Which Wine Pairs Best with Blue Cheese? Janice Beaton Makes the Match

Sep30th

Introduction

Why are wine and cheese your best bets when entertaining? If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, where do you start to acquire a taste for it? How is blue cheese made? Can blue cheese actually have no blue colour? Where should you take a wine-and-cheese themed vacation?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Janice Beaton, owner of Janice Beaton Fine Cheese which was known as Calgary’s best place to buy artisanal, fresh-cut cheeses from around the world.

You can find the wines we discussed here.

 

Highlights

  • Why are wine and cheese your best bets when entertaining?
  • What is it about Bleu Bénédictin that makes it a cheese you can be especially proud of as a Canadian?
  • How can you ease yourself into the world of blue cheese?
  • Can blue cheese actually have no bluing?
  • Why should you take a wine and cheese vacation?
  • Could you pair Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 with blue cheese?
  • Why does Janice recommend that you try sheep cheese?
  • How does Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 pair with sheep cheese?

 

Start The Conversation: Click Below to Share These Wine Tips

 

 

Resources

 

Wine Reviews

 

Join me on Facebook Live Video

Join me on Facebook Live Video every second Wednesday at 7 pm eastern for a casual wine chat. Want to know when we go live?

Add this to your calendar:

 

 

Tag Me on Social

Tag me on social media if you enjoyed the episode:

 

Thirsty for more?

  • Sign up for my free online wine video class where I’ll walk you through The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner (and how to fix them forever!)
  • Join me on Facebook Live Video every second Wednesday at 7 pm eastern for a casual wine chat.
  • You’ll find my books here, including Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines and Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
  • The new audio edition of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass is now available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and other country-specific Amazon sites; iTunes.ca, iTunes.com and other country-specific iTunes sites; Audible.ca and Audible.com.

 

Transcript & Takeaways

Welcome to episode 96!

Why are wine and cheese your best bets when entertaining? If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, where do you start to acquire a taste for it? How is blue cheese made? Can blue cheese actually have no blue colour? Where should you take a wine-and-cheese themed vacation?

That’s exactly what you’ll discover in this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. I’m chatting again with Janice Beaton, who joins me from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to chat about pairing wine with artisanal blue cheeses.

This conversation took place on my Facebook Live video show several years ago so please keep that in mind as the context for her comments. Sadly, her cheese shop has closed since we spoke, but Janice remains passionate about cheese and wine.

I’ll include links to the wines and cheeses we tasted, where you can find me on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm, and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class — that’s all in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/96.

By the way, the wine I’m tasting is the Benjamin Bridge Nova 7, a lovely lime-blossom, medium sweet wine from Nova Scotia. I don’t think I mention the name in this part of our conversation.

We’re just 4 episodes away from number 100. Who would you like me to interview on this show? It could be a celebrity who now has a wine label, a winemaker, a sommelier, a wine or food writer, or someone with a great wine story.

I’m going to give away 3 signed copies of my second book, Unquenchable, which Amazon named one of the best books of the year to 3 people who come up with the best ideas.

So please email me at natalie@nataliemaclean.com or tag me on social media with any ideas you have to make it fun. And there will be wine.

Okay, on with the show!

 

You can also watch the video interview with Janice that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.

 

Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my chat with Janice Beaton. Here are my take-aways:

She recommends a creamy blue cheese as an excellent way to introduce yourself or someone you know to blue cheeses as the cream softens the pungency of the cheese. Look for those in the brie family with bloomy rinds

The Dutchman’s cheese she’s tasting is a fascinating blue cheese that’s not blue because it isn’t exposed to air. And the good news is that it’s now more widely available outside Nova Scotia. I’ve been able to buy it in Ottawa from Jacobson’s shop for example. The link to their site will be in the show notes so that you can check if it’s available where you live.

I was delighted that it’s not just heavier ports and dessert wines that pair well with blue cheeses, but also lighter wines like the Benjamin Bridge at just 6.5% alcohol because of its stone fruit and tropical notes.

Janice suggests that when we’re pairing wine and cheese that we have both in our mouths at the same time. I agree, but with a caveat. I like to taste the wine on its own first to get a benchmark of my impression of it, then cheese and wine together to taste the new flavours created, then back to the wine on its own to see how the cheese has changed my perception of it. Try this nifty little trick at home.

And as a Nova Scotia gal myself, whose parents are from Baddeck and Mabou, I love when Janice said she was in the bliss vortex of Cape Breton.

Since this was such a short episode, I’m going to supplement with some cheesy notes of my own. This is based on a magazine article I wrote a few years ago.

 

Certain pairings in life indicate that the world is a good place: peanut butter and jam, chocolate syrup and ice cream, wine and cheese. The separate ingredients enhance one another: each tastes better together than it would on its own. And the good news is that wine and cheese can be enjoyed with little preparation. The combination is perfect for any event, from informal picnics and snacks to cocktail soirées and dinner parties. For people like me, who don’t consider themselves a genius in the kitchen, it’s a relief to host gatherings without turning on the stove.

