Monday, November 1, 2010

Day Two Sixty Five - Epoisses Marriage Mondays

Washed rind cheese at its finest is what I have in store for this week's Marriage Mondays -- stinky, pungent, biting, and all around fantastic, even Napoleon was rumored to love this round disk of cow's milk cheese. Its scent even has to be constrained by the wooden box it is housed in.  Washed in lightly salted water and then left to ripen for a month; it is then washed with Marc de Bourgogne, a French brandy. Ooey-gooey is this cheese that's for sure. It's full of barnyardy, farmy, and even meaty flavors with the sensationally salty unctuously creamy paste that coats every crevice of your mouth while enjoying this AOC recognized cheese. 

Curious why it has such an odor? 

That's due to the B Linens which is a bacteria that develops in the humid moist climate where the cheese is aged. On top of lending the cheese's characteristic odor, these B linens also turn the cheese its classic orange-y color.

image courtesy of Artisanal cheese

So what are we pairing this stinker with today? 

I thought I'd take three different wine options, not specific wines though, so as to leave one's options somewhat more open when trying this pairing. 

Contestant Number # 1: Pinot Blanc - A traditionally light to medium bodied white with a roundness of flavor. They tend to have a semi sweetness to them with minimal floral notes, almost even a hint of fruity nuttiness.  Traditionally not an overly complex varietal, always reliable and delish. Why not go with the standby of off-dry, fruity goodness well-liked by one and all for our Epoisses today? Maybe a nice glass of Pinot Blanc will tame the beast?

Contestant Number # 2: Red Bordeaux - Go big or go home is a good phrase to characterize our second contestant. Full of flavor and body traditionally are red wines from the Bordeaux region of France, they do not go silently into the night. Notes of red fruit are paired with a silky smoothness on the mouth and a solid finish, if one had to generalize. But these aren't wines you want to generalize -- nuanced, unique, and well developed, that's for sure. This certainly is an opportunity to take a cheese with a commandeering presence and place it with a wine that has a similar presence, will it be a match made in heaven?

Contestant Number # 3: Sauternes - French dessert wine, yum! Made from a mixture of Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by noble rot, where the grapes become slightly raisined and therefore more intensely concentrated. Sugary, syrupy sweet but in all the right ways, a small glass of this final contestant goes a long way. Full of sunny apricot, golden raisin, honey, and peach notes with an inherent warmth and body, it brings a smile to one's face. But does our sweet one have what it takes to tango with the Epoisses?

Stay tuned!

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