Cheese and wine are instinctive pairing partners. At the end of the day, when I pour a glass of wine, I often raid my refrigerator for some cheese to go along with that wine. If I am entertaining, a cheese plate is often my go-to appetizer to serve my guests with that welcoming glass of wine.
The pleasure of discovering new wines to taste is equally matched with being introduced to an interesting artisan cheese or an inspiring composed cheese plate. I came across Yotam Ottolenghi’s creation of “Burrata with Grilled Grapes and Basil” (my version pictured above) in his most recent cookbook, “Ottolenghi Simple.” I couldn’t buy the ingredients fast enough to try this simple, but visually striking cheese plate. I paired this with a 2016 Jordan Chardonnay.
Browsing my local cheese shop, I was intrigued by a Georgia raw milk Tomme by Sweet Grass Dairy in Southern Georgia. The cheese inspired me to create a cheese plate with other regional Georgia products including Pine Street Market artisan Speck, and gougères made with the Sweet Grass Dairy Tomme and thyme from my garden. I paired this with a 2014 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tasting and Pairing Notes
Disclosure: I received these wines as media samples. All opinions are my own.
2016 Jordan Chardonnay, Russian River Valley Sonoma County
13.7% abv | SPR $33 (sample) | 100% Chardonnay
The wine was fermented for 13 days in 51% new French oak barrels and 49% stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation was limited to only 26%. Six weeks of sur-lie aging with a weekly bâtonnage. 5.5 months of aging in tightly grained, lightly toasted, new French oak barrels. (source)
My Tasting Notes: A medium bodied Chardonnay with balanced, refreshing acidity. On the palate notes of Asian pear, lemon/lime, flint, and baking spices. A smoothness mid palate with a lingering finish.
Cheese Plate Pairing: Burrata with Grilled Grapes and Basil – The acidity in the wine cuts through the rich, creamy center of the burrata cheese. At the same time, that creamy texture is echoed in both the cheese and wine. The basil and fennel seeds are the real bridge to the flinty elements found in the wine. The grilled grapes are not overly sweet and add a juicy element that brings harmony to the overall pairing. (recipe)
2014 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County
13.8% abv | SRP $56 (sample) | 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.7 Merlot, 5.8% Petit Verdot, 1.2% Malbec, 0.3% Cabernet Franc
The wine spent 17 days of extended maceration. Malolactic fermentation was done over 13 days in upright oak cases followed by one year in medium toasted barrels. (source)
My Tasting Notes: Medium body and tannins. On the palate notes of black currants, cherries, plums, and dried herbs. An inviting wine with good structure, balance, and a long lingering finish.
Cheese Plate Pairing: The Tomme cheese is a raw cow’s milk cheese with a natural rind, semi-soft, and aged for 60 days. The creamy texture and earthy flavors of the cheese paired well with the medium tannins and layers of flavors in the wine. Overall the cheese paired with the wine without overwhelming the nuances in the wine. The artisan Speck was a nice counterbalance to the tannins. The cheese and thyme gougères added an element to bring all the components together.
For more wine and cheese inspired pairing ideas check “The Wine Country Table” guide by Lisa Mattson of Jordan Winery here.