamy texture from the cow’s milk. It is slightly lactic, yet mild and buttery on the palate; making this cheese tasty and aromatic.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS:
Bonvallis Iberico Cheese pairs wonderfully with wines from our Bubbly wine style category, such as a Cava. Additionally, Iberico cheese pairs well with our Fruity & Spicy beers, such as a cider.

WINESTYLES: Bubbly
BEERSTYLES: Fruity & Spicy

PRODUCTION:
Located in Valladolid, the capital of Castilla y León, the family-run dairy, Bonvallis, has produced their cheeses since 1984. The region of Castilla y León is well known for its vast production of sheep and blend cheeses, and cured meat products. Long cold winters and dry hot summers are the perfect conditions for manufacturing their products. Bonvallis Iberico can be semi-cured (around 2 months), cured (4-6 months) and aged (over 7 months).

Idizabal DOPAraz
Smoked Idiazabal Cheese
Basque County, Spain

Smoked Idiazabal by Araz is a traditional, farmhouse, hard cheese made from raw milk of Latxa or Carranza sheep in the Basque and Navarra regions of northern Spain. Named after the village of Idiazabal, the cheese received Spanish D.O. (Denomination of Origin) in 1987, which defines the basic regulations for the product’s manufacturer. Idiazabal is produced in the shape of a cylinder, with a smooth and hard natural rind that is pale yellow to amber in color. The cheese has a compact texture that is dry, but not crumbly, and feels pleasantly oily in the mouth. The rind carries the marks of the wooden moulds in which it was drained and the cheese itself has a characteristic smoky flavor, coming from the fireplaces it is stored near during the summer.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Idiazabal Cheese pairs beautifully with a medium-bodied tempranillo from our Fruity wine style category. It also pairs well with Fruity & Spicy beers, such as a cider or a sour.

WINESTYLES: Fruity
BEERSTYLES:
Fruity & Spicy

PRODUCTION:
In the summer, the sheep migrate to higher pastures to graze on the blossoming, new grass. During this time, the artisanal cheese makers milk the sheep, make the Idiazabal cheese and leave it in the rafter to mature for a minimum ripening of 2 months. At the end of summer, when the cheese makers return back to the lowlands with their sheep, the cheese has ripened and is ready for sale.

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 >

June Cheese Club: Iowa

Liuzzi Burratacheese_club_logo-1240x1240Liuzzi Cheese
Burrata
Hamden, CT

Liuzzi Cheese develops their Burrata authentically with a recipe that dates back over 5 generations. Their semi soft “Pasta Filata” cheese is made with Fior di latte cows milk cultures. They then fill their Burrata with fresh Stracciatella cream. This is often served with a sprinkle of salt and drizzle of olive oil. Scoop up the stracciatella cream with slices of Italian bread or spread the inside of the cheese onto crackers. Serve up with fresh tomatoes and basil, or it’s also a decadent and delicious topping for pizza.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS:
Liuzzi Burrata Cheese pairs well with wines from our CRISP wine style category. Also pairs well with light beers, such as Wheat Beers in the CRISP & CLEAN beer style category.

WINESTYLES: Crisp
BEERSTYLES: Crisp & Clean

ABOUT LIUZZA CHEESE:

Liuzzi Cheese started back in 1826 in the Puglia region of Italy with their founder, Pasquale (Lino) Liuzzi.  He had a dream to establish his own enterprise, producing premium quality cheeses and fine foods. Lino, along with his brother Nicola, eventually moved to the United States and opened up a modest store, Liuzzi Market, in North Haven, CT.  Since then, their family continues to serve the local community with the most outstanding products this side of Italy.  Their Artisan cheese is made with the highest quality and standards using only fresh ingredients from local farms.  All products are made without the artificial growth hormone (rBST) which guarantees the freshest, healthiest options for your family.  Their customers are still the bedrock of their accomplishments.

Clothbound Jasper Hill Farm
Clothbound Cheddar
Greensboro, VT

Clothbound is an approachable but complex natural-rind, bandaged cheddar with a crumbly texture and nutty aroma. The flavor is deeply savory and slightly tangy with caramel sweetness to the finish. Clothbound has a signature tang and caramel nuttiness with a rustic crystalline texture that becomes creamy on the palate. This savory-sweet balance of flavor makes a perfect match for charcuterie, apple jelly, or a rich chestnut honey. Pair with an off-dry sparkling apple cider, hoppy ale, or an oaked Cabernet Sauvignon. Clothbound is an award winning cheese, including American Cheese Society’s 2006 Best in Show.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Jasper Hill Farm Clothbound Cheddar pairs well with SILKY or MELLOW wine styles.  It also matches well with India Pale Ales (IPA) or hoppy English Ales.

