On the First Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave To Me:
Introducing our 12 days of Cheese and Wine Christmas pairings. Each day starting today, December 13th we will be featuring a cheese with a wine and/or beer to pair with it and offering up a 15% discount on each for that particular day. You can buy the wine or cheese individually or as a pair, either way you’ll still get your discount. Wine buyer Eric Casteel and I have carefully selected the pairings and each on is special and unique in its own way. Many of the cheeses, for example, are seasonal and only available during the fall and winter. These are really fantastic wines and cheeses – so come see us at the wine bar or the display at the cheese counter to pick up your holiday selections today.
DEC. 13: On the First Day of Christmas Breadgarden Gave to Me
Jasper Hill Harbison and
Oak Valley “Sounds of Silence” Pinot Noir
We thought we’d start our first day of Christmas really strong by offering what is, by almost every cheese mongers standards, one of the greatest cheeses on planet earth. If you’re a cheese lover and haven’t tried Harbison; first, shame on you, second, today is the perfect opportunity. Wrapped in spruce bark, Harbison is a bloomy rind cheese that’s woodsy, earthy and an absolute delight. Cut the top of the cheese, grab a spoon and dive in! The Sounds of Silence is a wonderful New Zealand Pinot Noir with notes of cherry, rose petal and violet notes. A delicious accompaniment to the Harbison and for your holiday turkey or fowl of choice.
DEC. 14: On The Second Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave to Me:
Blumenkase Cheese with Serafino Gavi di Gavi
This is one of my favorite pound for pound cheese and wine offering over the course of our twelve day series. First of all, Blumenkase: an incredible cheese from Switzerland, the most underrated cheese producing country in the western hemisphere, is killer. Slightly creamy with loads of garlic, carmelized onion and umami goodness. The cheese is encased in hayflower giving it a wonderful herbaceous flavor. The Serafino Gavi is just as delightful and complex as the cheese; slightly nutty and floral with notes of green fruit; think pear, plum and gooseberry – it’s a delicious wine and fantastic pairing.
DEC. 15: On the Third Day of Christmas Bread Garden gave to me:
Pecorino Brinata w/Quentin Jeannot Marnages Vielles Vignes
One of the best one/two combos in our holiday run….The Pecorino Brinata is very unique here, at least in the U.S. Like all Pecorino’s it is a sheep’s milk cheese, but is almost brie like, with just a slightly denser texture. It’s sneaky good – wonderful, creamy, and almost a fresh bread, yeasty note to it. The Maranges is a beautiful Pinot Noir from the southernmost part of the Cotes de Beaune in Burgundy. Super silky and elegant with lots of red berry fruit, this is a match made in heaven with the Pecorino.
DEC. 16: On the Fourth Day of Christmas Breadgarden Gave To Me:
Ubriaco Pinot Rose Cured Piave w/ Laurent Perracon Julienas
Ubriaco Pinot Rosé is a cow’s milk cheese soaked in La Jara Pinot Grigio rose; a dry and elegant sparkling wine, for nearly 2 months. Then rose petals that have been soaked in the same wine are pressed into the rind and aged for 6-9 months. If you’re familiar with the Sartori cheese, the Ubriaco cheese is what they emulate. The outcome is a stunning and aromatic cheese. The Julienas is the second Burgundy offering in a row, from the Beaujolais region . Floral, a little spicy and velvety smooth; a great wine paired with a great cheese.
DEC. 17: On the Fifth Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave to Me
Jasper Hill Willoughby
and Michele Chiarlo “Il Principe” Langhe Nebbiolo
Our fifth day is our second cheese choice from Jasper Hill; one of only two cheese makers to get two spots on our list. Why? Because they are the best cheese makers in the U.S. Willoughby is a washed rind monster of a cheese that has everything going for it. Funky, beefy and ultra creamy – this is a world class cheese. The Nebbiolo, from Michele Chiarlo is a world class wine by an equally impressive producer. Complex with hints of small black plum, fruit and violet. The pairing; not so much…I think wine buyer Eric just wanted to sneak this wine in …..a great pairing; a belgian dubbel, or a great, full bodied yeasty champagne That being said, the Nebbiolo is delicious and should be on any table serving lamb or beef for dinner during the holidays.
DEC. 18: For the Sixth Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave to Me:
Pascal Beillevaire Cranberry Crottin w/ Franck Millet Sancerre and Reunion Juice Factory
So this is one of the best pairings of the bunch. Pascal Beillevaire is one of the best/greatest affineurs in all of France and his Cranberry Chevre is the best “fruit” infused cheese I’ve ever had. Bitter, sweet and tangy it hits all the check marks. It’s magical, I mean MAGICAL, with the Sancerre and equally delicious paired with the Reunion Juice Factory. The Sancerre is minerally and citrusy,with lemon rind on the palate. With the cheese it transforms into a magical, ruby red grapefruitty delight. With the Reunion Juice Factory – freakin awesome!!
