Cheese and Wine Pairing Uncorked: Warming Up with Aged Gouda

Another timely article written by guest-contributor Sara Kahn; who found she had an undying passion for gourmet cheese. Sara Kahn found shopping for cheese to be overwhelming, time consuming and even down-right confusing.

She thought there had to be better ways to enjoy the cheese she so dearly loved and wanted find a simple way to share that passion with others.

So she established The Cheese Ambassador to offer a simple, yet very convenient way to select and serve the world’s finest cheeses from just about any where. She did so by providing the perfect combination of exquisite cheeses along with a comprehensive cheese course guide, where clients could learn how to better enjoy gourmet cheese for themselves, which sounds like deliciously enriching experience. Please follow her on twitter @CheeseSpot or connect with her on Facebook and be sure to "like" her page.

It was in January, just a few weeks before the Super Bowl, we had plans to hang with family and have a few friends over the weekend. But instead of an elaborate spread and fancy cocktails, we settled in with simple yet hearty fare and bottles of red.

Being The Cheese Ambassador, our guests have come to expect the evening to include a sampling of gourmet cheese. We started the meal with a chunk of 4 year old Gouda and challenged the gang to a mission they were all too happy to accept - determine the best wine match. Aaah, Gouda. A traditional cheese that has been reinterpreted the world over. Gouda is traditionally a cow’s milk cheese from Holland, but you can now find it made from goat, sheep and cows from an international collection of dairymen.

The Dutch pronunciation of Gouda is “how-duh” with the “how” tickling the back of your throat. A special type of Gouda is called Boerenkaas. “Boeren” meaning “farm” and “kaas” meaning “cheese”. It’s a simple name for a complex cheese. This is not your ordinary grocery store Gouda enveloped in red wax. Boerenkaas is a farmstead cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk from a single farm. Deep burnt-gold in color Boerenkaas becomes rock hard and concentrates in flavor as it ages. Break off a chunk and notice the butterscotch aroma. The taste is intense and piquant. Its caramel and nutty flavors are accented by the salty, crunchy protein crystals (a hallmark of aged cheeses) that melt in your mouth.

Anytime Wine & Cheese Pairing: This cheese packs a punch and can stand up to full-bodied red wines. We paired the Boerenkaas with two New World, high-alcohol wines – a Merlot from Sonoma and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina. The salty and nutty flavors of the cheese nicely contrasted with the jammy, berry flavors of the Merlot while the piquancy of the cheese matched the bittersweet chocolate notes of the Cabernet Sauvignon. The group was split on selecting the winning match. But that’s the beauty of cheese and wine pairings – there is no right or wrong answers. It’s all about personal taste, but at the same time some cheeses do naturally pair better with certain styles of wine.

Recommended Wine: I would recommend the Hess Collection Cabernet, Allomi Vineyard 2009, as a great wine to that can stand up to a cheese of this type.

Price and ABV: A very even keeled 14.5% just waits to be uncorked, a well made wine, I'd describe as refined elegance for a paupers price, considering the SRP is a mere $24.00 do your homework and you could get it for under $20.

The Blend: Okay so you may be wondering what's in the blend, here you go 86% Cabernet Sauvignon 11% Petite Sirah 3% Petit Verdot; which spent 18 Months in 30% New American Oak

Tasting notes: In the glass color showed dark cherry and crimson. On the palate the gentle spice in the nose and front palate followed by a long tri-berry cobbler mouth feel with good acidity, a nice structure; with persistently pleasant finish. It’s what I’d call a very food friendly wine, which is immediately approachable after uncorking and there's no real need to decant.

Pairing Suggestion: I'm thinking BBQ roasted chicken, grilled pork, caramelized onions, Baby Back Ribs, sautéed greens, roasted vegetables and aged Jack or a aged Gouda will enhance the fruit flavors in this wine.

What's the Score: Hey a point seeker here’s my score if you’re interested: I scored this wine 89 points. Then taking into account this wines QPR score it boost this wines overall score to 91 points.

Recommendations: Sara was kind enough to send a sample of some of the cheese she offers at The Cheese Ambassador. Whoa and wow were the words I used to describe the experience.

Let me tell you I was really impressed by the taste, freshness and overall quality of this cheese. Their cheese comes packaged very smartly so you don't have any spoilage issues or concerns. So get online and check out all the wonderful cheese products on her site and put in your order.

The wine you see above can be purchased at a number of places either online from the Hess Collection or at your favorite wine store. It's a widely distributed, but is an absolute must to have with this pairing or just anytime you’d like a very dependable, great tasting, Tuesday evening style of Cabernet ready to puts a smile on your face. Until next time, sip long and prosper cheers everyone!
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