Originally published August 26, 2008
About once a week, I pick up some interesting looking cheese, gather some go-withs, and see what kind of wine and cheese and whatever pairing I can put together.
This week, it was a block of the One-Year-Aged Flagship from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. This Seattle-based artisan cheesemaker produces a range of cow’s milk cheeses, including some flavored items. But as the name suggests, this One-Year-Aged Flagship is the, well… it’s the flagship.
Given the nondescript appearance, you might not expect much from this semi-hard cheese. You’d be wrong. It offers complex, traditional cheddarlike flavors, with a distinctive nutty character and a smooth, almost fruity, melt-in-your-mouth creaminess.
I had lined up a few accompaniments to pair with the cheese — a homemade dried fig and pear compote, some smoked almonds, butter-roasted pecans. And I popped the cork on an Australian GSM.
From the first bite and sip, this was a wine and cheese combination made in pure pleasure heaven. The compote and nuts were quickly abandoned — the cheese stood wonderfully alone. And the wine was gorgeous:
John Duval 2006 Plexus Barossa Valley ($40). Silky and rich, without being overripe, with vibrant red cherry and berry fruit that deepens through the long, elegant finish, picking up smoky spice and cream notes along the way. A blend of Shiraz (52%), Grenache (30%) and Mourvedre. Delicious now and over the next four or five years. Locate this wine online or in your area.