Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wine and Cheese - Hudson Red with Chidaine Montlouis

There are some great cheeses produced in New York and Vermont. Local cheeses have achieved, in my opinion, higher quality within the cheese world than local wines have within the wine world. One of my new favorites is a raw milk washed rind cheese called Hudson Red, made by Twin Maple Farms Creamery and distributed by the ersatz coop Pampered Cow Cheese.

Hudson Red is not the stinkiest of washed rind cheeses, but it's not tame. Fresh and grassy with a creamy texture, and a pungent finish, this cheese had character. And it's completely delicious.

I like highly aromatic wines with washed rind cheeses - Gewurz or Muscat perhaps, but Hudson Red is on the mellow side of the washed rind spectrum. We've had this cheese several times now and I have yet to find "the right wine." No calamities, but nothing inspiring either. When I thought about eating it this time, I imagined it pairing well with a demi-sec Chenin Blanc, and so we went with one of François Chidaine's wines.

2005 François Chidaine Montlouis sur Loire Les Tuffeaux, $23, Louis/Dressner Selections. In a great place right now, this seems to have shed most of its sweet and tender baby fat. Still decidedly an off-dry wine, but the residual sugar is less prominent than it was a few years ago. The wine has achieved a better balance now, and some how seems fresher than it did a while back. Numbers say the wine is still young, but the intensely woolly notes suggest something a bit more mature to me (wool in background of photo represents woolly tones - ed.) I think this wine has his a comfortable stride - it's drinking beautifully right now. I have only one bottle left, and I might try to hold it for a while, but if I had several of these I wouldn't hesitate to open one soon.

That said, the pairing with Hudson Red was merely good, not great. The woolly, green tea, roast nuts of the wine played alongside, not with the cheese. This wine might have done better with a young chalky goat cheese from the Loire Valley. And I'm still unsure of the perfect wine for the lovely Hudson Red.

7 comments:

Beau said...

Before my comment I need a qualifier: I am decidedly not a cheese expert. That being said I like cheese and although I've had some good examples from New York or Vermont or Oregon I've never had something as exceptional as, say, the Mons stuff from France. Perhaps this is just a lack of experience (I need to try more cheese) but it calls to mind an oft discussed conundrum in my circles. Namely, many of the restaurants I like are of course the "locovore" variety, or farm to table or whatever the preferred nomenclature happens to be. And they feature local, or at least domestic cheeses, but their wine lists are filled w/ French wines. The idea, I think, is that unfortunately you just can't get the same level of quality and food matching ability with a list full of Long Island, Finger Lakes and Virginia wine. The French have had centuries to discover, and then codify, the proper grapes in the proper micro-climates (terroir etc.). Also, there are much, much more options in the "natural" category from Europe and they seem aesthetically cohesive with said restaurants. But isn't this a bit hypocritical? I'm not going to be the first to start ordering only North Fork Cab Franc, but is everyone willing to just say that what is good for goose (and there's an AOC for that too, right?) isn't good for the gander?

jmunro said...

I just picked one of these up. I'm glad to see it's drinking well

fillay said...

I had a bottle of this with some home smoked salmon in December - a really... ummm... delicious and complex wine. But I have a stinky half round of Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk in my fridge and I'm not sure it would be my first choice. In the spirit of regional typicity, maybe a Kalin semillon or a Navarro gewurztraminer. Alas, the last of the '05 Chidaine appear to have disappeared off of Chicago shelves over the last few weeks, so it's not like I can find another bottle to test it out.

Jamie said...

I think I like cheeses. And I also think that cheese and wine are a perfect combination. Cheese boost the taste of wine and it gives it more character.

Thanks for sharing about Hudson Red cheese.

Stephanie said...

Perhaps Chidane's Moelleux?? or Huet?

Clarke said...

Pairing wine and cheese, in my opinion, is probably the most difficult, confounding, and consistently disappointing pairing endeavor I attempt... But I can't stop trying, since I love both things so much.

kosher said...

agree with you on that Jamie, cheese and wine are perfect match for a cold Christmas.