On Sunday, January 27, 2019, two friends and I attended a wine and cheese pairing hosted by Priam Vineyards and Cato Corner Cheese. It was a wonderful afternoon where we sampled five different pairings. The wines ranged from a floral white to a delightful rose ending with a semi-sweet red. The cheeses ranged from a mild alpine-style to a distinctively creamy blue.
A little background. I used to be one of those people who only liked the sweet wines. I especially didn’t like red wines, or so I thought. This was a long time ago, before my first trip to Napa where I had an epiphany and became a bit of a wine snob. My wine doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does need to be flavorful and a good accompaniment to meals or desserts. A running joke with one of my friends is how often wineries describe their reds as having the taste of currants. Now, I don’t really know what a currant tastes like on its own, but I do love the flavor in my wines!
We started the tasting with Salmon River White, a Chardonnay and Riesling blend was light, fruity, and creamy. This was paired with Vivace Bambino, a young, Alpine-style cheese which is reminiscent of Emmental.
The second pairing was the Barrel Select Chardonnay with a nutty, caramel flavor. The cheese accompanying the Chardonnay was the Dutch Farmstead, one of the most popular Cato Corner cheeses. The Dutch Farmstead had a rich, buttery taste which complemented the Chardonnay nicely.
Next, we moved on to the Salmon River Rose with a balanced acidity and strawberry nose and taste. I have grown to really enjoy rose wines now that wine producers in general stopped making them taste like sweetened grape juice. This was paired with the Aged Bloomsday, one of my favorite cheeses and it was an excellent match-up with the Salmon River Rose.
Our fourth match-up of the day was with the Blackledge Red, a ruby St. Croix blend with a lightly fruity taste and a peppery finish. This was paired with Dairyere, another Alpine-style which was very similar to Gruyere, and another of my favorites. This was a delightful pairing which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The final pairing of the day was the Westchester Red, a red-blend of St. Croix, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon with notes of currant (see above). This was paired with the Blackledge Blue, a creamy, medium strong cheese with a distinctive taste. If you enjoy bleu cheeses, as I do, you will enjoy this tremendously. There were a few tasters who didn’t like bleu cheese, so they did not enjoy the pairing. I felt that the strength of the Westchester Red paired naturally with the Blackledge Blue.
Priam Vineyards holds a lot of events and tasting pairings and they’re open year-round. They are also available as a venue for weddings and celebrations of any nature. Priam Vineyards currently produces 16 hand-crafted wines which are bottled throughout the year. Located at 11 Shailor Hill Road in Colchester, Connecticut, it is worth the trip for an afternoon of tasting. When the weather is nice, bring a picnic to enjoy with your wine on the patio at the foot of the vineyard hills. Visit their website for a full list of events and pairings coming up.
Cato Corner Farm make raw farmstead cheese by hand from the delicious milk of their 45 Jersey cows. Cato Corner Farm is located at 178 Cato Corner Road in Colchester, Connecticut. They produce 26 varieties of cheese and the cow milk is sourced directly from the happy cows on their farm. Their cheese-tasting room is open on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. I thoroughly recommend a trip to their tasting room to experience their full-range of cheeses. Fortunately, Cato Corner Farm is very close to Priam Vineyards, so you could visit both places on the same day!