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Serious about your love of cheese? Explore rare and unusual cheeses during the wine trail’s annual event

Oct 03, 2017 • by Berks County Wine Trail
Berks County Wine Trail

Nearly two dozen unique cheeses to be paired with nearly two dozen local wines during the Berks County Wine Trail’s annual Artisan Cheese & Wine Pairing Weekend.  This year’s event is delicious different.  Cheeses are personally curated by the cheesemongers at Igourmet.com for the wine trail. he event takes place Saturday October 7th and Sunday October 8th, Noon to 5 PM. Cheeses shared will be a host of flavors ranging from savory, creamy, herbal, floral, salty, fruity and more.  Cheeses made from goats and cows are from points nearby such as New York and as far away as Europe. 

Cheese so often complements the taste of wine and many of us have such favorite “go to” cheeses; this is an event to launch you into a new level of cheese experiences. Smokey Blue from Rogue Cremery on the West Coast cajoles smokey hazelnut tones, while Le Delice Du Jura from France is a feast of herbal aromas; this washed rind cave cheese is produced in the Reblochon style (true Reblochon is illegal here in the US) so be sure take advantage of this unique experience.  Of course, the dynamic of local wines made right here in our region are what  will make these combinations so unique and contrasting.  Intrinsic simplicity of certain wines matched with complexity of certain cheeses balanced by the simplicity of other cheeses matched by the complexity of other wines…will make each stop along the wine trail a true adventure of the yin and yang of the palate.

To get you hungry for your wine & cheese exploration, here’s a sampling of some of the wines & cheeses to be featured during the event weekend. The complete menu of wines & cheeses is available on the events page of the wine trail’s website: http://www.berkscountywinetrail.com/events/

Cabernet Sauvignon from Longtrout Winery (the Auburn area beyond the Northern point of the county) will be paired with a Mahona Reserve cheese. Traditionally, the orange rind on Mahon comes from being rubbed in butter, paprika and oil. When a cheese is aged, the taste intensifies and becomes bolder and nuttier. Typical Queso Mahon is aged in the caves of Menorca for two months. Reserva is aged for at least a year. It maintains a slightly briny, sharp taste, but now becomes hard and granular; on a par with parmesan. Reserva can be grated over pasta or served as a table cheese with olive oil, black pepper and tarragon. A robust Spanish red wine can be overwhelming to young Mahon, but the Reserva definitely has the strength for this pairing. This cheese and wine can also be enjoyed with hazelnuts and dried fruit after a hard day’s work.

Vidal Blanc from Stone Barn Cellars of Spring City (Southern part of Berks County), featuring flavors of pineapple and grapefruit is paired with Kunick.  Produced by Nettle Meadow Farm, Kunik is a unique and voluptuous triple crème cheese only made in Thurman, New York in the Warrensburg area on the small family farm. It is a white mold-ripened wheel made from goat’s milk and Jersey cow cream. The blend makes Kunik far richer and more flavorful than a brie-type cheese, yet more subtle and sumptuous than similarly ripened goat cheeses. Delicious on its own or with fruit and crackers. A wonderful addition to any cheese plate. Nettle Meadow Farm is a 50 acre goat and sheep dairy and cheese company in Thurman, New York just below Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks.

Pinot Gris from Weathered Vineyards in New Tripoli (just beyond the Eastern corner of Berks County) features fruity and aromatic notes of citrus, pear, white nectarine and apple. Paired with Pink Peppercorn Chevre by Westfield Farm, this fresh goat cheese log is made with cracked pink peppercorns to add spicy, floral elements that complements the fresh tanginess of the goat cheese. Brazilian Pink peppercorns have a fragrant, sweet, and spicy flavor. Westfield Farm has been handcrafting award-winning farmstead cheeses in Hubbardston, Massachusetts since 1971.

Merlot (2015 vintage!) from Manatawny Creek Winery, in the central part of the county, will be paired with Sartori Sarvecchio cheese.  Ask a pear or walnut which cheese it prefers, and it will say, “One that’s fruity, with hints of lightly roasted caramel, aged to crumbly perfection.” In other words, Sartori’s finest Parmesan. Which, predictably, is also America’s most highly decorated Parmesan, thanks to the skill of their cheesemakers and the good taste of judges around the world. Sarvecchio Parmesan has been a recognized gold-medal winner at the American Cheese Society, World Cheese Awards, the World Dairy Expo, the Wisconsin State Fair and many more. Sartori is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated Wisconsin company in the great American tradition.

Wine & Cheese Weekend along the wine trail is a self-guided tour; so make a weekend out of it – plan your tour by cheese style or by wine profile or by geography. Any way you plan it the tastings will be satisfying and and memorable. To purchase tickets, visit the wine trail website’s events page – ticket purchasing being powered by localwineevents.com on the wine trail’s site or visit localwineevents.com:  https://www.localwineevents.com/tickets/i_want/688548

For more information about this event or the wine trail, please visit: www.berkscountywinetrail.com

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