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Cheese

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Countless articles and books include information, charts, diagrams and so forth on how we are supposed to pair cheese with wine and which combinations are made in heaven. (I’ve had a few that were probably made in hell!) Some of the more enlightened folk even recommend and discuss pairing cheese with beer, especially with the tremendous growth of craft beers and brewpubs.

But what about pairing cheese with spirits — you know … whiskey, vodka, brandy, rum, liqueurs and even grappa? It’s really not difficult once you understand the basics of spirits and how their flavors can interact with many cheeses that same way wine does.

As with cheese and wine, your cheese and spirits should complement each other. The secret is to avoid having either overpowered by the other, and spirits with an alcoholic beverage hovering around 40 percent the task becomes greater.

Be certain to slightly chill the spirits to around 65 to 68 degrees. Higher temperatures will certainly bring the alcohol to the forefront of your nose and mouth. Choose your favorite glass, and, if you like drinking your spirits over ice, refrigerate them instead.

The spirits and cheese recommendations below are from a recent tasting I conducted:

Moletto Gin, Veneto, Italy (86 proof) Perhaps the most incredible gin I’ve ever encountered! Yes, the familiar juniper berry notes along with rosemary, mint, basil and hint of citrus are there, but the kicker is an initial burst of fresh tomatoes! This gin was macerated for 45 days with San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. Recommended cheeses: Bel Paese, Boulette d’Avesnes, Leyden or mozzarella.

Moletto Grappa di Arneis, Italy (80 proof) Bouquet and flavor of spicy cherries, dried flowers, herbs, spices and dried fruits. Subtle hints of black pepper, raisins and apricot are present in the aftertaste. Recommended cheeses: Creamy Gorgonzola, herbed cheese, Gouda or Montasio.

Le Reviseur “V.S.” Single Estate, Cognac France (80 proof) A full, warming bouquet and flavor of dried fruits (raisins, dates, cherries), along with spices and dark berries. Hints of chocolate and plums are present in an ultra-smooth taste. Recommended cheeses: brie, Camembert, Livarot or Roquefort.

Laird’s “Straight Apple Brandy” New Jersey (100 proof) A brandy made from about 20 pounds of apples and aged around three years in charred oak barrels. An intense aroma of cider, baked apples, cloves and vanilla. Warming in the mouth with hints of honey, caramel and spices and a smooth finish. The aftertaste remains for some time. Recommended cheeses: Bondon, cheddar, Petit-Suisse or Pont l’Évêque.

Charles Goodnight “Bourbon,” 6 years old, Kentucky (100 proof) A heady bouquet of oak, caramel, smoky tobacco and vanilla. Warming flavors of spices, coconut and toasted almonds. Surprisingly smooth with an aftertaste of honey. Recommended cheeses: Asiago, Kefalotyri, Monterey Jack or Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or bkjm@hotmail.com.

Full-fat and low-fat cheeses are no better for you than refined grains. Stock photo

By David Dunaief, M.D.

We are constantly redefining or at least tweaking our diets. We were told that fats were the culprit for cardiovascular disease (CVD). That the root cause was saturated fats, specifically. However, a recent study showed the sugar industry had a strong influence on the medical and scientific communities in the 1960s and 1970s, influencing this perception (1).

Why is this all important? Well, for one thing, about one out every two “healthy” 30-year-olds in the United States will most likely develop CVD in their lifetime (2). This is a sobering statistic. For another, CVD is still the reigning notorious champion when it comes to the top spot for deaths in this country. Except, this disease is preventable, for the most part.

What can prevent CVD? You guessed it, lifestyle modifications, including changes in our diet, exercise and smoking cessation. There is no better demonstration of this than what I refer to as the “new” China Study, which was done through the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. I call it “new,” because T. Colin Campbell published a book in 2013 with the same name pertaining to the benefits of the Chinese diet in certain provinces. However, the wealthier China has become in the last few decades by opening its borders, the more it has adopted a Western hemisphere-type lifestyle, and the worse its health has become overall. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, results show that over 20 years the rate of CVD has increased dramatically in China, and it is likely to continue worsening over time (3). High blood pressure, elevated “bad” cholesterol LDL levels, blood glucose (sugars), sedentary lifestyle and obesity were the most significant contributors to this rise. In 1979 about 8 percent of the population had high blood pressure, but by 2010, more than one-third of the population did.

