Sunday, January 31, 2010

16 Wines, 8 Cheeses, 1 Night

A few weeks ago, I went back to the NYC Wine Class to build upon my 101 knowledge from August. This time I took Rob with me, since the focus on this wine class weighed a little bit more heavily on the cheese (and who likes cheese more than Rob?). While I didn't think the wines were necessarily better than the 101 class (actually, I'd say it was the opposite) we got to try quite a variety of red, white and sparkling wines from all over the world.

I didn't really note this in my Wine 101 post earlier, but this class is really excellent in a lot of ways. First, they really take care of you here. If you like a particular wine, they'll bring you more. If you finish your water or fresh bread, they'll bring you more before you even have a chance to ask. If it's obvious that you're enjoying the cheeses, they'll bring you a second plate. And Andrew, the instructor, is so nice, so knowledgeable and so accommodating. He clearly knows his stuff but never appears to be even slightly condescending to anyone's questions (and people do ask some weird ones). AND it's only $90 for three hours of educational pampering! You can't beat it.
And now, without any further ado, here's the class breakdown:

Going clockwise from the top:

1) A dense, chalky goat cheese from France (Chabichou du Poutou) paired with a champagne and prosecco. I really liked the subtle, round taste of the "Spago Nero" from Veneto, Italy. The cheese was maybe one of my favorites, definitely among the most memorable.
2) Another goat cheese, this one milder and creamer, with rosemary. Paired with two mineral whites. I preferred the Chenin Blanc from South Africa; Rob liked the Palacio de Vivero from Spain.
3) "Triple creme" cow's milk from France. This tasted like a super buttery brie -- obviously no complaints here! Paired with two wines merely labeled "Oak." One turned out to be a sav. blanc, the other a chablis. We both preferred the chablis (Les Deux Pivex from Burgundy).
4) This cheeese was a crumbly, chalky cow's milk from Piedmont (Red Cow) that the instructor suitably described as one that sneaks up on you. Paired most notably with a Gernot Heinrich from Austria. Acidic, not a lot of body. Rob said it tasted like the ocean. A hint of seaweed, maybe?
5) Raw cow's milk from Switzerland, this cheese was sharp, bitter and a little gritty. Paired with a two wines by a small supplier called Limerick Lane.
6) This crunchy, butterscotchy, caramel-like "cheese candy"reminded me a lot of one of the cheeses we had in the 101 class. Maybe it was the same; they were both from the Netherlands. Paired with two Bodegas Lan wines (from Rioja, Spain), most notably the Gran Reserva. We tasted vanilla, dill, and oak in this sweet wine, although it was "flashy" without any real lingering taste.
7) Cow's milk from France (Tarentaise), paired with two wines, also from France. Unfortunately, I stopped writing notes at this point because I hadn't dumped anything out and did you know that sixteen wines is a LOT?
8) Bleu d'Auvergne, cow's milk from France, very strong bleu cheese with two wines from Australia. A this point I was both done drinking AND done eating, so I only got to try this one briefly (and dizzily).
167 West 23rd Street (Between 6th and 7th Aves, above Landmark Wines)

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