April 2012

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play with your food Visit bravamagazine. com to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter— and your wine selection of the month! Simple Sips 'Tis the season to think pink By Karen Eigenberger Harmonic Culinary Convergence Creating a perfect wine-and-cheese pairing By Michael and Jean Muckian Wine and cheese may well be the planet's most popular complementary pairing. We've all tried our hand at it, sometimes with varying levels of success. But how do masters undertake such a challenge? We asked Philippe Coquard, master winemaker at Wollersheim Winery, and Sid Cook, master cheesemaker for Carr Valley Cheese, for their best advice. Th e two are offering "Th e Masters' Duet," an upcoming pairing of their respective wines and cheeses at the Carr Valley Cook- ing School in Sauk City, and we asked for a "taste" of what they have planned. Th e fi rst thing to note, Coquard says, is for any cheese and a cheese for any wine," says Cook. "We will, of course, present our favorites, and from our customers [we] may discover their favorites." Th e rule of thumb is to pair light wines with light cheeses, and heavier wines with more fl avorful or pungent cheeses. Prairie Fumé, Wollersheim's best-selling wine, goes well with a Mobay or Swiss, Coquard says. Both agree that Ba Ba Blue, Carr Val- ley's award-winning blue cheese made from sheep's milk, pairs best with Woller- sheim Port, a fortifi ed dessert wine. "You're looking for contrast rather than that wine and cheese are agricultural prod- ucts that benefi t from fermentation. Th ere is some credence to the idea that "ter- roir"—the impact of soil, sun, moisture and mastery applied to a given product— may provide benefi t when those products paired come from complementary areas. "Terroir directly signs its infl uence in the taste of the wine, but to a lesser degree in milk and cheese," says Coquard. "Th e re- gion, weather, closeness and soil may con- tribute to a better association, but may not be noticeable for the average taster." Correctly matching specifi c wines and cheeses will make a difference in the suc- cess of any pairing, according to Cook. "Generally speaking, you can fi nd a wine 70 BRAVA Magazine April 2012 a complement of fl avors," Coquard says. "You seek an explosion of fl avors that will cancel each out. Th e taste buds seem to be fi ghting to survive the attack, and sudden- ly you achieve perfect harmony." Cook agrees, saying, "Th e port is ex- traordinary with Ba Ba Blue, but maybe I just like port." then For more information on The Masters' Duet, visit Michael and Jean Muckian have covered the local food and arts scenes for over 25 and 15 years, respectively. Find their blog, Culturosity, at With each new season comes a new wine to sip! As spring breathes a bit of fresh air into our days, think fresh, bright, fruity and crisp when you look for something to sip. 'Tis the season for rosé! Rosé wines are pink—yes, pink— wines. For years I would not touch the stuff. I thought all rosés were those cheap, sticky, sweet blends made for people who didn't drink real wine. Today I can honestly say I was wrong. Its cheerful hue comes from its prep- aration. A rosé is made from red grapes (not white and red blended together, except in the case of Champagne). When the grapes are crushed, the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short time. The result is a wine that is not fully red, but rather pink in color. So, in essence, pink wines are just red wines without their skins (and heavy tannins), thus maintaining many of the same qualities of the red wines you love! These pink wines can range in taste. The most well-known rosé in the United States is White Zinfandel, made popu- lar in the '70s and '80s when a trend for sweet wines hit. Today, most rosés tend to be considered dry—and their popularity is rising. Throughout Europe, and now South America, the rosé wine market is oriented toward light-colored, fresh, summery and young (aged less than a year) wines. These fresh rosés have even exceeded the sales of white wines in France! So when I think of sitting back to watch the spring sun set, I can't help but picture a crisp glass of rosé settled in my hand. Cheers! Karen Eigenberger is partner at STEVE'S Wine-Beer-Spirits on Mineral Point Road. Visit Photo by Shanna Wolf

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