Wine and cheese seem to be a match made in gastronomic heaven for many reasons. Both are made from fresh liquids—grape juice and milk respectively—that are preserved and fermented by a natural agent: yeast for wine and bacteria for cheese. Both are the result of controlled decomposition—not an appetizing notion. Another thing wine and cheese share is a staggering range of styles. That’s why many of us find their choice and complexity intimidating. Many have strong personalities, with bold tastes and dominating characters, but others are mild and buttery, sometimes peppery or fruity. So how do you go about matching the two?

 

The Unbearable Lightness of Cheese

The easiest to pair are mild-flavored fresh and semi-fresh cheeses, such as mozzarella and goat cheese. They go especially well with light whites, of 12 percent or less alcohol, that have bright notes of fruit and crisp acidity, such as riesling, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio. (If you’re not sure about a wine’s acidity, check the label or tasting note for descriptors such as green apple, lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit.)

The classic match of French goat cheese, or chèvre, is sauvignon blanc from France’s Loire Valley, as both carry the essence of fresh air and wild meadows. The cheese also pairs well with zingy sauvignon blanc from New Zealand and South Africa or with flinty, unoaked chablis, which is Burgundian chardonnay. The racy acidity of those wines cuts through to the chalky heart of this cheese, and enhances the grassy notes in the cheese. Both the wine and cheese taste rounder, sweeter and softer as a result. The slightly effervescent moscato d’asti, with its grapey, orange-blossom taste and low alcohol, also works.

 

You Can Never be Too Rich or Too Creamy

Double- and triple-cream cheeses are tough to match with wine because their creamy texture can smother wine and make it taste thin. But who can resist a rich brie, its white lava oozing onto your baguette and its creamy aromas blooming in your mouth? A good match is a robust white, such as a barrel-fermented or barrel-aged chardonnay that has undergone a malolactic fermentation from California, Chile or Australia. Such wines have aromas of vanilla, smoke, toast, and various woods, such as cedar, oak, or pine. Both the cheese and the wine have creamy, buttery aromas and texture. However, oaky white wines may clash with other cheeses that have more butterfat: they can taste bitter, more of wood than of fruit. The same principle holds true for tannic red wines, especially young ones, such as New World cabernet and shiraz, which are among the toughest to match with cheese.

Another good match is sparkling wine—a great fall-back for many tough-to-match foods. Bubbly helps to diffuse salt and cut through fat with its palate-cleansing acidity and effervescence. Your best bets are French champagnes, Italian moscato d’asti or New World sparklers from California, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

 

A Hard, Sharp Edge

Everything I’ve advised so far may make it sound as though lovers of full-bodied red wines are out of luck when it comes to cheese. However, the longer a cheese ages and ripens, the higher its concentration of butterfat, the stronger its flavors become, and the greater likelihood it can hold its own against a robust red. Hard cheeses, such as gruyère, cheddar, beaufort, and parmigiano become not just stronger but also more balanced in terms of their flavors, salt, and acidity. Their flavors even mimic some of those in mature, full-bodied reds, such as notes of earth, nuts, and coffee.

In fact, the harder the cheese, the more tannic the wine can be. Bordeaux, for instance, is the classic match for British-born cheddar. The wine’s aromas of dried herbs, cassis, and blackcurrants, is a traditional pairing for cheddar with its bracing tang and earthy notes.

Another cheese that can take a mature red is Parmigianino Reggiano, often dubbed “the king of cheeses.” It’s based on a recipe more than 700 years old, and is still made from unpasteurized skimmed milk, coaxed from cows grazing on the sweet grass and hay of the Italian Alps. The stamp on the rind is a badge of authenticity: the premium grade of parmigiano is called stravecchio. The traditional match is Italian amarone. It’s dry wine but it has a concentrated raisiny, almost porty character because of the way it’s made: the grapes are dried in well-ventilated barns before fermentation. Also try Australian shiraz, with its peppery and black fruit aromas.

Other mature reds, such as Spanish rioja, Italian chianti or well-aged New World cabernets, have the necessary mellow aromas of leather, spice, dried herbs, coffee, and nutty aromas to complement robust hard cheeses like parmigiano and asiago. And don’t forget the bubbly: both cheeses pair delightfully with a full-bodied sparkling wine, especially one that has toasty, yeasty aromas. For extra depth and richness, choose a bubbly that’s made mostly from pinot noir grapes (blanc de noirs) rather than chardonnay grapes.

