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Wine and Cheese

“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

By Bob Lipinski

The superb 2015 vintage is described by Jancis Robinson, M.W. as “seriously impressive.” The vintage produced excellent red and white wines across the board. The red wines I tasted were loaded with heaps of ripe, concentrated fruit, good acidity and considerable flavor. The whites displayed a fine balance between fruit, acidity and alcohol. Fruit was dominant in most of the wines I tasted with a striking array of flavors.

Bob LIpinski

At a recent trade tasting featuring the 2015 Burgundies, there were more than 100 wines to taste, and although I tried my best, I couldn’t taste them all! Below are some of my tasting notes.

2015 J.J. Vincent, Pouilly-Fuissé “Marie Antoinette”: (The name a tribute to Jean Jacques Vincent’s mother, Marie Antoinette Vincent): Pale straw-colored with an abundant bouquet of almonds, green apples, and citrus. Medium-bodied and quite refined, with layers of peach, melon and minerals.

2015 Château Fuissé, Pouilly-Fuissé “Tête de Cru”: Light and quite refreshing bouquet of minerals and apples with some toasted notes. Flavor is rich, tasting of vanilla, yellow plum and citrus.

2015 Château Fuissé, Pouilly-Fuissé “Les Combettes”: Bouquet of citrus, tropical fruit and pear. In the mouth, it is refreshing, medium-bodied and balanced, with flavors of yellow plums, orange and licorice.

2015 Château Fuissé, Pouilly-Fuissé “Les Brûlés”: Light straw-colored with a light bouquet of pear, apples and citrus. A full-flavored wine tasting very much of honey, butterscotch, coconut, toasted nuts and vanilla.

2015 Billaud-Simon, Chablis “1er Cru Mont de Milieu”: Complex nose combines citrus fruit with melon notes, enticing tangerine flavor and firm acidity.

2015 Billaud-Simon, Chablis “1er Cru Vaillons”: Medium-bodied, dry, lively and clean tasting with flavors of spices, peach and orange and a minerally finish and well-balanced aftertaste.

2015 Billaud-Simon, Chablis “Vaudésir Grand Cru”: A spicy bouquet and flavor of oranges, peaches and melon, with plenty of vanilla. Clean, minerally finish and lingering aftertaste.

2015 Billaud-Simon, Chablis “Montée de Tonnerre 1er”: Refreshing aroma of oranges, peaches and citrus. Nutty with flavors of tart tangerine, melon and a sort of minerally chalky character.

2015 Armand Rousseau,“Gevrey-Chambertin”: Deeply colored with a medium-full bouquet of plums, roses, violets and citrus. Full in the mouth with tart plums and spicy cherries. Great finish.

2015 Armand Rousseau, “Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru”: Deep ruby color; full bouquet of raspberries and Marasca cherries; silky with layers of berries, light tannins and citrus. What a wine!

2015 Armand Rousseau, “Clos de la Roche Grand Cru”: Bright ruby color: bouquet of jammy spices, plums, cola and cinnamon. Almost a sweetness in the mouth with concentrated fruit, tannin and berries.

2015 Armand Rousseau, “Chambertin Grand Cru”: This wine stole the show (to me). Sweet, concentrated, jammy, spicy fruit; layers of fruit, blackberries, chocolate and damson plums.

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 [email protected]m.

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By Bob Lipinski

Quotes are like recipes for our happiness. We enjoy their wit and often cite them; they inspire us, guide us, and often make us laugh. And sometimes, we need them just to keep our sanity. Below are 20 of my favorite cheese quotes.

■ “A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.” (Clifton Fadiman, American writer and editor; New Yorker book reviewer)

■ “A dinner which ends without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.” (Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1755–1826; French politician and writer)

■ “Age is not important unless you’re a cheese.” (Helen Hayes)

■ “Apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze.” (Old English rhyme)

■ “Cheese complements a good meal and supplements a bad one.” (E. Briffault, French gastronome)

■ “Cheese has always been a food that both sophisticated and simple humans love.” (M. F. K. Fisher, “How to Cook a Wolf,” 1942)

■ “For lovers of wine or beer, cheese would have had to be invented had it not grown up with these two drinks.” (Edward and Lorna Bunyard, “The Epicure’s Companion”)

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

■ “I don’t want the cheese. I just want to get out of the trap.” (Spanish proverb)

■ “If I had a son of marriageable age, I should say to him, Beware of young women who love neither wine nor truffles nor cheese nor music.” (Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette “Colette,” 1873–1954, French novelist, “Paysages et Portraits”)

■ “Never commit yourself to a cheese without having first examined it.” (Thomas Sterns “T. S.” Eliot, 1885–1956, British poet and critic)

■ “Once we hit forty, women only have about four taste buds left: one for vodka, one for wine, one for cheese, and one for chocolate.” (Gina Barreca)

■ “The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath.” (W. C. Fields, American comic and actor, 1880–1946)

■ “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” (Stephen Wright)

■ “The only way to learn about cheese is to eat it.” (Ernest Oldmeadow, English gastronome)

■ “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” (Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 1874–1936; English poet)

■ “There were cheeses from the North, there were cheeses from the South. There were dozens of one which melted in the mouth.” (T. A. Layton)

■ “What is a harp but an oversized cheese slicer with cultural pretensions?” (Denis Norden, English comedy writer)

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

■ “You have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.” (Anthony Bourdain)

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 [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

When I remember Father’s Day, visions of barbecuing steaks, hamburgers, sausages and hot dogs over “real charcoal,” bottles of beer, platters of cold macaroni and potato salad, and of course, slices of sour dill pickles come to mind. Well, this Father’s Day I’m barbecuing, with a gas grill, shell steaks with a dry rub, Caesar salad, baked potatoes, a bottle (or two) of cabernet sauvignon, and of course, a pickle!