Does this sound familiar? It should, since this is due to adopting a Western-type diet. The researchers highlighted increased consumption of red meat and soda, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and, unlike us, half the population still smokes. But you can see just how powerful the effects of lifestyle are on the world’s largest population. There were 26,000 people and nine provinces involved.

Cardiologist embraces fat

We are going to focus on one area, diet. What is the most productive diet for preventing cardiovascular disease? In a recent New York Times article, entitled “An Unconventional Cardiologist Promotes a High-Fat Diet,” published on Aug. 23, 2016, the British cardiologist suggests that we should embrace fats, including saturated fats (4). He has bulletproof coffee for breakfast, with one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of coconut oil added to his coffee. He also promotes full-fat cheese as opposed to low-fat cheese. These are foods that contain 100 percent saturated fats. He believes dairy can protect against heart disease. Before you get yourself in a lather, either in agreement or in disgust, let’s look at the evidence.

The Cheesy Study

Alert! Before you read any further, know that this study was sponsored by the dairy industry in Denmark. Having said this, this study would presumably agree with the unconventional cardiologist. The results showed that full-fat cheese was equivalent to low-fat cheese and to carbohydrates when it came to blood chemistries for cardiovascular disease, as well as to waist circumference (5). These markers included cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, fasting glucose levels and insulin. There were three groups in this study: those who consumed three ounces of full-fat cheese, low-fat cheese or refined bread and jam. The authors suggested that full-fat cheese may be part of a healthy diet. This means we can eat full-fat cheese, right? NOT SO FAST.

The study was faulty. The control arm was refined carbohydrates. And since both cheeses had similar results to the refined carbohydrates, the more appropriate conclusion is that full-fat and low-fat cheeses are no better for you than refined grains.

What about dairy fat?

In a meta-analysis (involving three studies — the Professional Follow-Up Study and the Nurses’ Health Studies 1 and 2), the results refute the claim that dairy fat is beneficial for preventing CVD (6). The results show that substituting a small portion of energy intake from dairy fat with polyunsaturated fats results in a 24 percent reduction in CVD risk. And doing the same with vegetable fats in replacement of dairy fat resulted in a 10 percent reduction in risk. Dairy fat was slightly better when compared to other animal fat.

This meta-analysis involved observational studies with a duration of at least 20 years and involving more than 200,000 men and women. There needs to be a large randomized controlled trial. But, I would not rush to eat cheese, whether it was the full-fat or low-fat variety. Nor would I drink bulletproof coffee anytime soon.

Saturated fat: not so good

In a recent meta-analysis (involving three studies run by the Harvard School of Public Health), replacing just 5 percent of saturated fats with both mono- and polyunsaturated fats resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of mortality, 27 and 13 percent, respectively (7). This is a blow to the theory that saturated fats are not harmful to your health. Also, the highest quintile of poly- and monounsaturated fat intake, compared to lowest, showed reductions in mortality that were significant, 19 and 11 percent, respectively. Again, this is an observational conglomeration of studies, using the same studies as with the dairy results above. This analysis suggests that the unconventional cardiologist’s approach is not the one you want to take.

The good news diet!

Here is the good news diet. In a recent randomized controlled trial (RCT), the gold standard of studies, results showed that high levels of polyphenols reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (8). Polyphenols are from foods such as vegetables, fruits, berries especially and, yes, chocolate. The researchers divided the study population into two groups, high and low polyphenol intake. The biomarkers used for this study were endothelial (inner lining of the blood vessel) dependent and independent vasodilators. The more dilated the blood vessel, the lower the hypertension and the lower the CVD risk. These patients had hypertension, a risk factor for CVD. Those who consumed high levels of polyphenols had higher levels of nutrients such as carotenoids and vitamin C in their blood.

