Katie Nichols shares her food and wine expertise to bring you some amazing wine picks for perfect pairings with Vermont cheese.
By Katie Nichols, Cork Wine Bar (Waterbury and Stowe)
Oh, the art of wine and food. Trust me, it’s not easy.
But as we explore the world of wine, let’s take the seriousness of “perfect food pairing” with a grain of salt, and just enjoy the wine.
In this column, we have focused on a style of wine (rather than the producer), but I’ll give you a few names that will knock your ski socks off. And wait till you try the cheese…oh man!
Fresh out of Sage Farm Goat Dairy in Stowe is a cow! The newest adventure in cheese is the Spruce with its luscious, salty, creamy, unctuous center that’s so good nothing will bring you up for air—except that perfect sip of wine.
Look for a white wine with light acidity and a bit of sweetness all to balance that creaminess. A semi-dry Riesling, either from the Finger Lakes region of New York or from Germany are great options.
If you are venturing around Vermont, try to find the Vermont Vidal Blanc Late Harvest from Shelburne Vineyards. A great local semi-sweet dessert wine, this Vidal Blanc will show some stone fruit, pear, and honeysuckle — perfect to add to the Spruce. Look for Shelburne Vineyards’ wines and Sage Farm Goat Dairy cheeses at stores like the Warren Store, Mountain Cheese and Wine in Stowe and at the Killington Market.
Located in West Cornwall, about 10 miles South of Middlebury, is the 20-acre goat dairy known as Twig Farm. Recently re-released was the Twig Farm Mixed Drum made from cow’s milk of the Ayershires of Scapeland Farm and Twig Farm’s goat milk.
An interesting blended milk cheese, the Mixed Drum has bright sharp qualities of goat’s milk with a pronounced salty note followed by grassy deep earthiness from the rind. Put it with a nice medium bodied red with good fruit tones, but still slightly dry on the finish.
Newly distributed in Vermont are the Folk Machine Wines by Hobo Wine Co. from California.
For this particular cheese, Folk Machine’s take on a Rhône blend, called “A Simple Machine,” is a great pair. With its balanced fruit and soft structure it complements the earthiness of the Mixed Drum. Look for this awesome $20 bottle at Wine shops like Cork (Waterbury), Waitsfield Wine Shoppe and find the Twig Farm Cheeses at Hunger Mountain CO-OP (Montpelier).
Ever hear of Big Picture Farm? It’s described in their literature as “a Vermont goat dairy and farmstead confectionary” that is committed to producing the “finest, most delicious caramel in the world using fresh goat milk.” And now they are making cheese!
Big Picture Farm’s Sonnet is a raw milk and cellar-aged farmstead goat tomme. Only produced during the summer months, this cheese is a must for your checklist. Refined with a smooth texture, rounded out with earthy notes and a bright balanced finish, the Sonnet is a beautiful presentation of a raw goat tomme.
Enjoy it with a Loire Valley white wine with a lovely light acid, mineral note with a rounded out body. Try to find Domaine Phillip Tessier’s Cour Cheverny or Francois Pinon ‘Les Trois Argiles Vouvray. Then you can always add a caramel at the end.
Wherever you take your mountain adventures for the weekend, know that the incredible local fare of Vermont is waiting for you and the perfect pairing is your making. Say cheese!