 

Hold Your Nose but not the Wine

The most difficult cheeses to pair with wine are the blues, as their strong taste and powerful saltiness tends to make red wine taste bitter and hot. Salt accentuates many aspects of food, including its flavor, and that’s usually a good thing. However, it can also intensify both tannins and alcohol. The best foil for salt is sweet, so avoid dry and off-dry wines and go straight for the sweeter ones: late-harvest chenin blanc, gewürztraminer, and riesling all have the required richness and flavor.

Better still is the French dessert wine sauternes, made from grapes that are attacked by a good fungus called botrytis or “noble rot.” The resulting wine has a rich, honeyed character that pairs beautifully with the salty, tangy flavor of blue cheeses. Sauternes and roquefort blue cheese are a traditional pairing, but even gorgonzola, made in the northern Italian Alps, pairs ideally with botrytized wines.

My favorite match for both hard and blue cheeses is port, a fortified wine whose alcohol is increased to 18 to 22 percent by adding neutral grape spirits (usually grape brandy) before fermentation is complete. The yeast in the wine converts some of the brandy’s sugars to more alcohol, giving these wines their extra potency, and the remaining sugars sweeten the wine. In your mouth, the alcohol emulsifies the fat of the cheese, dispersing it over your palate for a pleasant, even, rich texture. The unctuous mouth-feel of great port with its dark aromatic medley of toasted walnuts, prunes, orange peel, caramel, plums, and toffee, can easily hold its own alongside blue cheeses. The wine’s robust but rounded tannins give it the opulence to cope with concentrated butterfat.

One of the best blue cheeses is the British stilton, famous for its even distribution of blue mold. Historically, the companies that first shipped port out of Portugal and sold it to the world were all British—think Graham’s, Taylor & Fladgate, Dow’s—so the classic pairing of stilton and port is the happy result of maritime trade.

Cheese and wine that have the same aromas can often complement one another. One such pairing is between the floral, grapey notes in Alsatian gewürztraminer and the French cheese muenster, a soft, creamy, pungent cheese with a rusty-orange rind, first made by seventh-century monks from the milk of cows grazing on the Vosges Mountains. In fact, wines and cheeses from the same region are often paired together: they express the same influences of climate and soil, leading to similar aromas and characters.

The Spanish wine sherry, fortified after fermentation is complete, has wonderful nutty aromas that are a perfect match for the Spanish cheese manchego. It’s made from sheep’s milk and has a moist but firm texture, with sweet and salty notes. A medium dry amontillado or oloroso sherry goes well with this cheese as does sweet (cream) sherry. All three drink nicely too with aged gouda, which has a nutty character.

 

And the Wine Lover Takes the Cheese

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to matching wine and cheese. The only real caveat is to drink your most delicate white wines and your finest, most complex reds either on their own or with foods that are kinder to them. The fun is in trying different pairings, especially nontraditional ones. I discovered one evening that riesling is brilliant with grilled-cheese sandwiches, which is really just fondue with larger pieces of bread. That finding led me to other inspired combinations, such as an oaky Chilean chardonnay with macaroni and cheese. I have yet to find a match, though, for Cheese Whiz.

 

 

You won’t want to miss next week when I’ll be going cheesy on a solo episode. Recently, Taco Bell launched their first ever wine worldwide and it’s made by an Ontario winery to pair with their Toasted Cheesy Chalupa. This is not a joke. I’ll be doing a live taste test of the wine and taco to see if they work or is it a marketing fail. Then I’ll broaden the discussion out to other shabby-chic, high-low pairings that are perfect for these crazy times.

In the meantime, if you missed episode 50, go back and take a listen. We’re chatting about my other favourite indulgent wine pairing — chocolate. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.

If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wine and blue cheese pairing tips that Janice shared.

You’ll find links to the wines and cheeses we tasted, where you can find me on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm, and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class — that’s all in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/96.

Thank-you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a wine that pairs well with blue cheese!

 

 

Transcript

Janice Beaton 0:00
sweet wine and a blue cheese. They’re made for each other, the acidity, that’s a very important element as well with the blue cheese. So I think that the stone fruit and sort of tropical nature, the sweetness, it stood up so well I was very impressed.

Natalie MacLean 0:14
It does it works very well. And I wouldn’t have thought about this pairing either because this is such a like beautiful wine that I would think of for an aperitif. But it does work. It’s got that off dry the city, it actually holds its

Janice Beaton 0:27
own. You know, we both agreed it’s refreshing, it’s light. And that was my concern. I often think wait when I pair and this is not a way to eat wine in the way that this is a way to eat cheese, so I thought it might just knock it over and really sort of gallop over the top of it. And it didn’t at all. So I’m very pleasantly surprised.

