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Fancy Pants Wines

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Jura Duty: Wine & Cheese Parings Made in Mountainous Heaven


cheese combo.jpgMore wine & cheese with Wendy:

My extreme love of wine stems in part from my constant search for inspiration when I was a full-time chef. In early 2000 I attended an intensive master series of classes held at the newly founded Artisanal  cheese center in NYC. Little did I know these classes would change my life. I found not only inspiration but a true passion, for cheese and the wines paired with them. I couldn’t get enough, trying endless combinations.

Since then I’ve tried hundreds of cheese pairings but there are some that have a special place in my heart and fridge!  The wines and cheeses of the Jura region have always been a favorite, for me and here at Frankly Wines. Why not try a few of the following suggested wine and cheese pairings.

Featured wines are all made by Michel Gahier in Arbois, where his family has resided since 1525. A friendship with former cheese maker turned Jura winemaker extraordinaire Jacques Puffeney has helped instill instilled skills and sensibility that produce undeniably outstanding wines that clearly express the very particular terroir of this corner of the Jura. 

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Jura Duty: Comte St. Antione, Raw Cow + Gahier Chardonnay

This delicious cheese is made from the milk of small herds grazing on Alpine grass. A cooperative of cheesemakers pool their milk to craft a cheese that has a myriad of flavors. Aged for up to 2 years in small huts it’s like the never-ending gobstopper in Willy Wonka, flavors ranging from pineapple, cooked milk, toast, apricot and more can be tasted as it lingers into a smooth mellow finish.

Pair with Michel Gahier Arbois Chardonnay Les Crets 2011 Price: $25.99

 
 
 

Jura Duty: Marcel Petite, 2 yr Comte, Raw Cow + Gahier Vin Jaune


Aged in the Fort Saint Antoine in Jura, this Comte is produced by one of 13 high altitude cooperatives ("Fruitiers") approved by affineur Marcel Petite. This Comte is aged for 2 years, which is the longest the affineur will age any cheese. A bit more savory, buttery and with just a touch of milk chocolate dipped hazelnuts on the finish. For a match made in heaven pair with one of our Vin Jaune’s. It would be an amazing gift for the Jura fan in your life!

Pair with Michel Gahier Vin Jaune 2006 Price: $74.99

 
 
 

Jura Duty: Morbier, Raw cow + Gahier Trousseau


This washed rind Jura beauty has a fudgy paste divided by a thin line of vegetable ash. While it once marked the line between morning and evening milk it is now part of the regulations of production associated with this AOC delight. The cashew butter, brothy goodness and slight funk are just the ticket to pair with our selection of lighter Jura reds, Trousseau and Poulsard!

Pair with Michel Gahier Trousseau Les Grands Vergers 2013 Price: $33.99

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For cheesemongers near you, give this site a peek.

For more information on artisan cheese, classes on pairings and recipes please visit my site www.SassySipsNYC.com

Cheers, Wendy
 
 
 

BRING ON THE BUBBLES: The Sneaky Value One


Alexandre Filaine Cuvee Speciale Brut NV
(Champagne, France):

Filaine.jpgUnless you regularly skulk around in the geeky depths of the grower champagne world, you’ve probably never heard of the Fabrice Gass (the winemaker) or Alexandre Filaine (the wine.) But you probably have heard of Bollinger. Well, we’ll let you in on a little secret. Fabrice is involved in both Bolly and Filaine. Not surprisingly, Filaine has a lushness  and opulence that remind us of Bolly. But for a less bucks. It’s one of those strange miracles of the modern wine world – you can get the tiny production, minimally-messed with bottles for less than the larger production goods. Why? We don’t know. But we’re happy when it works out this way.

Price: $52.99

 
 
 

For those who like it lush


IMG_0079.JPGChateau Maris Brama Grenache-Gris 2011 (Languedoc, France):

This layered, old vine minx of a Grenache Gris was grown on a very small plot in the beautiful Languedoc region of Southern France, where free roaming cattle and the vintners horses are used to work the land.

The flavor and personality of this wine is deliciously bawdy! Rich, layered aromas tempt you to stick your nose into the glass... go ahead, inhale that decadence. This is the Mae West of wine, lush, full-bodied, savory, flush with ripe fruit and a long
finish that truly satisfies. The perfect wine pairing for a bowl of fettuccine alfredo, topped with crispy speck.

