Malbec is a strong, fruity red wine grape. It is grown around the world, but some of the best Malbecs are made in Argentina. Malbec wines taste good with Manchego, Taleggio, and double or triple cream cheeses.
Malbec, Don Rodolfo, Argentina, 2012.
Cowgirl Creamery's Devil's Gulch
Bourdin Cheese's St. Marcelin
Beehive Cheese's Barely Buzzed
From left to right: Cowgirl Creamery's Devil's Gulch, Bourdin Cheese's St. Marcelin, Chimay's Classic, Beehive Cheese's Barely Buzzed
Cowgirl Creamery's Devil's Gulch, a soft jersey cow cheese with a bloomy rind that is dusted with dried pepper flakes from Point Reyes: Aged 4 weeks, it had a rich and smooth paste, which has a somewhat crumbly texture when cut. Sweet and spicy pepper flakes adorn the edible rind, but I didn't find that they impacted the taste much at all. Overall it was a good pairing. It provided a mild taste which complimented the Malbec nicely and added to its already rich bouquet.
Bourdin Cheese's St. Marcelin, a soft, unpasteurized, mold-ripened cow's milk cheese from France: A somewhat runny cheese with a mild and salty flavor. This cheese had a salty flavor blended well with the wine, making a delightful pairing.
Chimay's Classic, a semi-soft, beer-washed cheese from Belgium: This cheese is produced at the same monastery where the acclaimed Chimay beer is made. I noticed the beer wash, which was an unfamiliar taste to me. My colleague described the taste as sour, while I thought it was more salty. In the end, it really doesn't matter because it was not altogether pleasant, with or without the wine. I don't normally outright dislike cheeses in my reviews, and maybe it would be better if I tried it paired with Chimay beer, but if I were offered this one again I would likely refuse.
Beehive Cheese's Barely Buzzed, an espresso and lavender hand-rubbed Jersey cow's cheese from Utah: The company describes this cheese as having "subtle notes of butterscotch and caramel." These notes must have been too subtle for me to notice, but I did enjoy the interesting combination of flavors. The roasted coffee and lavender are very nice together, and they go well with a full-bodied red wine. It's a nice cheese, and the rub is really only noticeable when eating the outer part of the wheel. This cheese was interesting, and as a bonus, The Rind, my extraordinary local cheese shop and wine bar let me try Beehive's Teahive cheese, which is rubbed with a blend of black tea and pure bergamot oil. I was finished with my wine at this point so I cannot say how it paired, but it was certainly very unusual and delicious, with both notes of tea and bergamot evident.
Be sure to check out The Wine & Cheese Corner next week, for new wine & cheese pairings and reviews.
Bourdin's St. Marcellin
Chimay Beer & Cheese