Is fish useful?

In a study, results show that eating a modest amount of fish decreases the risk of death from CVD by more than one-third (9). What is a modest amount? Consume fish once or twice a week. You want to focus on fish that are rich in omega 3s — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These are fatty fish with plenty of unsaturated fats, such as salmon. Thus, more of a Mediterranean-style diet, involving fruits and vegetables, as well as mono- and polyunsaturated fats in the forms of olive oil, nuts, avocado and fish may reduce the risk of CVD, while a more traditional American diet, with lots of pure saturated fats and refined carbohydrates may have the opposite effect. The reason we can’t say for sure that pure saturated fat should be avoided is that there has not been a large randomized controlled trial. However, many studies continually point in this direction.

References: (1) JAMA Intern Med. online Sept. 12, 2016. (2) Lancet. 2014;383(9932):1899-1911. (3) J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016;68(8):818-833. (4) NYTimes.com. (5) Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;104(4):973-981. (6) Am J Clin Nutr. Online Aug. 24, 2016. (7) JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(8):1134-1145. (8) Heart. 2016;102(17):1371-1379. (9) JAMA. 2007;297(6):590.

Dr. Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit www.medicalcompassmd.com or consult your personal physician.

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Brie is a very versatile cheese and pairs nicely with a multitude of wines. Stock photo

By Bob Lipinski

“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”  — Charles de Gaulle, 1890–1970, President of France, 1962 speech

According to popular legend, Emperor Charlemagne supposedly first tasted Brie in around 774 at a monastery and fell in love with its creamy flavors and inviting texture. There are stories that put Brie’s beginnings several hundred years earlier, but those cannot be proven.

At the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) a jury of ambassadors each brought a cheese from their respective countries for a judging. France’s statesman, Talleyrand, brought Brie and after a vote, the conference delegates proclaimed it the King of Cheeses.

Brie, which is a double-crème, cow’s milk cheese is made in the French province of Brie, in the department of Seine-et-Marne, northeast of Paris, although it is also made in the United States and other countries. Brie is similar to Camembert (France), Coulommiers (France), Crèma Danica (Denmark) and Paglia (Italy).

The term Brie covers a small family of cheeses, which carry the name of the town or village where they are made. The finest Brie is generally considered to be Brie de Meaux while another variety is Brie de Melun.

Prior to aging, the small or large wheels of cheese are washed with a salt brine, then rubbed or sprayed with a culture of pure-white mold spores. After that, the cheeses are taken to the curing room for many months of aging. Brie has a thin, edible, white rind, with a creamy yellow interior.

When Brie begins to get old, the white rind turns brown and an odor of ammonia can be detected. Its texture is soft and smooth, almost honey-like, but definitely not runny. It is mild to pungent tasting with hints of mushrooms, cognac, heavy cream, nuts and even truffles. After one hour or so opened at room temperature, Brie becomes runny with a buttery and earthy flavor and is quite spreadable. It is sometimes flavored with herbs, peppers and mushrooms.

I generally serve Brie at room temperature, and for guests, with the aid of a sharp knife, I remove the top rind and immediately brush the cheese with lemon juice. Next I spread a thin layer of apricot or peach preserves, followed by raisins previously soaked in white wine, in the center. Spread slivered almonds or pecans in a circular fashion around the raisins. Place in a 425 F oven for approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with crackers.

Brie is a very versatile cheese and pairs nicely with a multitude of wines including some reds — Beaujolais, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, merlot, pinot noir and zinfandel. White wines include chardonnay, chenin blanc, Gewürztraminer, riesling and sauvignon blanc. Let’s not forget Champagne and sparkling wines.

