A couple of Friday afternoons ago at work, we had a wine and cheese tasting. A couple of coworkers came up with some great pairings and some really interesting wines.
Fromage with Ken Forrester Petit Chenin 2004
This Chenin Blanc ($9) is from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. I was excited to try a South African white wine, since my only other experience with South African wine was for Wine Blogging Wednesday, when Cook Sister gave lots of great information about South African wines.
It was very tart and acidic. My first thought was green apple, although I’m not sure if that’s quite right. Definitely fruity. Wine Spectator gave the 2003 87 points.
Rich and forward, this plump Chenin sports honey, nectarine and star fruit flavors, with a full, round texture and finish. Lacks Chenin’s bracing edge, but solid.
Wine Squire found it to taste more the way I found it (maybe the 2004 is fairly different from the 2003?):
Yet another fine example of what Chenin Blanc can become as interpreted through South African terroir. A bright, crisp spring and summer quaffer! Aromas of orange blossoms, key lime zest, and watermelon rind transform into clean flavors of young apricots, kumquats and straw with a citrus zingy acidity. Great for grilled seafood, fava bean salads and light poultry dishes.
Cantal with Vila Marija Pinot Grigio
This was my first experience with Slovenian wine. Slovania is very near Italy (in fact, one of the write ups I found for this winemaker situated the vineyards in Italy) and some of the vineyards are quite old.
The Vila Marija Pinot Grigio 2003 is not subtle and creamy on the palate as is the previous wine. Instead, it screams volumes from the glass as it is poured. By its color and concentration, one can see this is no ordinary Pinot Grigio. This wine is fresh and vibrant yet golden in color, atypical for young Pinot Grigio. Cool and fresh aromas of lemon, pineapple, orange and tangerine literally scale the inside slopes of the glass and scream, “I am no overwrought insipid white wine, I am what Pinot Grigio can be.”
These mesmerizing, crystalline flavors of pure fruit, bright sunshine, cool winds and glacial soils are captured solely by fermentation and bottled only in minute amounts.
And I found out a little more about Slovenian wine here:
Slovenia, a winemaking region since Roman times, is wedged between Austria and Croatia, sharing smaller borders with Hungary and Italy. It is along that Italian border, just north of Slovenia’s tiny seacoast on the Adriatic, that father Mirko and son Ales Kristancic make their marvelous Movia and Vila Marija wines.
If you like Italian whites but are looking for something a little different, give Slovenian wine a try! (My coworkers got this wine at Whole Foods, so it’s readily available.) We had with cantal cheese, which is a French cow’s milk cheese.
Ossau with Tres Ojos Old Vine Garnacha 2003
This Italian Grenache (about $9) comes from 50ish old vines and is aged in steel vats for 12 months. It’s spicy and fruity with hints of rasberry and pepper. Wine Advocate gives it 87 points. We had it with Ossau cheese.
St. Agur with Block 45 Petit Syrah
This California wine is, according to Whole Foods, “full-flavored with spice, blueberry and plum on the palate, finishing as smooth and polished as you would expect. ” We tasted it with St. Agur blue cheese from France. This was a fantastic pairing.
Parrano with Memo Sangiovese
This Italian wine (about $10) is very fruit-forward , which makes it a great pairing with the parrano.