Natalie MacLean 0:54
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places and amusingly awkward social situations? That’s the blend here on the unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie MacLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 96. Why are wine and cheese your best bets when it comes to entertaining? If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, where do you start to acquire a taste for it? How is blue cheese made? Can blue cheese actually have no blue colour? And where should you take a wine and cheese themed vacation? That’s exactly what you’ll discover on this episode of The unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m chatting again with Janice Beaton, who joins me from Cape Breton Nova Scotia, to chat about pairing wine with artisanal blue cheeses. This conversation took place on my Facebook Live video show several years ago, so please keep that in mind as the context for her comments. Sadly, her cheese shop has closed since we spoke but Janice remains passionate about cheese and wine. I’ll include links to the wines and cheeses we tasted, where you can find me on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at 7pm and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. That’s all in the show notes at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 96. And by the way, the wine tasting at the beginning is the Benjamin bridge Nova seven. A lovely lime blossom medium sweet wine from Nova Scotia. I don’t think I mentioned the name in this part of our conversation and we’re just four episodes away from number 100. Whoo. Who would you like me to interview on this show? It could be a celebrity who now has a wine label, a winemaker, a sommelier, a wine or food writer or someone with a great wine story. I’m going to give away three signed copies of my second book unquenchable, which Amazon named one of the best books of the year to the three people who come up with the best ideas or any ideas in fact, so please email me at Natalie at Natalie MacLean calm or tag me on social media, with any suggestions you have to make this fun. And there will be wine. Okay, on with the show. We’re back We’re tasting more cheeses with Janice lovely Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada, cheeses and wines. So let’s get right back into it. Just drink, just drink. I love this. This is a bit more off dry, a little bit more sweetness than the title bays. We’ve got that light, as we say present a little bit of this. And I’m really getting Morphe sort of apricot blossom more. Just a bit more of the sweetness. That’s lovely. But it’s still balanced with the acidity and frizz and it’s not at all cloyingly sweet back. I think this would be a good aperitif. And I think aperitif wines are often great with cheese.

Janice Beaton 4:31
So they are indeed cheese is great anytime though really, and many things and wine too. I should qualify that and say with many types of wine. That’s really what I was thinking you’re not saying.

Natalie MacLean 4:42
Yeah, for cheese and wine, especially if you don’t want to cook a full course meal but you want to entertain. There’s no better way to go. Especially if the tastes are so diverse and are seasonal between the wine and cheese. I think that’s an easy way to entertain.

Janice Beaton 4:57
Truly, I mean fortunately we get that in the store a lot. And then people will just walk over and present some delicious wine and just play around. So that happens on a regular prom actually, probably daily basis. That’s great. They support the idea. We even do the boards for people if they don’t even want to have to, you know, unfurl the cheeses and put them out themselves. We do that for them. So we really make it easy to ship those boards to Ontario. Believe it or not, they have gone on planes. Interesting. Sometimes we just do a kit and it’s like, okay, here are all the bits the nuts, the fruit that the dry fruit rather not fresh, but cheeses crackers, and here’s how to assemble. We found out too. Alright, easier to ship than a platter.

Natalie MacLean 5:42
Okay, well, we’ll be posting your website we’ll be

Unknown Speaker 5:44
talking. Yeah, exactly.

Natalie MacLean 5:47
Well, how about this blue cheese. I have to warn you. I again, I’m not a huge fan of blue. But this one looks very interesting. We’re back with the Dutchman’s blue cheese, which is the dragon’s breath. And then you’ve suggested the Benedictine blue from Quebec. For me.

Janice Beaton 6:04
Yes. One of our absolute favourites. I mean, it’s it’s such a great blue and again, that she said we I think as Canadians can be very proud of, I mean, the monks at the base of MRG lack in eastern townships make that cheese and they’ve empty since 1943. They made this one I believe it was in 1999 and immediately won significant awards for it. It’s really excellent. It’s quite different from the dragon’s breath, which really, there’s nothing else like that I’ve ever had. But I would say that when it comes to strength, they operate on a similar level in terms of the strength of the blue cheese, you know, blue cheeses can be you know, milder on one end and, and quite powerful on the other.

Unknown Speaker 6:46
So I you know, blue cheese could be mild.

Janice Beaton 6:48
I haven’t tasted one of those. There is one it’s made. It’s like the bloomie brine family of cheeses, which Brie and Canterbury reside in. There’s one that’s made in that style and other and inoculated with a little bit of blue. If you like soft, creamy cheese and a little bit of blue. It’s the bomb. Well,

Natalie MacLean 7:06
that sounds like a blue cheese with training wheels or whatever starter but yeah,

Janice Beaton 7:09
it is actually we have turned many, many a person onto blue cheese to offering them blue breasts.

Natalie MacLean 7:16
Okay, let’s taste the blue. It’s pungent it got lots of salt, lots of flavour. Wow, it really hits you. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 7:26
sort of.

Janice Beaton 7:30
I’ve heard you say before that you’re not a big blue cheese fan. But you know, I’m dedicated to converting people Natalie. Okay. I might, I might be sending him some blue dress.