Two New York State Finger Lakes wines I recently paired with Brie were:

Standing Stone 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon: Bright ruby colored with aromas of wild cherry, red candy and spicy blueberries. Should develop into a stunning wine.

Standing Stone 2014 Dry Vidal: Vidal is a white French hybrid of Ugni Blanc and Rayon d’Or, developed in 1929 by Jean-Louis Vidal. The wine has an aroma of grapefruit, kiwi and peaches. It has plenty of acidity, which keeps it clean and crisp tasting. Definitely one of the best dry Vidal wines I have encountered!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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The caprese salad pairs tomatoes and basil with fresh mozzarella. Stock photo

“Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures.” — M.F.K. Fisher, “Vin et Fromage”

By Bob Lipinski

Before we start on our mozzarella journey, it’s important to note its correct pronunciation (mohtz-ah-REHL-lah). Now, this stringy, elastic, slightly salty cheese that often smothers pizza is not indicative of true mozzarella. In fact, this mozzarella is usually specially made for pizzerias.

In 1899, Giuseppe Pollio came to the United States bringing with him a recipe for success . . . his family’s old world tradition of making mozzarella. The company is Polly-O, which also makes a “string cheese” mozzarella.

Now, the mozzarella I’m going to discuss and pair with wine and fruit is the freshly made cheese, often found still warm, in the Italian neighborhood latticini (store that makes dairy products).

The making of mozzarella dates back to the 1400s in southern Italy, but it wasn’t until the 16th century that the white buffalo, descendants of the Indian water buffalo, were brought to Campania. The buffaloes are bred in Campania, Italy, and their low-yield milk is utilized in making mozzarella, although cow’s milk is used in most other countries. In addition to Campania, the cheese is also made in other Italian regions such as Apulia, Latium and Molise, and in 1996 it was awarded its own PDO by the Italian government and called Mozzarella di Bufala Campana.

The name “mozzarella” is derived from the word “mozzare,” which means “to top off or cut,” referring to the hand method of production. When freshly made, the cheese drips profusely with whey. A smoked version, called “mozzarella affumicata,” is also produced. Mozzarella is rindless with a creamy white exterior and interior. Various shapes and sizes including round, rectangular and salami-shaped are available. When twisted or braided it’s called “treccia.”

Mozzarella is soft, moist, and quite pliable, sometimes almost elastic, hence the popularity of “string cheese” sticks. It has a mild, delicate and slightly tart-sour flavor.

When pairing mozzarella, look for young red or white light-bodied, fruity wines that don’t overpower the cheese.

Regarding food, I like to use mozzarella in the classic salad of Capri, Italy, known as caprese. Purchase some freshly made mozzarella (there is some mail-order buffalo milk mozzarella available, but it needs to be eaten within two or three days). Now, a simple overlapping of similar sized, thinly sliced tomatoes and mozzarella sandwiched between pieces of fresh basil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then lightly drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and perhaps a delicate touch of a high-quality balsamic vinegar. The simplicity of the cheese makes all the difference in this dish.

When pairing mozzarella, look for young red or white light-bodied, fruity wines that don’t overpower the cheese. Some of the red wines I happen to like from Italy include Barbera, Bardolino, brachetto, dolcetto, sangiovese, and Valpolicella. White wines from Italy would be Frascati, Gavi, pinot bianco, pinot grigio, soave and verdicchio.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits, and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

Patrick Ambrosio stands with his cheeses inside The Crushed Olive in Huntington. Photo from Patrick Ambrosio

The Crushed Olive in Huntington has long been a destination for residents with an adventurous palate — now it is a haven for cheese lovers as well.

Huntington’s Patrick Ambrosio, 59, opened Le Bon Fromage in April. Located inside specialty olive oil shop The Crushed Olive, Le Bon Fromage features local and international fresh, cut-to-order, artisan cheeses. Ambrosio is the resident professional cheesemonger, a title he has held for about 20 years.

“I always wanted to do something like this here,” he said in an interview last week. “I’m excited to bring some good cheese to the Huntington community.”

