It was at The Wine Country holiday party that Randy announced that he would like me to do a weekly feature of the store website in the coming year, a weekly wine and cheese pairing. I dug the idea, I mean I do loves me some cheese and my inner (okay, I know it's an outie) geek truly gets off on wrapping my head around pairing ideas. "That should be fun!" I buzzily responded and returned to over drinking my Champagne.
"I think we should start that pairing thing this week" Randy just days after the party. Huh?! You want to start that now? Right as we start having our assess handed to us in the holiday rush? Apparently the look of horror on my face was not enough incentive to sway him from his new idea and, "Yes!" with a big excited smile was what I got in return. And even though I was....well, a little less excited about taking on another duty, smack-dab in the middle of holiday craziness, well that damn smile and enthusiasm of his simply wrecks me, "Well alrighty then" was all I could say.
We've done them for a couple weeks now and I just sent off the one that will appear tomorrow on the website but as I was sitting here noshing my Triscuits, (note to self, save that term for later usage) and mortadella on my lunch break, feeling guilty that I have not posted in over week, guiltier even that I just found out that we are going to do a January newsletter, thus meaning that I will have even less time to write, it hit me. Why not post my pairings here as well? Buys me a day or two, I get double exposure on the pairings I slave (well I don't sweat or anything but I think real hard) over and it might get me my "Wine Blogger" card back or something. You know, by having some actual wine stuff on this here wine blog. Brilliant! Or lazy but as my greasy-with-mortadella fingers fly across the keyboard and I can feel the tiny pin prick of pressure that pokes the spot in my neck that reminds me I've been a bad blogger subsides...well I'm going to go with brilliant. Least for today...
N.V. Camille Saves Grand Cru Carte d’Or Brut $67.99
I often speak of the wines from Camille Saves as being, “Game changers” meaning that they have the ability to turn people from occasional Champagne imbibers to full-fledged Champagne freaks. The Champagnes from this estate are an amazing mix between full, richly textured, powerful and grace, delicacy and elegance and I find that this Carte d’Or tends to be the biggest and brawniest of the bunch.
Rich and toasty will be your first impression, not a bad way to begin I would think, but the wine seems to grow, get more layered and complex the longer it’s open. Soon that toasty note will be joined with some salted caramel and browned butter. The power softened by the aromas and flavors of warm baked apples. The flavors linger forever and paired with the right food, well mind-bending.
Berthaut Epoisses Affine au Chablis ($14.99)
Epoisses is a French cow’s milk cheese with a rather pungent aroma, edible rind and when fully ripened, a hauntingly creamy texture. The smell would imply a fairly strong cheese but in fact the aroma is the strongest part. The flavor tends towards the salty side, but perfectly so and that saltiness is what makes this a very wine friendly cheese. Serve at room temp to get the full effect of the astounding creaminess in this, one of my favorite cheeses, ever.
When picking a pairing for the week of New Year’s it took me only a second to marry Saves and Berthaut. Going for the whole, “Go big or go home” kind of kick off for the New Year. Well, maybe it's more that my mind was seeking uber indulgence, something so gloriously luscious that it is nearly dirty. Camille Saves washing down a mouthful of pungent and almost feral, gooey, plump and heavy in the mouth cheese? The powerful and succulent fruit in the Camille Saves Carte d’Or paired with the achingly creamy, meaty, salty cheese sure as shit gets my heart racing and palate watering. Don't think budgets, diets, what you should or shouldn't...do it. Just do it.