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Local event perfectly matches wines and cheeses

Perfectly paired wines and cheeses can make for a great event when combined with good company. Thinkstock / Special to The Forum1 / 2
Ron Smith, World of Wine columnist2 / 2

Who wouldn't love to sit down to a feast of five cheeses accompanied by a selection of French wines? If such an idea has no appeal, then read no farther. For the rest of you, read on!

Such an event was enjoyed recently to a capacity gathering of wine and cheese lovers at the Luna Fargo.

Sommelier Jean Taylor and Luna owner Nikki Berglund, who made the cheese and other nibbles available, served up a delightful combination taste treat which all enjoyed. Everyone in attendance I talked with is hoping another such event will appear again.

The following is a listing of the wines and the cheeses that were served. The wines and cheeses are available locally, and all are at an SRP of $20 or less.

  • Fleuraison Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling White Wine with Bent River Camembert cheese from Mankato, Minnesota. The wine is made with Spanish grapes, by a French vigneron. It refreshes with a crisp acidic taste and persistent finish. The cheese is an artisan type, with a smooth, soft taste.
  • Chateau Tour Grise 'Les Amandiers' Chenin Blanc, Loire Valley with Comté cheese from France. The wine had a fruity, refreshing flavor, and the cheese is France's most complex and flavorful, with a buttery/honey taste.
  • Chateau des Antonins Blanc with Humboldt Fog cheese from Cypress Grove, California. The wine had a soft, rounded texture, and an acidity of crisp stone fruits. The cheese is made from goat's milk and is elegantly delicious.
  • Domaine de Bellevue La Galoche Beaujolais 'La Galoche' Beaujolais with Délice de Bourgogne cheese from France. Not the 'typical' Beaujolais, this one can age a little and would be a winner with any food, which it did nicely with the cheese. As the name implies, the cheese is from the Burgundy region of France and has a smooth, slightly acidic texture.
  • Aurelien Chatagnier Saint-Joseph Syrah, Rhone with — Grand Cru Surchoix cheese from Wisconsin. This wine is made with one of my favorite grape varieties, the syrah. It delivers a deep, dark color that had the complexity of floral, and mild, somewhat leathery tannins. The cheese could be relished as a stand-alone treat, but was greatly enhanced with this wine.

Combine these enjoyable treats with the right company, and lively conversations and laughter bloom like spring flowers. Every single one of these combinations were enjoyed, and limited space won't allow me to extend the virtues of each, so I'll highlight my two favorites — by a slim margin.

The Champagne-type bubbly had a lot of flavor and pleasure for such an inexpensively priced product. It is a bubbly that can be served without looking cheap at special occasions, or just as any seasonal drink.

The last wine/cheese combo really put the cap on the evening for me, with both the wine and cheese enticing the consumer to try just "one more taste" of both.

Ron Smith, a retired NDSU Extension horticulturist, writes weekly about his love of wine and its history. Readers can reach him at tuftruck1@gmail.com.

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