Natalie MacLean 7:41
That’s a noble mission. And I’m a torture test case because I’m one of those folks who has apparently too many taste buds. I’ve actually had my taste buds counted or whatever measured on my tongue and have a super taster so really strong. Tastes like blue cheese. Just knock me out. I think I could acquire a taste though. Well, we’ll see what we can do. Thank you.

Janice Beaton 8:02
I know you’ve got that great blue Benedict Tam and I have Dragon’s Breath from that Dutchman so he makes this blue cheese and then he enrols it in black wax and that prevents any air from getting in and even though he’s added Penicillium row for tie to milk when he’s making the cheese because there’s no access for the air to get to the cheese because of the impermeability of the wax. The cheese inside has no Bluey you know it’s the colour of milk. It’s a you know beautiful creamy pale yellow colour. And there’s no bluing but no one would doubt that it’s a blue cheese when you taste it.

Natalie MacLean 8:40
Wow, that’s a different process, isn’t it? Yeah,

Janice Beaton 8:42
it is. I mean, this is essentially licenced cheese so it’s really not available outside of the province for sale but so many people have tried this cheese and love it. So I mean weekly we get questioned in the shop about dragon’s breath and will we have it and when could we get it? You know people would just kill for it. You know sometimes I think we’ve I just had a few I could have an auction. That’s how it has a cult following the

Natalie MacLean 9:07
entrepreneur in here. But that’s that’s another reason to visit somewhere like the Annapolis Valley and just like a wine and cheese sort of vacation. I mean, that’s just it’s a beautiful part of the world. And then you’ve got both the cheeses and the wines. They’re

Janice Beaton 9:21
just very No, it’s it’s fabulous. I can vouch for it. I’m here right now. Although, I did say to a friend recently, you know, I’m here in the bliss vortex in Cape Breton and I’m not moving off the island. Sorry, I’m not going to the mainland. bliss.

Unknown Speaker 9:37
I love that.

Janice Beaton 9:40
Breton doesn’t get much better.

Unknown Speaker 9:41
No, it doesn’t.

Janice Beaton 9:45
Yes, I tried the Nova seven with the dragon’s breath and I was surprised at how well it held up. Sometimes big powerful cheese’s can really knock the socks off a wine. This one really Surprisingly held up. I mean, what I felt was that for me there stone fruit in the Nova seven there’s great stone fruit, it’s tropical, it’s got that sweetness which is a perfect foil for a blue cheese. I mean often I mean that’s a classic pairing it’s like you know Stilton import but a sweet wine and a blue cheeses really they’re made for each other. So because of the acidity I mean that’s a very important element as well with a blue cheese like this one. So I think that the stone fruit and sort of tropical nature the sweetness, it stood up so well I was very impressed.

Natalie MacLean 10:34
It does it works very well and I wouldn’t have thought about this pairing either because this is such a like beautiful wine that I would think of as I said for an aperitif but it does work it’s got the that off dry the city it actually holds its own

Janice Beaton 10:48
well and even you know we both agreed it’s light it’s refreshing it’s light and that was my concern. I often think wait when I pair and this is not a way to wine in the way that this is a weighty cheese so I thought it might just knock it over and really just you know sort of gallop over the top of it hadn’t it didn’t at all so very pleasantly surprised. Good work. Benjamin seven.

Natalie MacLean 11:14
No. And you know, I’m reading the back of the bottle and it only has 6.5% alcohol most wines are these days 13% port, which we think of traditionally for blue cheese clucks in at about 20%. So that is pretty amazing that they have enough flavour into this with 6.5% alcohol to stand up to blue jeans. Yeah,

Janice Beaton 11:36
a great summer sipping wine, you know, not not high alcohol and clearly a great a great one with cheese. I’m excited to try it with the less cheese that I have which you have a counterpoint of.