Ambrosio grew up in East Northport. By the time he was 30, he attended culinary school and spent time living in California, working as a chef at a winery and a cheesemonger at a restaurant.

Some of the many cheeses for sale. Photo by Alex Petroski
Some of the many cheeses for sale. Photo by Alex Petroski

All the while, Ambrosio said opening a business like Le Bon Fromage was in the back of his mind. He decided to give it a shot for a number of reasons, most important of which was to be able to spend more time with his wife, Gale, and his 7-year-old son, Ethan.

Ambrosio said he understands cheese, especially those with foreign names and unusual smells or textures that can be intimidating for eaters. He said his goal is to be approachable and informative.

“That’s the fun part of cheese, you take people on a little journey with it,” the cheesemonger said. “I very much believe in the products I represent. I’ve been doing this for close to 20 years now. I live in Huntington and I kind of want to bring that to Huntington.”

Ambrosio acknowledged apprehension from shoppers who are becoming more and more concerned with what they are feeding their families.

“There’s a whole growing market of people who don’t care if it’s a little bit more [money]; they want to know how it’s produced,” he said. “I do have some organic cheeses but while most of them may not be organic, they’re produced to a standard that is better, almost.”

That’s not to say Le Bon Fromage’s prices are hard to swallow.

Ambrosio’s goal is to offer styles and flavors that are not necessarily the norm for the American consumer. His favorite, though he said it’s difficult to choose just one, is the French Comté Marcel Petite.

“I’ve tried to put a good cross section of cheeses together,” Ambrosio said. Le Bon Fromage also offers various salamis from American producers.

The response to Le Bon Fromage during its short run has been positive, if reviews on the shop’s Facebook page are to be believed. One shopper called it “an amazing gem in the heart of Huntington village.” Another complimented Ambrosio, saying, “You won’t find a more knowledgeable purveyor of cheese.”

The cheese expert said he takes care to make sure customers enjoy every part of shopping at Le Bon Fromage.

“I think a big part of it is you have to provide an interesting and good shopping experience for people, and that’s intangible. You don’t take [that] home and you don’t eat it, but that’s part of the experience too.”

Le Bon Fromage and The Crushed Olive are located at 278 Main St. in Huntington.

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By Bob Lipinski

The Super Bowl, the final battle between the best football teams in the AFC and NFC will take place this year on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016.

Typically, a Super Bowl party consists of beer, dips, chips, salsa, hot dogs and more beer. I have some suggestions for a great Super Bowl party, but first let’s go back in history to the first Super Bowl game. On Jan. 15, 1967, the first Super Bowl was played. The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs by the score of 35 to 10. The game was played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the attendance was 61,946. The MVP of the game was quarterback Bart Starr. Now on to the party.

My suggestion for a “super” Super Bowl begins with setting up the television room. Grab a roll of masking or duct tape and place a length on the rug separating the room in half (one for each team) so guests can choose which side of the room they will sit and root for their team. No co­ mingling is allowed!

The food is next; one six-foot (or two three-feet) “super” heroes puts the work, care and decision making on your local deli. If a hero is not in the cards, consider making a six- to eight-pound pork shoulder in a slow cooker, creating “pulled pork” sandwiches with plenty of barbecue sauce. Another food option is a steeping hot pot of chili, made with beef cubes, red kidney beans and plenty of hot sauce. Although lasagna is not necessarily thought of for Super Bowl, it’s hearty, can be enjoyed warm or even cool, fairly easy to make, most people love it and it “goes a long way.” The last food item entails taking out your old fondue pot and making a cheese fondue, with plenty of crusty bread (and perhaps vegetables) for dipping. You can even melt chocolate instead of cheese for the sweet lovers.

Beer, an integral part of Super Bowl can be purchased from your local brewpub, beer distributor or brewery in large growlers, beer balls or even a half-­keg, which has a capacity of 7.75 gallons or about 82 (12­-ounce) drinks.

