So perhaps you’ve left your Valentine’s Day shopping to the last minute (again). Or maybe you decided you weren’t doing Valentine’s Day this year, but as the day gets closer, you realize you’ll be in deep doo-doo if you don’t make some kind of gesture. That’s where wine comes in. Cheese, of course, goes without saying.
When we attended the Wisconsin Cheese Originals conference last November as part of our Wisconsin cheese weekend, I participated in a seminar on dessert wine and cheese pairings that introduced me to some matches I had never considered. We all know blue cheeses go well with port and other sweet wines, but think about the following:
Sparkling rosé with a sheep’s milk truffle – Hidden Springs Creamery makes a wicked truffle with its creamy, spreadable Driftless and a robe of dark chocolate. The salty/sweet combo benefits from the berry flavors of the rosé, and bubbles go with everything, in our opinion.
Dry riesling with a cocoa-rubbed cheese – The tropical fruit flavors of the riesling complement the cheese’s creamy paste – we sampled the goat’s milk Cocoa Cardona from Carr Valley – with the cocoa rub offering a few bitter notes.
Muscat with Gruyère – This pairing was a revelation: The deep, musky, brandy-like flavor of the muscat stood up to but didn’t overwhelm the nuttiness of the cheese, a Grand Cru Gruyère from Roth Käse. An accompanying slice of pear added a touch of sweetness to the plate.
Port with a sheep’s milk blue - Yes, I know I just said that matching blues with ports is overrated, but I really enjoyed this particular pair – a young ruby port with Hook’s Little Boy Blue. The smooth port didn’t overpower the spiciness of the sheepy blue, but oddly, the chocolate on the side didn’t fit in, rather diminishing the blue’s sharpness. Instead, I’d have preferred a drizzle of honey on the cheese.
What will you be pairing for Valentine’s Day tomorrow?