What do local wine merchants nibble with their favorite CÃ´tes du RhÃ´ne? It depends on the wine, of course. But we asked a few of them for their of-the-moment cheese-pairing favorites. You can find most of these at your local cheese shop or at many well-stocked specialty markets, such as Whole Foods.
The Wine Country’s Randy Kemner says comtÃ©, the semi-hard cow’s milk cheese from France with a mild, Swiss cheeseâ€“like flavor, is his current favorite for its nutty, subtle flavor â€” even more so when he’s drinking white Burgundy.Â He recommends La Cadette Bourgogne Vezelay and Herve Azo Chablis, both about $17.
Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam
Trey Beffa, vice president of domestic wine purchases at K & L Wine Merchants, prefers triple-cream cheeses, those buttery, aged cow’s milk cheeses enriched with heavy cream. Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam is an excellent stateside version of the French classic that Beffa remembers pairing particularly well with a 2005 Jordon Alexander Valley Cabernet at a recent tasting.
Hook’s 10-year Aged Cheddar
Colorado Wine Company’s John Nugent raves about the sharp, aged cheddars that Tony and Julie Hook have been making for more than 30 years in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Whenever Nugent picks up the cheese from Auntie Em’s Marketplace, also in Eagle Rock, he pairs it with a big, tannic Italian wine, like the Cantina Sociale Cooperativa Copertino Riserva 2001, which he sells at the wine shop for $15. “It’s deep, dark and funky… it’s only a coincidence that the cheese and wine are both about ten years old, but when you taste them together, you can’t help but think they were made for each other.”