DEC. 19: On the Seventh Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave to Me:
Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve w/
La Croix du Chateau Feret-Lambert Bordeaux Superieur
The only other cheesemaker with two cheese on the list. Pleasant Ridge Reserve is a three time winner of the greatest cheese in the U.S. from the American Cheese Society. It is that good; cheesemaker Andy Hatch makes only two cheeses – Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Rush Creek Reserve, the former is available all year round, the latter only a few months a year. The American embodiment of “I will only do one thing and I will do it better than anybody else” the Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an Alpine style cheese full of toasted nutty and caramel flavors with oodles and oodles of complex Umami flavors. The Bordeaux is excellent with loads of black fruit, good body with a soft, velvety finish. The wine is a great deal, the cheese is a game changer.
DEC. 20: On The Eighth Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave to Me:
Rogue River Blue
Rogue River Blue is the Best Cheese in the World. Literally…it won best cheese in the world at the World Cheese Awards this year. The first American cheese to ever win the award and rightfully so. There are three cheeses made in this country, in my opinion, that are worthy of this award. Upland Rush Creek Reserve, Rogue River Blue and Jasper Hill Harbison. I’m open to other suggestions but I’m not wrong. Wrapped in Syrah grape leaves and then macerated in brandy this blue is surreal and loaded with flavor. And…it’s only available once a year. It pairs beautifully with Niepoort LBV, one of the great port houses and our very own Reunion Banshee Stout. A true American original!!
DEC. 21: On the Ninth Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave to Me
Truffled Pecorino w/Castello di Neive Barbaresco
There is nothing quite as delicious as an authentic truffle cheese…not stuffed with fillers or oil. This Pecorino is an unadulterated sheep’s milk chees filled with real black truffles. It’s delicious. Salty, earthy, creamy and intense….great for snacking..sure, shave this into a risotto or pasta dish; other-worldly. The Barbaresco is the perfect match; the grapes come from the most prestigious vineyards in all of Barbaresco; (Gallina, Valtorta and part of Santo Stefano) the wine is chalk full of rose, violet, and perfumed berry. The elegant, delicious palate is chock-full of elegance and flavor, delivering juicy Morello cherry, raspberry compote, cake spice and a balsamic note. It boasts fantastic tension and finesse, and will be even better with more bottle age. Gorgeous. A great Italian duo!!
DEC. 22: On the Tenth Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave to Me:
Thirty Month Aged Parmigiano Reggiano w/ Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Finally, the King of All Cheese….the great Parmigiano Reggiano. There’s nothing better. It’s like the bacon of cheeses…Add it or shred it on anything and it’s instantly better. Finish it on pasta dishes, risotto, vegetables, just about anything. It’s also an underrated snacking cheese. Shave it off with a little Balsalmic Vinegar, maybe a little Basil; it’s heavenly. This monster of a cheese needs a monster of a wine. The Hall Cabernet Sauvignon fits the bill. Blackberry, cedar and scorched earth….a beauty of a wine worthy of the king of cheeses!!!
DEC. 23: On the Eleventh Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave to Me
Upland Rush Creek Reserve
with Sabine Godme Grand Cru Blanc de Noir Brut Champagne
The one cheese to rule all others. If Sauron made a cheese instead of the one ring this would be it….Rush Creek Reserve is available three months a year, made with late summer/early fall milk. It takes its inspiration from Vacherin Mont D’or but has become so much more. This wash rind cheese is wrapped in Spruce bark and is a meaty, smoky, gooey, bacony delight. A cheese that’s meant to be shared with loved ones. Chop off the top rind and dive right in. The grapes for this beauty of a Champagne are from 100% Grand Cru vineyards, and it is enhanced by the addition of reserve wines up to 9 years old. This is the epitome of a delicious multi-vintage wine. On the palate, it is big, rich, and powerful with notes of cherry puree and red apple, with a beautiful roundness and a slight oxidative note on the finish. So balanced. Delicious. If all I got for Christmas was the Rush Creek Reserve with the Sabine Champagne; it would be a truly great holiday.
DEC. 24: For the Twelfth Day of Christmas Bread Garden Gave To Me:
Montgomery’s Cheddar w/Chateau La Rose Perriere, Lussac- St. Emilion
Oh yes….what a note to end in. The great Montgomery Cheddar; the greatest cheddar of them all. Cheese nerds (like myself) are obsessed with this cheese. Cheesemongers get this cheese tattooed on their bodies. (I’m not kidding there are thousands of Montgomery’s tattoos out there). Made by third-generation farmers in Somerset, Montgomery’s Cheddar – or Monty’s for short – is a genuine farmstead cheese, with milk from the farm’s 140 Friesian-Holstein cows. Clothbound and aged for over a year, with occasional blue mold (don’t worry, it’s good for you!), Monty’s is a true classic and one hell of a cheese. It’s grassy, sweet, sharp, basically the perfect cheddar. The best pieces have almost a caramelized, burnt beef end flavor that is unlike any other cheese. The cheese is suited for a nice strong ale or this delicious Bordeaux. The Chateau Rose Perriere is a very sophisticated wine with notes of dark roses, sweet plums, prunes, liquorice and tobacco. A complex wine, for a World Class Cheese. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to All!!!