WINESTYLES: Silky or Mellow

BEERSTYLES: Hoppy & Bitter or Fruity & Spicy

ABOUT JASPER HILL FARM:

Jasper Hill is a working dairy farm with an on-site creamery in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Jasper Hill is driven to be the standard bearer of quality and innovation in the artisan cheese industry, while promoting their regional taste of place. Their underground aging facility maximizes the potential of cheeses made by the creamery, as well as those made by other local producers. Leftover whey from the cheesemaking process is fed to heritage breed pigs, roaming the woodlands beyond the cows’ pasture. Their mission is to make the highest possible quality products in a way that supports Vermont’s working landscape.

Cheese for Summertime

MaxInterview with Max McCalman, Dean of Curriculum and Maitre Fromager of Artisanal Cheese

What is your perfect cheese/wine pairing for weddings?
Luscious triple crèmes like Brillat-Savarin or Pierre Robert, and a well-aged Gruyère from Beeler. Pair with fine Champagne — a match made in heaven.

Which cheese and wine pairings do you suggest for Father’s Day?
This is the time of the year when we begin to see the broadest variety of types of cheese. The Lauriers are lovely soft cheeses. To add a little sweet for your dad, include a variety of Gouda that has been aged four years. Pairing these two cheeses from opposite ends of the CheeseClock™ is simple, as they both are complemented quite well by lighter white wines.  Or try two-year-old Cheddar or the Terraluna. Pair either one of these two firm cheeses with a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

Which cheese and wines go best when preparing for a BBQ?
Try Petite Syrah, a Zinfandel or Primitivo, or a Tempranillo. These wines are best paired with sheep milk cheeses, such as Stella Royale and Pecorino Sardo.

Cheese_springWhat’s the best way to store cheese in summertime?
During warm weather it’s important to place it in a chilled storage container, especially a soft cheese.

Tell us more about the new cheeses and what wine they would pair with?
One of our newer cheeses is the Terraluna, which is produced in Utah and comes from clean raw Jersey cow milk. This cheese is in the cheddar family yet it is a little less acidic than most. It offers a deep flavor with a longlasting finish. It’s a versatile cheese partner with many wines, especially Pinot Noir. Another cheese in our caves is the Stella Royale. It is a traditional-style pressed sheep milk cheese from northwest Spain. The paste of the cheese is firm and granular and carries a distinct olive oil aroma just before it finishes with a nutty flavor. Stella Royale pairs well with Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.

Cheese – A Near Perfect Food

Max

Interview with Max McCalman, Dean of Curriculum and Maitre Fromager of Artisanal Cheese

What cheeses are best during the summer months?
We are coming into a pretty good time of year for cheese. It’s unfortunate that people don’t eat as much cheese in the summer, because that is when a broader type of cheeses are really starting to show. The goat’s milk cheeses in particular are at their best in summertime because the animals have more to choose from to eat. They’re also cheeses that aren’t meant to age and keep for many months.

How are goats’ milk cheeses made?
Milk is saved from four milkings—an evening milking from day one, a morning and evening milking from day two and a morning milking from day three. Goats’ milk contains coagulants, which are then sped up with the addition of cultures and rennets. When the milk has coagulated, it turns into a spongy mass—the curds. These are then cut into little pieces, which allow the whey, or liquid part, to drain off easily. The curds are then put into perforated molds, so the whey continues to drain off. The young cheese is then gently removed from the mold and set out on shelves to dry. After a couple of weeks, the cheese is dusted with vegetable ash, which makes it a little less acidic and allows for even more beneficial mold to flourish. It also takes excess moisture out and puts flavor in.

What’s a good wine/cheese pairing for summer?
Pairing principles come down to a couple of things. A salty cheese will probably pair better with a sweeter or fruitier wine. That’s why dessert wines pair so well with cheese. They give them a balancing partner. Texture comes into play, too. The harder cheeses are more successful with a broader range of wine types.

Any tips on packing cheeses for outdoor dining?
Cheese should be kept out of sunlight, but kept cool. If you are having a picnic, put it in the cooler, but don’t put it down in the ice.  Then bring it up to room temperature before eating—it will taste better. Firmer cheeses are easier to transport. A brie-type of cheese in 90-degree weather is not going to be very pretty. That should be enjoyed indoors.