Natalie MacLean 11:45
Okay, yeah, absolutely. Let’s go for it. Okay, that

Janice Beaton 11:48
yes. So, I have been saying to lots of my friends here and family, you know, I think I’ve just discovered my new favourite cheese in the last three days. I went to the farmers market and the deck to score this one. And there’s a gentleman who his company is called wandering shepherd, and he started making cheese just last fall, he became provincially licenced, and he’s making predominantly use milk cheeses. And I am absolutely blown away by the quality of his cheese. And it’s patterned after the sheep milk cheeses from the Pyrenees and the Basque region in the south of France. And he was telling me when I was chatting with him at the market that he at the age of 20, or 21, had done some chef’s training here and then moved to France and really got his papers there and spent 15 or pardon me, not just fancy Europe, he spent 15 years working as a chef in those in a number of countries. And I think had quite an interest in cheese. So did some serious work with some cheese makers along the way. And it’s showing I mean for someone to produce this quality of cheese at at such an early point in his cheesemaking career is impressive. So as I said, it’s it’s like if you have had a cheese from that region called Oso, arity, or both South irati depending on whether you’re more in Basque or more French. That’s what he was aiming for. And a fine job he did in producing a very, very similar replica of our replica of that cheese, sheep cheeses in general. I mean, they’re, they may be my favourite milk or idol. When it comes to cheese. And this one, the texture is it’s somewhat crumbly, but it’s got a beautiful natural rind development. And it’s I think there’s a combination of all of and kind of butterscotch, which sounds kind of strange, but there’s, there’s kind of an all of the oiliness. It’s not oily cheese, but there’s a richness, and that’s partly because of the nature of sheep’s milk. There’s a richness to this cheese, but it’s got that sort of, there’s a butterscotch very gentle butterscotch II kind of under undertone. It’s got gentle Tang. I mean, I would love to try this again in about three months. This particular one, this one is six months old, and also raw milk. So he’s making unpasteurized cheeses here, but I think it bodes well for us having a really fabulous cheese maker from Cape Breton, which some people consider as separate province anyway.

Natalie MacLean 14:23
Yes, tonight. I spent my childhood summers in bedeck my mom’s

Janice Beaton 14:28
back. Yeah. Well, it’s such a beautiful place. Labrador lakes.

Unknown Speaker 14:33
Yes, absolutely. Now, would you pair this with

Janice Beaton 14:36
Well, I think I actually think now that I mean, after that, what happened with the with the dragon’s breath, and notice that I’m going back to the note seven?

Natalie MacLean 14:44
Mm hmm. Okay, so mine going back right to the bottle. Okay, let’s give that a

Unknown Speaker 14:53
try. Mm hmm. So pretty.

Janice Beaton 14:57
So what happens with this one is it Really, really accentuates the apricots. Huh? It really pulls it forward. In fact, I can still taste avocado in my mouth. So very interesting. I mean, you never know until you have wine and cheese in your mouth together, what’s going to happen. And on that note, it’s just a small little piece of advice. I really believe that if you really want to taste things fully, and how they’re working as a team, you have to have them in your mouth together. I’m not one to, you know, take something in my mouth, chew it, swallow it and then take, you know, the wine to follow. I think you kind of reduce it down to a to D experience, then I think, you know, having both in your mouth at the same time really makes a difference.

Natalie MacLean 15:44
That’s a great tip.

Janice Beaton 15:45
Absolutely. I mean, it’s my opinion, either share it there, or someone might argue, but I just I like to suggest that to people. And I won’t argue. So you are tasting. But cheese. Are you happy? I’m going around to all the cheeses again. I’m

Unknown Speaker 16:02
pretty much finishing off the

Unknown Speaker 16:03
laser on everybody.

Unknown Speaker 16:05
Yeah, just to be thorough. Yes,

Janice Beaton 16:07
good. Research, you know, you have to do a lot of combinations and permutations you’re dealing with there. Got a few more going on than I do.

Natalie MacLean 16:16
Whoa, Janice, this has been great. Oh, my goodness, I could talk all day with you about cheese and wine. And on that note, let’s get together again, when you’re back home in Calgary, and why don’t we taste West Coast cheeses and wines.

Janice Beaton 16:31
I would love that. There’s some great offerings from that part of the world. So that would make me happy. Oh, great.

Natalie MacLean 16:37
Excellent. All right. Cheers to you, Janice.

Janice Beaton 16:40
Yeah, thank you now he was truly lots of fun to be here with you today. All right, take care.

