December 30, 2012

Cheese on a cold winter evening

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I stopped by my beloved Caprice yesterday afternoon as I was checking up on something, and was given a quick tour of their new cheese and wine bar.  This has been a few months in the making, and something that my friends and I have looked forward to for most of this year.  It finally opened a week ago, and I decided to grab a couple of friends tonight to check out the new digs.

The paint fumes were still somewhat noticeable yesterday, but I didn't mind.  Nothing like getting a little high on wine and fumes…  Perhaps it was the colder temperature tonight, but I didn't really pay much attention to the fumes tonight.

I started with a glass of 2006 Willi Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben, because it's been a while since I last had some Grüner Veltliner.  A little mineral, ripe, muscat grape on the nose.  Sweet with saucisson, but not so good with jamón ibérico.

We started with a charcuterie platter, with some jamón ibérico and two types of saucisson.  Delicious.

We asked for a mixed platter with all the different types of cheese, which is what we usually do anyway.  We were soon presented with two beautiful wooden boards bearing the goodies…

First board has all the goat cheese:
Anneau du Vic-Bihl - a little goaty, nice and milder than expected, balanced between the acidity and saltiness.

Selles-sur-Cher - also tasting milder than expected.

Le Petit Pavé - first time having this Alsatian cheese.  Rich and creamy, more acidic.  Slightly more pungent.

Cabri Ariégeois - one of my favorites.  Lovely and a bit salty.  Unfortunately not as ripe as could be.

The next board is all made from cow's milk:
Brillat-Savarin fermier - I can never get tired of having this triple-cream from Burgundy.  Slight acidity here and a little salty.


Le coup de corne - first time tasting this cheese from Ariége, with its interesting shape and hole through the middle.

Époisses de Bourgogne - from Gaugry so this was made au lait cru.  Yummy, but could be a little riper.

Comté, 4 years - not sure what was wrong with my taste buds today, but just about everything tasted mild... Although this was confirmed by ILL, who showed up a little late for a drink.  Definitely not as salty as we expected, and rather rich and creamy.

Ludovic suggested that we try the Comté with some passion fruit jam...

My second glass was the 2009 Michel Bouzereau Meursault Les Tessons.  Rich and round on the palate, very smooth.  Somehow lacking that heavy toast and mineral nose I associate with Meursault.

Fourme d'Ambert - for a long time this was the one un-loved cheese, as we were unable to gobble down big chunks of something so salty and heavy.  We did gradually manage to take down most of it, though...

I always need something sweet like fig jam to go with blue cheese.

I had to have red with the blue cheese, so naturally I opted for a glass of 2010 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage.  The staff thought they'd be doing me a favor by opening a fresh bottle, but they were dead wrong... This wine needs lots of time to breathe, so I insisted on getting the last pour out of the previous bottle.  More of that lovely, familiar nose of mint, minerals, violet and pine forest.  Still a little sharp on the nose, and definitely needed a lot of aeration time.  Infanticide.

We were pretty happy, but the kitchen sent out a small batch of madeleines for us, along with hazelnut and chocolate sauces on the side.  They smelled great as they were fresh from the oven, but I thought they were slightly wet and soggy inside, and broke apart easily as I handled them.  Oh well.  Still pretty tasty, though.  And a certain finger was put to good use...  No, it wasn't René Redzepi's famous "fuck finger"...

I can't think of many better ways to spend a relaxing Sunday evening.

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