This week, we attended the cheese and wine pairing session run by Otro Edinburgh in conjunction with I.J. Mellis Cheesemongers and L’Art Du Vin based in Dunfermline. Otro Edinburgh is in the West End between Haymarket and Shandwick Place and not only is a beautiful building but has the most welcoming and attentive staff who helped guide us through the event.
The evening was more than your standard “this wine goes well with a blue”. In fact, the sommelier was bemused at how supermarkets and chain wine shops belittle the public when it comes to their wine knowledge. We are far more sophisticated now about “what goes with a steak”. We need more information. And that is where L’Art Dun Vin come into their own – not only do they supply exquisite wines, they tell the story of each. The best part is all their wines are available for collection or online.
Fendant, les Deux Cimes, Valais – White
First up was a light white paired with goat’s cheese – the Fendant, Les Deux Cimes, Valais, Switzerland 2016 matched with Ragstone Goat’s Cheese. I am a huge lover of goat’s cheese but matched with the lightness of the Fendant, it was incredible. It brought out so many flavours of the creamy cheese.
The exciting thing about this wine is that it is produced by Edinburgh-born Jamie McCulloch who founded his winery ‘Les Deux Cimes’, in the Swiss Alps in 2007. His Fendant, the Swiss name for Chasselas, is a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc – fresh and zesty but fleshy with juicy yellow plum characters and a herbal, savoury finish. The bottle retails for £22.00.
Grolleau, Le Joufflu – Red
This wine was my favourite, but sadly is not available on L’art Du Vin’s page yet. It was paired idyllically with Tunworth Brie – a British camembert that was so rich and creamy I could eat it all day every day.
Rioja Blanco, Hacienda Grimon, Spain – White
Our third sample matched with a hard cheddar from Barwhey’s. The cheese is made in Ayrshire and was had an almost meaty flavour to it. It was smooth and went beautifully with the beetroot relish as an accompaniment. Our wine was oaky, almost peppery and matched with the smooth mild cheddar, provided a bit of a kick.
The Crianza is produced following a rigorous fruit selection process from three different vineyard parcels. The wine is then aged for 16 months in a combination of French and American oak barrels, ensuring that aromas of black fruits are backed up by notes of black pepper and sweet spices. The ripe tannins and fresh acidity balance the richness of the fruit which results in an elegant and classy Rioja Crianza. The Reserva offers a great deal more structure on the palate than the Crianza, while also displaying far more prominent oak flavours. A combination of dense, plummy fruit and a good tannic structure ensure that this is a Reserva that offers incredible value for money. The bottle retails for £15.50.
The bottle retails for £15.50.
Maury Grenate Domain Lefage, Rousillon, France – Red Dessert
Our final pairing of the evening was the sublime Maury, Domain Lefage which had everyone impressed. The fortified wine tastes a bit like port but is almost like a spiced jam. It can be partnered with chocolate and puddings, however we had it with a Bleu des Causses. Anyone who has red grapes with their blue cheese will know how good it tastes to have that sweet and tangy taste mixed together.
Located between the sea and the mountains, half way between Perpignan and the Mediterranean coast, Domaine Lafage is one of our favourite new discoveries. Six generation ‘vignerons’, Jean-Marc and Eliane carry on the Lafage tradition, maintaining their family style of balanced, elegant wines displaying up front fruit. Their hard work has been rewarded with many accolades and medals from the Guide Hachette. What makes their estate particularly interesting is the fact that they grow a wide range of grape varieties (16) and produce an eclectic and varied range of wine styles, from crisp, clean whites to rich, fortified reds. A fortified red wine made with Grenache Noir, a great alternative to Port, more fruity and not as powerful. Packed with up front jammy black fruits with hints of Christmas spices, this wine is simply luscious, ideal match to dark chocolate or matured cheeses. The bottle retails for £16.80.
With thanks to Otro Edinburgh for the invitation to a cheese and wine evening.
Fancy more food and drink?