Friday, March 13, 2009

Wild Wild West - Class Notes

This past Wednesday evening we held our first Wild Wild West class which featured wines and cheeses from California, Washington & Oregon. It was a small but really fun group! Here are the pairings we featured...

First Flight:
Wine: Bethel Heights Pinot Blanc (2007, Willamette Valley, OR)
Cheese: Rogue River Blue (Rogue Creamery, Salem, OR)

This was a challenging way to start a tasting - with a blue! But it worked so well with the wine that we just had to go there!

Cardwell Hill Pinot Noir (2006, Willamette Valley, OR)
Cheese: Farmstead Brindisi (Willamette Valley Cheese Co, Willamette Valley,OR)

With and all-Oregon flight, we just had to feature a pinot noir! The Oregon pinots are similar to Burgundies in style - earthy and not as sweet as those from CA. The cheese is one of our favorites and we've used it now in 2 beer pairing classes and 2 wine classes. How's that for versatile?!

Second Flight:
Mason Sauvignon Blanc (2006, Napa Valley, CA)
M. Cosentino Cabernet Franc (2006, Napa Valley, CA)
Humboldt Fog (Cypress Grove Creamery, Arcata, CA)

Who doesn't love Humboldt Fog? It's one of our most popular cheeses and with good reason. The folks up at Cypress Grove Creamery in Arcata do a fantastic job with this and the other great cheeses they produce. We paired the Fog with a tangy Sauv Blanc from Napa. It's such a versatile cheese though, it also pairs well with big reds, ports and even sticky dessert wines.

Third Flight:
Wine: “The Last Straw” Isenhower Cellars Red Blend (2006, Columbia Valley, WA)
Cheeses: 18-Mo Bandage-Wrapped (Fiscalini Farms, Modesto, CA)
Flagship Reserve (Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Seattle, WA)

This was a fun flight! We squared off two of the finest cheddars made in the US and paired them with an excellent red blend from Washington's Columbia Valley. The Beecher's Flagship Reserve is buttery and rich, with notes of caramel. The Fiscalini 18mo is more like a traditional English cheddar - rich in texture and earthy in flavor. Beecher's took top US cheddar last year at the American Cheese Society. Fiscalini won top cheddar AND best in show at the '07 World Cheese Awards. On this night, the group was split right down the middle and in the end, it was a tie.

Fourth Flight:
Wine: Qupe Syrah (2007, Central Coast, CA)
Cheese: Point Reyes Blue (Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., Point Reyes, CA)

Not only did we start with a blue, but we ended with one too - that was a first! For all you folks who think a blue is a blue is a blue - you're wrong. The Pt Reyes is tart, tangy and paired perfectly with the tooth-staining syrah from Qupe. The Rogue in the first flight would've been trampled to death by this wine.

This was a really fun class for George, me and apparently, all the students too! We look forward to meeting all you new folks at some of our upcoming classes. Check them out at


Pinch My Salt said...

The class really was a lot of fun! Nice to see that you have notes up here since I seem to have lost my sheet of paper! Looking forward to attending more classes in the future!

Mary & George Palmer said...

Glad you had a fun time! You guys helped make it a fun class for us too. And as for the notes, glad I did it right away or I'd have forgotten too!