This was an amazing class with only 16 people (the room is intimate) and 5 great wines and cheeses. Bianca did a great job at providing tasting notes and encouraging us to not only try her pairings, but sample across the wine and cheese.
Bianca’s notes were actually more extensive, so I’ve curated them, plus then you won’t be bored if you head to Lone Star Wine Cellars (website) for a class.
2018 Lone Star Reminiscence Blanc De Noirs & Humboldt Fog
Effervescent, Tart, Floral, Fruity, Nutty, Delicate Flavor, Subtle Sweetness; Grapes from Lodi CA with 85% Pinot Noir & 15% Pinot Meunier. 8 months in stainless steel
She noted that the cheese is named for the local ocean fog from Humboldt Bay.
Firstly let me say, I love Humboldt Fog cheese. It’s a goat cheese by Cypress Grove. It has a thin layer of edible vegetable ash running down the center. The wine was light and fruity (as described) but also very acidic on my tongue. The cheese actually sweetened the wine.
2020 Lab Rosé & Goat Cheese Mediterranean
This is a Vinho Verde style wine from Portugal. Bright, Fruity, Citrusy, Intense Aromatics
The cheese is crusted in finely diced onions, garlic, tomatoes, and choice herbs for a Mediterranean flavor.
I get a Petroleum scent from this one like I would from a wine from the Texas High Plains and it has a very oily texture to it. But the flavor is light and therefore not unpleasant. (I think I like the McPherson Cellars Verde Verde better.) I had to go out and read up on this wine because I wasn’t familiar with a Vinho Verde Rosé. It seems I overpaid for the bottle (even with shipping).
The cheese, which was described as tasting like “spaghetti and meatballs” (somewhat does) flattened the wine for me. But brought out a crisp apple flavor. I actually preferred this wine with the next cheese.
2017 Monte Stella Sauvignon Blanc & Garlic Herb Bellavitano
This 100% Texas Sauvignon Blanc (aged in stainless steel) is bright, tart, citrusy and intense.
The cheese has a spicy warmth of garlic with brightness of lemon zest and earthy taste of parsely.
The cheese is like eating a combination of cheddar and parmesan – which is good because that is what it is….
No surprise this wine is from Del Valley Texas and has an intense butter flavor, despite the stainless steel aging. The cheese made it sweet and brought out the apple flavor hiding in the wine. Sauvignon Blanc is hard to grow in Texas, and this is one of the better ones I’ve had, but I think I’d have preferred a Blanc Du Bois or Vermentino with the cheese.
The Garlic Herb Bellavitano went well with the Blanc du Noirs, which is probably why two bottles came home with me.
2015 Texas Hocus Pocus Montepulciano & Pumpkin Spice Gouda
Since it’s spooky season – had to have the Hocus Pocus, which is medium-bodied with bright acidity, savory and fruity notes and balanced with medium intensity. 78% Montepulciano, 11% Syrah, 9% Sangiovese, 2% Barbera. Aged 18 months in Oak
The pumpkin spice gouda has strong nutty flavors and is a savory cheese.
Firstly, I am not fond of pumpkin spice outside of pie, but the gouda was actually really good and I could see using it as a filling for some ravioli or grated on top of a butternut squash soup. The gouda brought out the spice in the wine. Unfortunately my first impression of the wine was “putrid” but then as I had a chance to let it breathe it gave off more of a smokey/tobacco scent. It went well with the cheese, but I also liked the cheese with the Blanc du Noirs. I think the wine would go great with something a touch more savory – more in the beef category than the cheese category.
2017 Reserve Chocolate Port & Drop Dead Gourdgeous Pie (Emporium Pies)
This is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon blend that is bold and sweet with hints of black cherry and chocolate.
Pie Emporium in Downtown McKinney makes amazing pies. And this pumpkin custard pie in a gingerbread crust was no exception. The “grape wine” as it is properly labeled (don’t get me on my soap box on wine labeling and the use of the term port) has a 20% ABV and you can taste the alcohol – yet it is smooth and spicy. It really complemented the pie. But it went just as well with the Humboldt Fog. I have to note that the wine has artificial chocolate flavors added – but it really doesn’t detract from its drinkability. Just if you’re a true wine/port snob you might be offended. I was not.
Personally, the Humboldt Fog went with every wine – even the port. Maybe it was the rich & creamy texture or the delicate flavor. Either way, the table I was at joked that we could just have had five servings of Humboldt Fog and five different wines.
I didn’t really rate the wines as I went along – but I’d say most fell into the Monday-Tuesday category. But you really couldn’t go wrong with any of them for a party – especially with the right cheese.
Overall, Bianca was a great instructor/hostess and it was an amazing event. I learned a lot and enjoyed the pairings. It felt a bit rushed at times but maybe that’s just because I like to savor my wine and cheese. I’ll definitely go back with some girlfriends and if you’re local, I’d advise you to follow Lone Star Wine Cellars on Facebook or watch their website for announcements of these tastings (about twice a month).