Although there’s nothing like a “cold frosty one” while watching football, I enjoy wine before, during and even after the game. Because it’s a Super Bowl and everything is large, why not shop for large-format wine bottles, ones that contain three ­liters (also known as a double magnum or Jeroboam), 101 ounces or the equivalent of four bottles, or perhaps a five ­liter, containing 169 ounces or about 6.5 bottles. Virtually every wine shop (or liquor store) sells them, and most will have an assortment of both reds and whites, priced accordingly. Before purchasing large bottles of white wine, be certain you have a container or location large enough to chill it.

There you have it … now let’s hope your team wins!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know about Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila.” He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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What could be more alluring than a glass of whiskey on the rocks or an arctic cold martini in a Y-shaped glass adorned with several pimento-filled green olives?

Although I love an ice cold martini and certainly a glass of whiskey with ice, a glass of brandy on a cold winter day certainly is a great body heat rejuvenator. Smelling its rich, fiery, heavily perfumed bouquet and its smooth, velvet-like texture and luxurious aftertaste beckons a second glass.

“Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven.” — W. C. Fields, 1880–1946, American comic and actor

To make this holiday season really festive, I’ve included a list of some of my favorite spirits (that will hopefully become yours).

Laird’s Applejack, made in Scobeyville, New Jersey, since 1780. It is an apple brandy, dry and full of rich apple flavors. I like it either in a brandy snifter or sometimes on the rocks while listening to relaxing music.

Auchentoshan “Three-Wood” Single-Malt Scotch Whiskey from the Lowlands. It has been aged in three different wood types: Bourbon, Spanish Oloroso Sherry, and finally Pedro Ximénez sherry barrels. Spectacular flavor.

Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky. On its label there is a black Scottish terrier “Scottie” and a white West Highland dog “Westie.” I have been enjoying this Scotch for decades.

Campari from Italy. Campari, which is bright red, has a bouquet and taste of bitter orange, cherry, ginger, lemon, licorice, orange zest and strawberry, with a bittersweet aftertaste.

Drambuie Liqueur from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. It was first produced in 1745, from a blend of Scotch whisky and heather honey-based liqueur. Its classic cocktail, called a Rusty Nail, consists of equal parts of Drambuie and Blended Scotch Whisky.

Zubrówka Vodka from Poland and other Slavic countries. It has a yellow-green tinge and a distinctive smell and taste of spring flowers, thyme, lavender and freshly mown grass, which is derived from various botanicals that have been added.

Chartreuse “Green” Liqueur. This world-famous liqueur was originally formulated in 1605, in Grenoble, France, by St. Bruno. Licorice and flower aromas, with sweet herbal notes. Sweet middle and finish, with flavors of herbs, licorice, white pepper and burnt flowers. Very elegant and well made.

Baker’s 7-year-old Bourbon. Baker’s Bourbon is 107 proof and is very aromatic with a sweet, smooth, medium finish. It has a warm amber, tawny, nut-brown color with a bouquet of fruit, caramel and vanilla. It tastes of toasted nuts, fruit and sugar-vanilla, with a silky texture. The aftertaste is warming and sweet, with a medium-long aftertaste.

Hine Antique XO Cognac. Created in 1920 by George Hine. The taste is mellow and supple with a wealth of sustained flavors, floral nuances, hints of honey, leather and a pronounced taste of vanilla, carried by finesse and endurance. Velvety smooth and extremely elegant.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

The Pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving Day in the autumn of 1621 to celebrate their first successful harvest season. Thanksgiving signifies family, food, drink, fun, history, and tradition, all wrapped up into one mid-week day.

Before you roast the turkey, check out my two cooking tips:

1) Roast the turkey with the back side up (except for the last hour of roasting). Fat from the fat glands in the back will melt and baste the turkey during roasting.

“Fill every beaker up, my men, pour forth the cheering wine: There’s life and strength in every drop, thanksgiving to the vine!”

