Surprise yourself: Georgian Black Wine & Buffalo Tallegio

Just when you think you’ve tried just about everything in the world of wine and cheese, something new happens upon your path that challenges and delights your senses. Who knew that the Republic of Georgia had nearly 8000 years of winemaking history, or that people were making washed-rind cheeses out of buffalo milk in chilly northern Italy? We’ve also stumbled upon what might be the best Pinot Grigio we’ve ever tasted! Stop by the wine and cheese aisle the next time you’re in the market– we’re bursting with new and unusual products to enliven even the most jaded of palates!

Quadrello di Bufala
When one thinks of buffalo milk cheeses, the rich buffalo mozzarellas of Campania and southern Italy immediately come to mind. The small dairy Quattro Portoni in Lombary is bucking tradition and producing an amazing buffalo milk version of Taleggio, the famed washed-rind cow’s milk cheese of northern Italy. Quadrello di Bufala shares Taleggio’s square shape and is produced using a similar method of washing the exterior with a salt water sponge. The rind is wonderfully pungent, revealing a semi-ripe interior with a creamy, mouth coating texture and pleasing tang. This cheese is fantastic with Port or an off-dry Riesling.

2009 La Cadalora Pinot Grigio Vallagarina $19.99
Pinot Grigio is often thought of as fairly innocuous white wine meant for quaffing, not contemplation. La Cadalora’s Pinot Grigio  soundly smashes that unfair characterization. Full of complex stone fruit, mineral, and mountain herb notes, this wine certainly merits your full attention. Hailing from the Trentino region of northern Italy, La Cadalora makes a fascinating array of wine from both indigenous and international grape varieties. We love this Pinot Grigio on its own or with a fresh goat’s milk cheese like Redwood Hill’s California Crottin.

2009 Pheasant’s Tears Saperavi $16.99

The Republic of Georgia has what is likely the longest history of wine production in the world, dating as far back as 6000 BC. Their current wine culture is still thriving as evidenced by their per-capita wine consumption, the highest in the world. As far as wine fashion was concerned, Georgian wine was long seen as rustic and outdated. That perception may change with the current trend of clay amphora aging sweeping the wine world, an ancient technique still used by many Georgian wineries. Pheasant’s Tears, a small winery in the Kakheti region, makes a fascinating red with Saperavi, the noble red grape of Georgia. The resulting wine made from Saperavi is so dark, they are called “Black Wines” by Georgians. Pheasant’s Tears’ bottling is inky purple with aromas of tar, blackcurrent, and pine, along with flavors of black cherries, earth, and almonds. A must try for fans of traditional, old-world wines!

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