Price: $39.99

 
 
 

For those who need something strong


navazos.jpgNavazos Palazzi 15 Year Old Cask Strength Rum (Spain):

Love at first sip. And what a first sip it was. This is cask strength rum, meaning it's full proof, like 51% abv, pulled straight from the cask. Those casks happen to be old Oloroso casks, which impart a rich, nutty, sherry-like lushness to the rum. The rum itself is from the somewhere in the Caribbean. "Somewhere" being about as specific as it gets. At 5 years of age, it was sent to Sparin where it spent another 10 years in those Oloroso casks. Sipped straight, it's strong stuff. But almost shockingly smooth for such high proof stuff. Take a sip neat, then dilute it with a touch of water for maximum enjoyment of it's crazy cool blend of nuttiness, molassas and Oloroso twang. Read more about it in Jon Bonne's piece in the SF Chronicle.

Price: $159.99 (non-discountable)

 
 
 

For those who want to skip straight to dessert


navarre PdC.jpgR. Navarre Pineau des Charentes Vieux (Cognac, France): You may not know about Pineau des Charents. But you need to. You really, really need to. Broken down to a simple definition, Pineaux des Charents are basically unfermented grape juice fortified with cognac. But what they really are is magic. Pure, delicious, crazy good magic. They are sweet, but the kick of Cognac gives them a sweet/n/strong attitude that makes them so irresistible. There’s some of the nutty, caramel notes a tawny port, but with of freshness and liveliness that makes them oh, so charming. At around $65/bottle, they aren’t cheap, but if you try one, you’ll understand why one customer said, “I really wish I didn't know these existed.” They’re just that good. You’ll find yourself thinking about them while typing away at your desk, mulling over spreadsheets and the number of emails you need to send (or maybe that’s just me.)

Price: $68.99

 
 
 

ADVENTURES IN BYO: Fuleen and Overnoy-Crinquand


BYO nights and restaurants are one of the great not-so-secrets of the New York wine trade. It’s not about avoiding restaurant mark-ups. (We’re in the business so we all understand why a bottle on a wine list costs more than it does in a shop and assuming the list is well thought out and the mark-up doesn’t fall into the evil range, we’re happy to pay up.) BYO is really a way to tap into our own private stashes and share with friends…. Without the hassle of cooking dinner or washing the silverware.

Many of these BYO joints are Chinese restaurants. There tend to be different tribes haunting different places – Grand Sichuan, Peking Duck House and Fuleen Seafood are three that come up often. If you have an eagle eye for your Instagram feed, you’ll be able to spot who’s drinking where even if they’re not “checked in.”

Shitty glassware and an ice bucket that’s literally a bucket (and yes, I feel this is an acceptable, old school use of ‘literally’) are part of the experience. If you’re feeling fancy, you can bring your own stemware, so if you happen to be at one of these places and notice a table in the corner where the bottles outnumber the guests more than two to one and their glassware is way way nicer than yours… chances are good you’ve stumbled upon a hoard of New York wine industry folks having a night out.

Our Sunday man David recently went to Fuleen Seafood (my personal favorite of the Chinese BYOs) for a dinner. After much discussion, I sent him off with a bottle I thought would go particularly well with the restaurant’s salty/savory seafood specialties. Did I pick well? Read below to find out. (Hint: of course I picked well… it’s my job!!)

Distinguished and Surprisingly Versatile

overnoy.jpgFans of wines made from the Savagnin grape love their notes of walnut, salt and orange rind. The Overnoy-Crinquand Savagnin 2010 from the town of Pupillon in France's Jura region has sure possession of these notes. But a recent dinner at Fuleen on 11 Division St. in Chinatown showcased the stunning range of this -- wine, which spends several years aging in old oak barrels before release.

Fuleen - a Chinatown haunt for more than a few local wine geeks - has a generous BYOB policy, an extensive menu, and tasty, affordable food. At $4 each, the fried quail are a steal, particularly in service to the Overnoy-Crinquand. Its notes of toasted brioche complement the quail and the wine's unexpected acidity cleanses the palate between morsels.

But it's with the main courses that the Savagnin shines. Against a dish of shrimp, garlic, peanuts and red and green peppers the wine reveals a slight smokiness and then some honey to smooth the garlic. A plate of eggplant, chicken and salted fish elicits melon and then a little black tea from this wine, and a side of chive stems calls forth a hint of milk chocolate - not kidding, it's in there. The wine's body is never thrown out of balance but oscillates from leaner to more opulent depending on the dish with which it's paired.

There are next-day leftovers of both meals - Fuleen portions are enormous - and wine, which when sampled with an Italian hard cheese reverts to the more expected flavors of walnut and fine honey. A pairing of Savagnin and Comte, the Jura's answer to Gruyere, is justifiably classic, but dinner at Fuleen shows just how much the Overnoy-Crinquand Savagnin 2010 has to offer.

Price: $47.99

 
 
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