For many centuries wine has been paired with cheese. Regardless if you intend to complement or to contrast a wine, cheese is almost always a perfect pairing partner.
Garibaldi, a Munich-based wine store, regularly hosts a variety of wine and food events. One of Garibaldi’s most popular tastings focuses on wine and its relationship with cheese. Only recently I attended one of their wine & cheese tastings. Below you find my tasting notes for the seven wines that we tasted that night.
Our first wine was the Bortolomiol Spumante Senior Extra Dry – a Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOCG from Italy’s Veneto region. This charmat-method produced sparkler is made with 100% Glera grapes. Pale-yellow color with greenish hints. Fine perlage. Elegant, fruit-dominated nose. In the mouth, dry, fresh, well-balanced. Medium-long finish. Rating: 3/5. Together with this Prosecco, Garibaldi served a Piedmontese Caprino cheese. Caprino is produced with goat milk. Capra is Italian for goat. The combination was alright but not my favorite.
Next in line was another wine from the Veneto, however from a slightly different area known as Soave Classico. In the glass, the 2012 Pieropan Soave Classico DOC had a straw-yellow color. Produced with 85% Garganega and 15 Trebbiano grapes. Fermentation takes place in concrete vats. On the nose, aromas of almonds, marzipan and flowers. In the mouth, dry with a soft acidity. Quite bitter, long-lasting finish. Rating: 2.5/5. The wine was served with Bosina – a cheese produced with cow and sheep milk that originated in the Piedmont. Bosina is a Robiola-like cheese and it paired very well with the Soave Classico.
Of course Garibaldi’s sells wine from all parts of Italy and not just from the Veneto and the next wine we tasted comes from beautiful Sicily. In the glass we had the newly-released 2011 Planeta Chardonnay IGT Sicilia. 100% Chardonnay that aged 12 months in French barriques. Fascinating golden-yellow color with green hints. Rich and intense nose with aromas of figs, apple, vanilla and nuts. In the mouth, dry, well-structured, quite elegant, smooth and buttery. Full-bodied and quite complicated wine. Notes of mature fruit. Incredibly long-lasting finish. Rating: 4/5. Garibaldi paired the Planeta Chardonnay with a German wild flower mountain cheese. Very good match and outstanding wine!
For now, we moved from white to reds. Do you know Georgio Grai? He’s one of Trentino’s most well-known winemakers- Grai however doesn’t own its own estate. Instead he helps many wineries with their wine production and as payment he demands their very best grapes out of which he then makes wine for his own label. We tasted the 2008 Grai Pinot Nero. 100% Pinot Nero, which aged in French barriques. Rusty-red color with garnet hints. The nose was not to my liking and neither was the palate. Rating: 2/5. The wine was paired with Taleggio from Lombardy, Italy. Taleggio is made with cow milk and in my opinion the cheese did not pair too well with the wine. The cheese stood very much in contrast to the Pinot Nero. I liked the cheese better on its own.
Next was a wine from the Aosta Valley. The 2010 Les Cretes Torrette Valle d’Aosta DOC is a blend of five autochthonous grape varieties. The wine aged in stainless steel tanks. Ruby-red color. Intense nose with aromas of marzipan, roses and cranberry. In the mouth, dry and fruit-forward. Medium-bodied, crisp, soft tannins. Lingering finish. Rating: 3.5/5. Served with a Fontina cheese from the Aosta Valley. I liked this pairing a lot. Fontina is a cow-milk cheese that is often used for making fondue.
The sixth wine was the 2009 Argiolas Korem IGT Isola dei Nuraghi. A blend of Bovale Sardo, Carignano and Cannonau. 12 months French oak aging. Deep ruby red color. Spectacular nose with red berries, plum, cocoa, spices, licorice and cherry. In the mouth, dry, quite smooth, well-structured and full-bodied. Very little acidity, silky tannins. Long-lasting finish. Rating: 4/5. Korem was paired with an aged Pecorino Sardo. Pecorino is produced with sheep milk. Pecora is Italian for sheep. Again, the folks of Garibaldi paired wine and cheese locally. This pairing was my favorite. It almost appeared like Korem and Pecorino Sardo are meant to be enjoyed together!
Last but not least we tasted a sweet wine from the Maremma, Tuscany. In our glass we had the 2006 Le Pupille SolAlto IGT Toscano. Produced with 40% Traminer, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. Straw-yellow color. Aromas of quince and dried apricot. In the mouth, quite sweet with a lingering finish. Rating: 3.5/4. SolAlto was paired with a French Roquefort cheese. Roquefort a blue cheese is made from sheep milk. Pretty good cheese & wine pairing.
All in all, this was a great wine tasting with some outstanding cheeses and wines. I’m already looking forward to the next wine event at Garibaldi Bogenhausen. What is your favorite wine and cheese pairing? Let me know in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: I attended the wine tasting as a guest of management. All opinions are my own. For more information regarding my sample policy visit this page.