How To Taste, Pair Wine and Cheese for National Wine and Cheese Day

  1. Wine.
  2. Cheese.
  3. Wine.

That is the secret to tasting wine and cheese! It may seem ridiculously obvious but it works!

Sue and I learned the secret of “wine, cheese, wine” and more during a tasting of three wines from Niven Family along with a selection of cheese and pate from Fromagerie Sophie, a lovely little cheese shop nestled in delightful downtown San Luis Obispo on tiny Garden Street that carries cheeses, meats, pate, and other incredible imported goodies from around the globe. We love our cheese and wines so what a perfect stop on our recent SLO county adventure!

Because July 25 is National Wine and Cheese Day, it’s perfect for a primer on how to taste wine with cheese– and some ideas of what cheeses to try with three different wines. (Here’s what we did last year: vegetarian Italian cheesy cuisine paired with Italian wine!)

How to taste cheese with wine or food according to Paul at Fromagerie Sophie:

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SLO Brew, Rock, Lofts: Little Bit Country, Little Bit Rock n Roll

Sue and I creekside in San Luis Obispo NOT drinking wine but a signature whiskey cocktail from SLO Brew using their own whiskey which you can get in a drink OR you can buy if you stay in the Loft!

When Sue and I drove north on the 101 through a smoky Santa Barbara for our summer San Luis Obispo County getaway, we had appointments at wineries and a cheese shop plus one place to stay lined up for our three nights away. Little did we know what adventures awaited — including BEER and whiskey! In fact, we had a bit of a BEER-CATION!

Because it just so happened that SLO Brew Lofts had space for us to stay there our first night on the road!

We had visited SLO Brew when they first opened in their new creek side location and we knew we had to come back when it was more established– and to check out the Lofts which opened a few months later,  and the Distillery which has its grand opening tomorrow, Sat. July 22.

 

A year later, the new SLO Brew location is a rockin’ spacious, hip, happening, and happy spot along the creek pedestrian path with live music most evenings until 2am. The new luxurious Lofts located above will make you feel like a rock star!  And the Distillery? Well it literally ROCKS as you will see as you keep reading! And, being creekside, it’s a little bit country too!  Continue reading

Finding and Pairing Wine, Cheese, and Spirits from SouthWest France for French #Winophiles

map of southwest France from Wikipedia

This month’s French #Winophiles challenge is to find, taste, and write about wine from the Southwest region of France — or in French,  Sud-Ouest. Like the name suggests, the region is located in the southwest of France: south of the more famous Bordeaux and west of the lesser known Languedoc.

We found several yummy cheeses from South West France at Fromagerie Sophie! Pictured: owners, educators, cheesemongers Paul and Sophie

According to Wikipedia, Romans cultivated wine grapes there long before Bordeaux!

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Getting to know Napa: Bison BBQ, Rombauer Atlas and Stice Cabs + Conn Creek Atlas Rose! #WinePW

Who doesn’t love summer time suppers spent outdoors in the backyard with family and friends and a glass of fine wine?? Continue reading

Our New Favorite Summer Wine: Lambrusco! #ItalianFWT

As we wrote about on Lambrusco Day June 21, Lambrusco has gotten a bad rap. Just like any other varietal, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

(Although technically Lambrusco isn’t so much a specific varietal as it is a family of 60 some wines that gather under the banner of Lambrusco must like moscato has a number of distinct wines all called moscato.)

Unfortunately for Lambrusco, there’s been too much ugly. Fortunately for us all, there’s a movement afoot to help us discover REAL Lambrusco — a delightful, fizzy fun beverage that — and this really surprised us– pairs really well with Italian food!

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June is Idaho Wine Month featuring Koenig’s Viognier and LH Riesling

 

 In our on-going series on wine from Idaho, today, the final day of June’s Idaho Wine Month,  we’re featuring two wines from Koenig which Sue visited last summer. While Sue is typically a red wine gal, this is the second Viognier she bought on her trip there (see our notes about Williamson’s Viognier here). The 2014  Koenig late harvest riesling was sent as part of a case of twelve wines from 12 wineries.

While Idaho is a region where wine grapes have been grown since the 1860s, Prohibition along with other agricultural opportunities led to that industry’s demise but today it is an up and coming region where vinters are exploring and experimenting to see what works best where. Read more about the climate and terroir here.

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Idaho Wine Month Part 1 featuring Williamson’s Sangiovese and Viognier

When people think of wine, they think Napa, or California, Washington, Oregon or New York because these are the regions of the US that make the most wine that is the most readily available in retail markets.

But wine is actually made in all 50 states! And some of it is actually very good! In January, we wrote about a wine from New Jersey, and I really like the wines I’ve tasted from Colorado.

And when I was at the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, there were a few wines from Idaho so when we traveled to Yellowstone in 2011, we bought and enjoyed Idaho wines with our meals, and I made a point of visiting a few wineries along the Snake River as well. I was very impressed with the quality and the prices were amazing.

Surprised there is great wine in Idaho? One former potato farmer now vinter told me in 2011 that if the weather is right to grow potatoes, you can grow grapes — the most important element each needs is significant diurnal variation — hot during the day and cold at night.

Idaho’s cold winters allow vines to go dormant, rid plants of bugs, and discourages disease. Summer time’s cold nights cool the grapes which balances the acids with the sugars that come as the grapes ripen during the long, hot, sunny days: in a 24 hours period, temperatures can fluctuate between 30-40 degrees!  Along the Snake River, the days are HOT but at night they cool down to very pleasant temperatures in the 50s.

Another factor is DIRT: Idaho’s rich, volcanic soils have attracted grape growers for over 150 years. Because southern Idaho offers ideal growing conditions, it was one of the first places in the west to have a thriving wine industry — that is until Prohibition snuffed it out and other crops took its place. Continue reading