Monday, September 27, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Thirty - Zweigelt Marriage Mondays

Zweigelt -- that's quite the mouthful isn't it? In case you are not familiar with Zweigelt, it is a red wine grape varietal that is a cross of Blaufrankisch and St-Laurent grown throughout Austria where it was first developed in 1922 by Fritz Zweigelt. The grape is extremely popular in Austria and in other Eastern European cold climate grape growing regions and even in Canada but less so here.

Known for being lighter bodied red wines with a soft tender mouth feel and nice subtle dark red fruit notes, Zweigelts should be served slightly chilled, like a Beaujolais. Very versatile when it comes to food pairings -- a nice glass goes with everything from roasted veggies to ravioli to pizza to cheese and more.

My new Zweigelt discovery is E & M Berger Blauer Zweigelt found in one liter bottles at Union Square Wines for the surprising price of $14.99 a bottle. The perfect wine for rainy nights and cooler afternoons and at that price, you don't have to feel guilty if you have one extra glass!

So what sort of cheeses go with our dear wine friend?

Contestant Number #1: Califon Tomme - Hailing from Valley Shepherd Creamery located in our neighboring state of New Jersey, this is a raw mixed milk cheese. It is made with sheep and cow's milk and is aged for anywhere between three and six months. Semi-firm in texture, it sure is a delight on the tongue. An eclectic melange of flavors is present here -- buttery, farmy, barnyardy, herbal, toasty, and yeasty; with a nice lusciousness mouthfeel, this is a cheese that certainly thrills! Will it thrill our Austrian this week?

Contestant Number # 2: Grafton Village Duet - A veritable blue sandwich is contestant number two -- two layers of Grafton Premium Cheddar bookend one layer of St. Pete's Blue cheese hailing from Faribault creamery in Minnesota. Modeled on the classic English cheese, Huntsman, a blend of Stilton and Double Gloucester, our version is imbued with that classic American terroir. Packed with that classic cheddar-y creaminess and the spicy piquant notes of a good blue cheese, this is a cheese that satisfies both the blue lovers and the cheddar fanatics at once. Will it hit the spot for those Zweigelt fans out there?

Contestant Number # 3: Dorset - Crafted at Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont this is a raw cow's milk washed rind cheese. Our last and final contestant is a flavor chameleon; on any number of occasions one will find notes of asparagus, herbs, butter, minerals, fresh cut grass, citrus and more present in this stunner of a cheese. Rich and unctuous, it has the texture almost of an Alpine style cheese with the American artisanal dynamism of a unique Vermont creation. Does it have what it takes to win this week?

Stay tuned to find out tomorrow. Stay dry folks!

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