I was thrilled to get a spot at the Jordan Winery cheese pairing at Antonelli's during sxsw-- not only was it a welcome break from the media monsoon downtown, but it was hosted especially for the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance. And though I've technically been a member since the summer, I haven't been attending nearly enough of their awesome events! And this one was certainly a winner.
Not only that, but I hadn't been to Antonelli's Cheese House since I wrote this article on cheese and beer pairing for Edible Austin. Kendall and John Antonelli are a wealth of knowledge and so passionate about what they do. So I know any trip to this dairy mecca is bound to be a great one.
Read on for my cheesy notes...
Pure Lucky Dairy Ste Maure, 2010 Chardonnay, Robert Lambert Rangpur Lime Marmelade
The smooth, creamy chalkiness of this chèvre cut into the acidity of the chardonnay, and the bloomy rind made for an almost floral aftertaste. The zesty lime marmalade added the perfect zing to this pairing once incorporated and complimented the minerality of the chardonnary quite well!
Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alle-Pia Sopressa
We got to try this '09 cab which won't be released until May! The buttery, washed ring Red Hawk had a slight funk which is mellowed by the fruit in the cab. And the spicy sopressa added just the right amount of savory, which brought out entirely different flavors from both cheese (mushroom) and wine (cherries and berries). Altogether a very smooth pairing!
Ossau-Iraty Onetik, 2008 Cabernet, INNA Jam Seascape
The Onetik is a slighty sharp, palatable semi-soft cow's milk (The Austin Wine Guy, who was in attendance, says it's excellent on a Hopdoddy burger!) The natural rind-- which Kendall Antonelli explained develops during the affinage process- gives the cheese a nutty, earthy effect which mellows the much more tannic and peppery '08 cab. The fruit-forward strawberry jam was an unexpected addition but worked and really pulled more fruit notes out of the wine!
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, 2003 Cabernet, Dick Taylor 74% Dominican Chocolate
Lisa Mattson, Jordan Winery's director of communications, recommended pairing older cheese with vintage wine-- like this British-style, cave-aged cheddar with the super juicy '03 cab. The earthiness of the cheese really seemed to ground the wine and pin down cherry notes, and adding dark chocolate to the mix was truly a mouth party! I'm a sucker for salty sweetness and there was a whole lot of that going on, with velvety waves of wine bringing it altogether.
We also got to try some of Jordan Winery's amazingly rich and flavorful olive oil (they make about 200 cases a year) and look at photos of their beautiful, sprawling vineyard. Can't wait to visit in person whenever I make it back out to Northern California once again!