— Albert Gorton Greene, 1802–1868, American judge and poet

2) Truss up the Thanksgiving turkey with dental floss. It’s cheap, it’s sturdy and it’s easy to work with. Just be sure you use unwaxed and unflavored floss.

Turkey is inherently dry, especially when overcooked, unless brined or basted. Before I recommend a few wines, let’s give some thought to what we often spread over or eat with pieces of turkey.

I hope that you said cranberry sauce! Cranberry sauce is sweet and tart, offering moisture, flavor and a berry character to the turkey. Therefore, we want to pair turkey with dry or even off-dry red, white, and rosé wines, providing they have plenty of fruit. My wine suggestions for Thanksgiving are:

Whites
◆ 2011 Cairdean Napa Valley “Unoaked” Chardonnay; California
◆ 2014 Rapitalà “Piano Maltese” (blend of Catarratto and Grillo grapes); Sicily, Italy
◆ 2014 Re Manfredi “Bianco” (blend of Müller-Thurgau and Traminer grapes) Basilicata, Italy
◆ 2014 Bodega El Esteco “Don David” Torrontés; Cafayate Valley, Argentina

Reds
◆ 2013 Elena Walch “Lagrein;” Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
◆ 2013 Amity “Pinot Noir;” Willamette Valley, Oregon
◆ 2012 Bethel Heights “Pinot Noir” Estate Black Label; Willamette Valley, Oregon
◆ 2013 Castello Banfi “Rosso di Montalcino;” Tuscany, Italy

If you like rosé wines, my recommendation would be a bottle of 2014 Maison Belle Claire Rosé, from Provence, France. It is light, dry and very refreshing, with considerable fruit and a pleasing hint of cranberry.

After the feast, complete your Thanksgiving holiday with a tumbler filled with ice and a heavy dose of Wild Turkey bourbon whiskey from Kentucky.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple,” available on Amazon.com. He conducts training seminars on wine & cheese; sale;, time management; and leadership. He can be reached at boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

Burgundy, a historic wine-producing region of France, is located in the central eastern part of the country just southeast of Paris. Burgundy is one of France’s six major wine-producing regions, making red and white dry wines, along with dry sparkling wines. Most red wines are produced from pinot noir grapes and most white wines are produced from chardonnay grapes. Approximately 80 percent of wine produced there is red.

Burgundy has a lengthy wine-making history that dates back nearly 2000 years. Some of the world’s most famous wine villages and vineyards are located in Burgundy, and many can trace their origins back to the Christian monks of the Middle Ages. One district of great importance is the Côte d’Or or the “golden slope” of Burgundy. It is divided into two sectors: the Côte de Nuits (north) and the Côte de Beaune (south).

I recently had the opportunity to taste the wines of Domaine Faiveley located in the Côte de Nuits, which was founded in 1825 by Pierre Faiveley. The winery owns approximately 330 acres of vineyards and produces nearly 50, dry red and white wines. My tasting notes follow:

“The first duty of wine is to be red. The second is to be a Burgundy.” — Alec Waugh, 1898–1981, British novelist, “In Praise of Wine,” 1959

2013 Bourgogne Blanc: Clean, crisp bouquet of pineapple and citrus. Overtones of almonds and green apple in the mouth.

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin: Deep cherry-colored with a full, rich bouquet and flavor of black cherry, black currant and spices; powerful and structured with a firm tannic backbone and ever-present earthy notes.

2013 Mercurey Blanc: Light yellow in color with a bouquet and taste of citrus, apples and butter. A sort of minerally flavor is present with a great finish and lingering aftertaste.

2013 Meursault “1er Cru Blagny”: Light lemon color with a fresh bouquet of grass, almonds, lemons and green apples. Light-bodied with a pleasing flavor of pineapple, lime and pear.

2013 Nuits-Saint-Georges “1er Cru Aux Chaignots”: Ruby-colored with a bouquet of blackberry, blueberry, violets and cedar. Dry, medium-bodied with plenty of fruit, hints of black pepper and oak.