Natalie MacLean 16:51
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Janice Beaton. Here my takeaways. Number one, she recommends a creamy blue cheese as an excellent way to introduce yourself or someone you know to blue cheeses as the cream softens the pungency of the cheese. Look for those in the Brie or Kevin bear family with bloomie rhymes. Number two, the Dutchman’s cheese that she’s tasting in this chat is a fascinating blue cheese that’s not blue because it wasn’t exposed to air. And the good news is that it’s now more widely available outside Nova Scotia. I’ve been able to buy it here in Ottawa from Jacobson’s cheese shop for example. The link to their site will be in the show notes so that you can check if it’s available where you live. Three, I was delighted that it’s not just heavier ports and dessert wines that pair well with blue cheeses, but also lighter wines like the Benjamin bridge Nova seven at just 6.5% alcohol because it has some lovely stone fruit and tropical notes for Jana suggests that when we’re pairing wine and cheese that we have both of them in our mouths at the same time. I agree but with a caveat. I like to taste the wine on its own first to get a benchmark of my impression of it. Then the cheese and the wine together to taste the new flavours that are created. Yay. And then go back to the cheese on its own to see how the cheese has changed my perception of the wine. Try this nifty trick at home and let me know how you fare and five as a nova scotia gal myself, whose parents are from the deck and Mabu I love when Jana said she was in the bliss for tax of Cape Breton. Since this was such a short episode, I’m going to supplement with some cheesy notes of my own. This is based on a magazine article I wrote a few years ago. Certain pairings in life indicate that the world is a good place. Peanut butter and jam, chocolate syrup and ice cream, wine and cheese. The separate ingredients enhance one another. Each tastes better together than it would on its own. And the good news is that wine and cheese can be enjoyed with very little preparation. The combination is perfect for any event from informal picnics and snacks to cocktail soirees and dinner parties. For people like me who don’t consider themselves a genius in the kitchen hashtag vast understatement. It’s a relief to host gatherings without having to turn on the stove and wine and cheese seemed to be a match made in gastronomical heaven for many reasons. Both are made from fresh liquids grape juice and milk respectively, that are preserved and fermented by a natural agent, yeast for wine and bacteria for cheese. Both are the result of controlled decomposition, not exactly an appetising notion, and yet one that yields a range of enticing delicious flavours and they also both tend to get more complex with time. Although some Such as Beaujolais Nouveau, and goat’s cheese are best consumed fresh. Another thing wine and cheese share is a staggering range of styles. That’s why many of us find their choice and complexity intimidating. Many have strong personalities with bold tastes and dominating characters, but others are mild and buttery and sometimes even peppery or fruity. So how do you go about matching the two? I am here to help the Unbearable Lightness of some cheese’s the easiest pair are mild flavoured fresh and semi fresh cheeses such as mozzarella and goat cheese. They go especially well with lightweights of 12% or less alcohol that have bright notes of fruit and crisp acidity, such as Riesling Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. If you’re not sure about a wines acidity, check the label or tasting note for descriptors such as green apple, lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, or other citrus and the classic match of French goat cheese or shev is Sauvignon Blanc from France’s lower Valley, as both carry the essence of fresh air and wild meadows. The cheese also pairs well with Ziggy Sauvignon la from New Zealand and South Africa, are with a flinty unoaked Chablis, which is burgundy and Chardonnay. The racy acidity of the wine cuts through the chalky heart of this cheese and enhances the grassy notes in it. Both wine and cheese tastes rounder, sweeter and softer As a result, the slightly effervescent Moscato dusty, with its gravy orange blossom taste and low alcohol also works well.

You can never be too rich or too creamy. double and triple cream cheeses are tough to match with wine because their creamy texture can smother wine and make it taste thin. But who can resist a rich Gree with its white lava losing onto your baguette and it’s creamy aromas blooming in your mouth. A good match is a robust white, such as a barrel fermented or barrel aged Chardonnay that has undergone a malolactic fermentation from California, Chile or Australia. malolactic fermentation by the way is when the harsh acids the mallow are converted into softer lactic acids to make a rounder wine. Such wines have aromas of vanilla smoke, toast and various woods, such as cedar, oak, or pine. Both the cheese and the wine have creamy buttery aromas and texture. However, oaky white wines may clash with other cheeses that have more butterfat. They can taste bitter more of the wood than the fruit. The same principle holds true for tannic red wines, especially young ones such as New World Cabernet and Shiraz, which are among the toughest to match with cheese. A good match is sparkling wine, a great fallback for many tough to match foods. bubbly helps diffuse the salt and cut through the fat with its palate cleansing acidity and effervescence. Your best bats are French champagnes, Italian Moscato desti or new world sparklers from California, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. A hard sharp edge. Everything I’ve advised so far makes it sound as the lovers of full bodied red wines are just out of luck when it comes to cheese. However, the longer a cheese ages and ripens, the higher its concentration of butterfat, the stronger its flavours become and the greater likelihood it can hold its own against a robust red wine. Hard cheeses such as Grier, cheddar, Bo forte, and parmigiano become not just stronger but also more balanced in terms of their flavours, salt, and acidity, sh their flavours even mimic some of those in mature full bodied reds, such as notes of Earth, nuts, and coffee. In fact, the harder the cheese the more tannic the wine can be. Bordeaux, for instance, is a classic match for British born cheddar. The wines aromas of dried herbs casies and blackberry is a traditional pairing for cheddar with its bracing, Tang and earthy notes. Another cheese that can take a mature read is Parmigiano Reggiano, often dubbed the king of cheeses. It’s based on a recipe more than 700 years old and is still made from unpasteurized scales. Milk. coaxed from cows grazing on sweet grass and hay in the Italian Alps. The stamp on the rind is a badge of authenticity. The premium grade of parmigiano is called straw vecchio. The traditional match is Italian Moroni. It’s a dry wine but has a concentrated raising almost portly character. Because of the way it’s made, the grapes are dried and well ventilated barns before fermentation. Also try Australian sheraz with its peppery and black fruit aromas and others other mature reds such as Spanish Rio ha Italian kiante are well age New World Cabernets have the necessary mellow aromas of leather, spice dried herbs, coffee and nutty aromas to complement robust hard cheeses like parmigiano and as Iago. But don’t forget the bubbly. Both cheeses pair delightfully with a full bodied sparkling wine, especially one that has toasty, yeasty aromas. For extra depth and richness. Choose a bubbly that’s made mostly from Pinot Noir grapes blong Dinoire rather than Chardonnay grapes. Hold your nose but not the wine.

