In Which We Learn to Pair Wine With Local Cheese

Posted: October 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Classes, Marblehead, Shubie's Market Place | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Wine and cheese are two of life’s essentials, as far as we are concerned. Together, they make us very happy—but is pairing them as simple as all that? Well, yes and no, we learned last week at a terrific class taught by Bill Shube of Marblehead’s gourmet grocer Shubie’s.

The one-hour class was $25 and included six cheeses and four wines, plus a wealth of information. It was held in the store’s upstairs demonstration kitchen/classroom, which is bright and comfortable.

We began by tasting each of the wines, a petit mouton muscadet (Louis Metaireau, France, $13), a lambrusco (Vecchia Modena, Italy, $18), a cotes du rhone (Domaine Gris des Bauries, France, $14.99) and a cabernet sauvignon (Route Stock, California, $24). Bill talked about the qualities of each wine, the region it was from, and how one might think about pairings.

For example, the muscadet is from France’s northern region where they make a lot of goat cheese. Its crisp acidity makes it a great partner for food. Similarly, the bubbles in the lambrusco help clean your palate, making it a good partner, especially for cheeses you are unsure about pairing.

We then tasted each of the cheeses, which are all from New England. The Bonne Bouche from Vermont Butter & Cheese (goat, Vermont) paired brilliantly with the muscadet, with the cheese somehow making the wine taste fuller.

Tiny Hannahbells from Shy Brothers Farms (cow, Mass.) are barely aged and very tangy. A bit difficult to pair, they require either a full bodied red wine or a sweet wine. The Landaff from Jasper Hill Cellars (cow, NH) is similar to a Welsh cheddar and paired well with both the muscadet and the cotes du rhone.

Blythedale Farms Vermont Brie (cow, Vermont) was delicious and incredible creamy. It was also a bit hard to pair but went well with the lambrusco. The Olga from Seal Cove Farms, (cow and goat, Maine) was very nutty and a bit crumbly (would be great on a salad). Its great flavor would be overpowered by a strong wine and went nicely with the cotes du rhone. The last cheese was the wonderfully earthy Black Ledge Blue from Cato Corner (cow, Conn.), which needed the strong flavors of the cabernet for a good match.

What we enjoyed most about the class was its accessibility. Rather than a know-all teacher telling his pupils what to drink and eat, Bill helped us understand why some pairings work well and how we might determine some happy matches on our own, which we’re definitely looking forward to doing.

16 Atlantic Ave, Marblehead
(781) 631-0149