Burgundy also produces some fine cheeses, most of which are considered farmhouse with strong, rustic aromas and flavors. Recommendations are:

Aisy Cendré: A thin disk-shaped cow’s milk cheese with a creamy white interior and soft texture. It is very strong smelling with a tangy flavor. The cheese is cured with marc and then stored in grapevine ashes (or cendré) until it matures.

Bleu de Bresse: A cow’s milk cheese with a dusty, white exterior, sometimes foil wrapped. Small wheels or cylinders with a velvety and creamy texture. In 1950, Bleu de Bresse was developed to compete with the Italian gorgonzola.

Bouton-de-Culotte: A goat’s milk cheese from the Mâcon area. It is made into shapes resembling “trouser buttons,” which is soft when young but becomes dry and crumbly with age. It has a grayish-brown exterior with blue specks and a pale yellow interior, with a strong peppery and nutty flavor.

Époisses de Bourgogne: A cow’s milk cheese with an orange-brown, edible rind (which is washed in white wine or marc); pale yellow interior; disk-shaped. It has a strong, spicy, pungent, tangy flavor, sometimes flavored with black pepper, cloves or fennel. When aged, hints of ammonia arise. The cheese has been made in the small town of Époisses since the late 1700s.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine & cheese; sales, time management and leadership. He can be reached at boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

“A waltz and a glass of wine invite an encore.”
— Johann Strauss, 1804–1849

Although archeological evidence dates wine making and grape growing in Austria back thousands of years, its wines have always been overshadowed by those of Germany. Austria’s four major grape-growing regions are Burgenland, Niederösterreich, Vienna and Styria — each producing dry red and white wines, as well as semisweet and sweet whites, and even some very fine sparkling wines.

The major grape varieties are (whites) Grüner Veltliner, Müller-Thurgau, Welschriesling, Riesling and Weissburgunder (pinot blanc). Red grape varieties include Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Blauer Portugieser.

At a recent press event, I had the opportunity to taste the wines of Stadlmann, a winery that dates back to 1780, located in Thermenregion, Lower Austria. My tasting notes follow:

2014 Gruner Veltliner: A dry white wine with a spicy, fruity aroma with a flavor of green apples, citrus and grapefruit.

2014 Zierfandler: A dry white wine with a fruity aroma of oranges and peaches, with hints of citrus, honey and spices.

2014 Rotgipfler “Anninger”: A dry white wine with a subtle aroma of apples and pears; light-bodied with a fruit flavor of apricots and peaches.

2013 Rotgipfler “Tagelsteiner”: A dry white wine with an intense aroma of apricots and melon. Flavors of mint, green olive and pears abound.

2013 Pinot Noir Classic: Crimson-colored with a distinctive bouquet and taste of blueberry, cranberry and wild cherries. Dry and soft in the mouth with flavors of cola, dried fruits, plums and spices.

While Austria produces many cheeses, most, unfortunately are not imported. I have three cheeses below, which can be found (not in a supermarket) in cheese shops that will easily pair with any of the above wines. Before serving the cheese, allow it to sit for 30 minutes to one hour at room temperature, which will soften the texture, release the aromas and maximize the flavor.

Mondseer: A soft, disk-shaped, cow’s milk cheese with a yellow-tan exterior and yellow interior with few irregular holes. It has a very pungent and robust flavor, and, when sold in small wooden boxes, it is known as Mondseer Schachtelkäse. It was first made in Salzburg in 1830 and named after the monastery of Mondsee.

Saint Michael: A wheel-shaped, cow’s milk cheese with a brown rind and no internal holes. It is smooth-textured with a pleasant, but mild flavor.

Tiroler Graukäse: A most unusual cow’s milk cheese made from sour-milk curds that are washed with Penicillium mold during the ripening period. Square-shaped with a gray exterior and a very strong, pungent odor and very sharp, piquant, tangy, sour taste. Graukäse translated means “gray cheese.”

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.