I like cabernet sauvignon, as do many people, because of its bouquet, body, flavor, and adaptability to most rich, full-bodied foods. Let’s spend some time exploring this globally, universally accepted red grape variety.

Cabernet sauvignon is a thick-skinned, red grape variety acknowledged worldwide as producing some of the finest dry red wines and is often referred to as the noblest of all red grape varieties. In France, it is grown principally in the Bordeaux region, although planted in other regions as well.

In 1997, Carole Meredith, a professor of enology and viticulture at the University of California at Davis, revealed cabernet sauvignon’s parentage through DNA testing. She stated that it is “150 trillion times” more likely that cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc– rather than any other varieties– were responsible for the cross-pollination leading to cabernet sauvignon’s appearance in the late seventeenth century. Cabernet sauvignon berries are quite small, with a high ration of pits and skin to pulp. By the way, around 1860, Almaden Vineyards produced California’s first commercial cabernet sauvignon wine.

Cabernet sauvignon covers a wide spectrum of aromas and flavors—asparagus, bell pepper, berries (blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, raspberry), black or green olives, black cherry, black currants, black tea, celery, chocolate, dill, licorice, mint, plum, soy, and various herbs can be detected. Some of the aromas and flavors from oak barrels are cedar, coffee, leather, sandalwood, smoke, and vanilla.

While we’re talking about cabernet and barbecuing, you can’t go wrong with a juicy New York strip or T-bone steak. Don’t forget other delights, such as grilled vegetables, portobello mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, tuna soaked in a teriyaki marinade, rack of lamb with mint chutney, veal chops smothered in rosemary, or a pizza cooked right on the grill!

Be creative this Father’s Day and serve a wedge of room temperature cheese on the plate right next to the steaks or other grilled foods. Which cheese do you ask? Let’s see…one goat (Saint-Maure, France), one cow (Monterey Jack, California), and one sheep (Feta, Greece) milk cheese.

These recommended cabernet sauvignon wines from California are available at most wine shops:
Clos Du Val, Napa
Ridge Vineyards, Santa Cruz
Hanging Vine, Central Valley
Amapola Creek, Sonoma
Gundlach-Bundschu, Sonoma
Heller Estates, Carmel Valley
Chappellet Vineyards, Napa
Black Stallion, Napa
Noble Vines 337, Lodi
HandCraft, California
Geyser Peak “Alexander Valley,” Sonoma
Artesa Winery, Napa

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written eight books, including “Italian Wine Notes” 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 at [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

“Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.” — Pearl S. Buck

When we think of Mother’s Day, images of multicolored flowers, greeting cards with heartfelt words and perhaps breakfast in bed come to mind. Platters of cheese, dried fruit and chilled glasses of wine usually are not thought of in the same breath.

Oh by the way, it wasn’t until May 9, 1914, that President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day.

Now, my idea of a Mother’s Day celebration starts several days before, shopping for the many delicacies mom will certainly love. On the shopping list should be balsamic vinegar, dried apricots and cherries (or cranberries), unsalted walnuts, green and black seedless grapes, strawberries dipped in chocolate and wines … rosé and Champagne. We also need a bouquet of multicolored flowers or perhaps several different colored rose bushes for later planting to keep Mother’s Day all summer long.

There is an old saying, “You eat and drink with your eyes” and that’s precisely where we are headed.

Regarding cheese, purchase a wedge of an orange-colored New York State cheddar, a wedge of your favorite blue cheese, a wedge of brie (bree) from France and a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy.

Regarding rosé and sparkling wines, here are my recommendations:

2014 Jaboulet Parallèle “45,” Rhône Valley, France. Blend of Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah grapes; perfumed aroma of a fruit salad, wild berries and candy apples. Light-bodied with a zesty aftertaste.

2014 Hecht & Bannier; Côtes de Provence, France. Blend of Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah grapes. Fruity bouquet of cherries, pomegranate and herbs. Clean, crisp tasting and well balanced, with hints of watermelon. Lovely finish and aftertaste.

Pol Roger Brut Rosé 2006, Champagne, France. Blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. Salmon colored with a bouquet bursting of raspberries, pomegranate and oranges. Full in the mouth with citrus, wild cherry and spices. The wine is dry, yet a fruity flavor persists to the end.

N.V. Chandon “Brut”; Napa, California. An abundance of tiny bubbles as well as an aroma and flavor of ripe wheat, toasted bread and a lemon-fresh aftertaste makes this a very enjoyable wine.

Now, let’s assemble the delicacies: On a large, flat satin-white platter, carefully plate the cheese so the various colors and shapes stand out but do not touch. Around the cheeses, arrange some green and black grapes, walnuts and dried apricots or cherries. Carefully, place two chocolate-dipped strawberries in front of each piece of cheese. Ever so lightly, drizzle about 1/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar over the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Before we invite mom to partake, be sure there are napkins, perhaps some espresso and a camera. That’s it … and say hello to mom for me!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “Italian Wine Notes” 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 at [email protected]