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Traci Lee
January 18, 2011 | Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Hard Cheese | Traci Lee

A Balanced Pair

I opened a bottle of Conn Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Prologue to enjoy with a wedge of Spring Brook Tarentaise, both medium-to-full bodied, with fruit-forward notes and a long finish. I made the assumption this would be a balanced pair based on the weight and flavor characteristics shared by both the wine and the cheese and it worked. In terms of pairing, I always seek balance, meaning all the attributes are in harmony, with none either too prominent or deficient.

This Cab is bold enough to stand up to the swissy, Alpine-style cheese without overbearing its flavor, creating the desired balance. I love the wine, and I love the cheese, but they are actually better together, rather than on their own. Hands down the best pairing of the week!

Founded in 1983, Conn Valley Vineyard is located where Conn Creek flows out of Howell Mountain. This wine, hailing from California's North Coast, sees 18 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels before bottling. The oak is only a minor influence, which supports bright blackberry and currant fruit, cedar, and a touch of chocolate on the long finish.

Produced in Vermont, Tarentaise has a gruyere-like taste and an inspiring story: 

Spring Brook Farm learned the Tarentaise recipe from friends John and Janine Putnam, of nearby Thistle Hill Farm in Pomfret, VT and created a similar, yet distinctly different version to support a hands-on educational farm, enabling city kids to have a glimpse of country living. The organization, 'Farms for City Kids' offers hands-on learning, team and character building skills to the kids that work between the dairy barn‚ small animal barn‚ greenhouse‚ garden and dormitory. Their efforts result in traditional, well maintained dairy farm, which produces over 600,000 lbs. of milk each year, which is made into the tasty Tarentaise Cheese.  


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