By: Matthias Baudinet
Wine and Cheese. These are two things that go together marvelously. Being a wine fanatic myself, I consider wine and cheese two of the most enjoyable and beautiful activities that one can partake in. In France (my nation of birth), wine and cheese are two of the most consumed products among French people. Indeed, France consumes more wine per capita than any other country in the world. In terms of cheese, France produces over 700 types of different cheese–the most of any other country.
When I first saw the advertising for a wine and cheese tasting here at GMC I was extremely surprised and happy. A good friend of mine, Meezuka, organized the event by inviting two local wine and cheese experts from the region. The wine expert was a GMC graduate, class of 2012. The cheese expert has her own dairy farm in Rutland county. The school College Programming Board did an excellent job in selecting the two experts.
Before the actual event, I got the chance to talk to the two experts about the wine and cheese selected for the tasting, and about wine and cheese in general. These two women, like me, are huge wine fanatics. They live and breathe wine and cheese.
For each wine and cheese that were paired together, the wine expert would introduce the wine first. The first wine was a 2009 Chateau Saint-Michel chardonnay. Being a white wine made with a French/American hybrid oak, the wine is a stronger white wine. Stronger than your average Sauvignon Blanc, and drier than a typical Riesling, the wine was paired with a locally made Tomme Cheese. Tomme originates from the French Alps and is a hard cheese that is low-fat. The Cheese is made by the skim-milk left over from the cream used to produce butter. Hard cheeses are often paired with white wines.
The second wine was a 2012 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This red wine is a full-bodied red that is dark, dense, and usually tannic. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most recognizable red grape varieties in the world. The wine at the tasting was dark as expected, with hints of blackcurrant notes, pepperish notes, and minted notes. This wine was paired with a lighter English cheddar. The lighter cheese could absorb the strong notes from the wine. This cheddar was aged which gave it a strong after taste that was complemented by the dark and dense cabernet sauvignon.
The third wine was a locally made 2014 Putney cassis. Pure French cassis is a dessert French liqueur. In this case however, the cassis was made into a blackcurrant flavored wine. This fruity wine is usually served with desserts after a nice meal. In France, cassis wine is also served with different types of cheeses. Bleu Cheese usually being that certain cheese, it was indeed the cheese that the experts chose to be paired with the cassis. The Cassis had strong black berry and cherry notes. These fruity notes complemented the soft and fresh bleu cheese that the experts selected. Bleu cheese tends to have a strong memorable after taste. This was balanced by the fruity sensations of the cassis. This makes it so that people who do not like the after taste of bleu cheese can consume some without having to deal with that.
Overall, the event was a huge success. With over 70 participants, GMC students were able to experience and enjoy a culturally enriching wine and cheese tasting. CPB announced that they will host a beer and cheese tasting next semester. This event should be as equally popular if not more so.