The most difficult cheeses to pair with wine are the blues, as their strong taste and powerful saltiness tends to make red wine taste bitter and hot. Salt accentuates many aspects of food including its flavour and that’s usually a good thing. However, it can also intensify both tannins and alcohol. The best foil for salt is sweet. So avoid dry and off dry wines and go straight for the sweeter ones. late harvest Shannon blown, diverts demeanour and Riesling all have the required richness and flavour and better still is the French dessert wine so turn made from the grapes that are attacked by the good fungus called Botrytis or noble rot. The resulting mine has a rich honey character that pairs beautifully with the salty, tangy flavour of blue cheeses. So Taryn, and Raka for blue cheese are a traditional pairing but even Gorgonzola made in the northern Italian Alps, pairs beautifully with botrytized wines. My favourite match for both hard and blue cheeses is Port afforda FIDE wine whose alcohol is increased about 19 to 20%. By adding neutral grape spirits, usually great brandy before fermentation is complete. The yeast in the wine converts some of the brandy sugars to more alcohol giving these wines their extra potency, and the remaining sugar sweetened the wine in your mouth, the alcohol emulsifies the fat of the cheese, dispersing it over your palate for a pleasant even rich texture. That unctuous mouthfeel of a great port with its dark aromatic medley of toasted walnuts, prunes, orange peel, Carmel, plums and toffee can easily hold its own, alongside blues cheeses. The wines robust but rounded tannins give it the opulence to cope with the concentrated butterfat. One of the best blue cheeses is British Stilton, famous for its even distribution of blue mould. Historically, the companies that first shipped port out of Portugal and sold it to the world we’re all British thing Graham’s Taylor and fladgate dows. So the classic pairing of Stilton import is the happy result of maritime trade and cheese and wine that have the same aromas often complement one another. One such pairing is between the floral grapey notes in Alsatian Gilbert’s demeanour, and the French cheese monster, a soft, creamy pungent cheese with a rusty orange rind first made by seventh century monks from the milk of cows grazing in the mountains. In fact, wines and cheeses from the same region, often parallel together. They express the same influences of climate and soil, leading to similar aromas and characters in the Spanish wine Sherry fortified after fermentation is complete, has wonderful nutty aromas that are a perfect match for the Spanish cheese Manchego. It’s made from sheep’s milk and has a moist but firm texture with sweet and salty notes. A medium dry almond tea Otto or oloroso Sherry goes well with this cheese as does sweet or cream Sherry. All three drink nicely too with aged Gouda, which has a nutty character. And the wine lover takes the cheese There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to matching wine and cheese. The only real caveat is to drink your most delicate white wines and your finest, most complex reds, either on their own or with foods that are kinder to them. The fun is in trying different pairings, especially non traditional ones. I discovered one evening that Riesling is brilliant with grilled cheese sandwiches, which is really just fondue with larger pieces of bread. That finding led me to more inspired combinations such as an okie chilli and Chardonnay, and mac and cheese play have yet to find a match though for Cheez Whiz.

You won’t want to miss next week when I’ll be going cheesy again but on a solo episode. Recently, Taco Bell launched their first ever wine worldwide, and it’s made by an Ontario winery to pair with their toasted cheesy chalupa. This is not a joke. I will be doing a live taste test of the wine and taco to see if they work. Or if this is a marketing fail. Then I’ll broaden the discussion out to other shabby chic high low pairings that are absolutely perfect for these crazy times we’re living in and in the meantime, if you missed Episode 50 go back and take a listen. we’re chatting about my other favourite indulgent wine pairing chocolate. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite. A lot of wine lovers don’t even bother to combine wine and chocolate. They feel that the rich sweetness of chocolate is just too much for any wine. But I love to layer my vices if I can. One vise is never enough. So I’m determined to find some good pairings. The overarching principle as always, is that the wine should be sweeter than the dessert or the sweet thing. Otherwise the wine is going to taste bitter by comparison. That’s no matter what eating chocolate a fruit Flan, anything like that. Dark chocolate, as you can imagine is the easiest chocolate to pair with wine.

If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who be interested in the wine and blue cheese pairing tips that Janice shared. You’ll find links to the wines and cheeses we tasted where you can find me on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at 7pm and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. That’s all in the shownotes at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 96 Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a wine that pairs beautifully with cheese.

You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Natalie maclean.com forward slash subscribe. We’ll be here next week. Cheers

 

 

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply