Cheese Cupid Pairing: 2007 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir


by Cheese Cupid


This week we’re pairing a 2007 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Shea Wine Cellars, with semi-soft, and hard cheeses.

This pinot is vibrant and explosive, with aromas of cherries, strawberries and raspberries. The vintage flavor is well balanced and fruity with spicy characteristics and a long, complex finish that lends itself well to creamier, and intensely flavored Wisconsin Cheeses.

Pair a glass of this pinot noir with semi-soft cheeses, Dofino Creamy Havarti, Meister Cheese Company Great Midwest Basil Jack and BelGioioso Fontina. Or complement the smooth pinot with high-texture, the low-moisture, hard-style cheese of Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods Aged Asiago.

Havarti, a milder version of German Tilsit, originated in Denmark. In Wisconsin, the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a special Wisconsin-style Havarti that is firmer in texture and more buttery than other types. Dofino Creamy Havarti is a perfect example of this gentle and buttery cheese, produced in the Danish tradition. Need an easy and delicious Havarti recipe? To prepare baked Havarti, wrap an 8-ounce piece in puff pastry, brush on egg wash and bake at 425º F until golden brown. Serve hot with fresh fruit, such as apples or pears, for a party appetizer.

Meister Cheese Company produces cheese that is known for its many unique flavors and intense creaminess. Great Midwest Basil Jack, a variety of the Meister Cheese Monterey Jack line, is delicate, buttery and has a slightly tart flavor that balances nicely with the basil herb. Monterey Jack goes well with fruit and poultry.

Fontina originated in Italy in 1477 in the mountainous Val d’Aosta region near the Swiss border. It was named Fontina d’Aosta for Mont Fontin and the nearby village of Fontinaz. Fontina is considered to be one of the most versatile cheeses in the world because it is excellent both on the table and in cooking. BelGioioso Fontina is a semi-soft, mild cheese with a silky texture and sweet, yet earthy flavor – a divine melting cheese.

Asiago derives its name from a small town in northern Italy. In Italy, Asiago usually means Asiago Fresco, or fresh and has a mild flavor and semi-hard texture. In Wisconsin, cheesemakers age Asiago to develop sharper flavors. Thus, Asiago Cheese is often firm and grated. Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods Aged Asiago is creamier, with sharp and tangy flavors. Pair it with a glass of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and some crusty Italian bread.

Enjoy any of these cheeses and a glass of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir in the “Wisconsin Cheese Recipe of the Month”: Mediterranean Macaroni and Cheese.