I wrote last weekend I am going to attempt to write about and review my experiences in pairing wine with cheese. As I begin focusing on the art of pairing wine with cheese, I pulled from the cheese cooler this French Morbier cheese selection and was eager to try this with an appropriate wine.
Jani & Simonetta have a wine site called Cards of Wine - Wine School for Normal People, a comprehensive site about all things wine with encyclopedic depth and breadth of information about wine, grapes, regions, tasting, and pairing wine with food, and with cheeses.
They have a citation about Morbier as "a semi-soft Cow Milk Cheese named after the village of Morbier in France. It is soft and elastic, and recognizable by a thin black layer in the middle.
The aroma of Morbier is strong, but the flavor is rich and creamy, with a slightly bitter aftertaste."
Jani & Simonetta suggest Semi-soft cheeses such as Morbier need medium bodied White Wines. Their favorite pairing is with a French Gewürztraminer. They also suggest Sparkling White Wine with Semi-soft cheeses such as Morbier. I was looking for a Red Wine pairing and they suggest the most suitable is a light red wine such as Pinot Noir, a French Beaujolais, or Italian Barbera. The only such light red we have in our cellar is Pinot Noir, as we tend towards bigger bolder styled wines. I pulled one of the better known favorite labels, Evenstad Reserve from Domaine Serene, as it is one our favorites, and a seemingly natural choice for this pairing. We have several vintages of this label and I pulled the 2007, not only one of the oldest vintages in our collection, but also one that is a highly rated, according to the pundits.
As I write often in these pages, I'm not a 'Pinot guy' but keep some on hand for entertaining Pinot drinkers, and for occasions calling for a Pinot Noir pairing. This is one of the few Pinots we keep in the cellar and is one of our favorites, and a top rated vintage release.
Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2007
This release got 95 points and was designated a 'Cellar Selection' from Wine Enthusiast and 91 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.
Wine Enthusiast wrote, "Although it is drinking like a mature wine, there is every reason to cellar wines such as this - it can develop like a fine Burgundy, over decades." So, there shouldn't be a hurry to consume this if this is the case. We hold several bottles and will be mindful to be patient with those remaining. Wine Spectator wrote, 'Best from 2012 through 2015', which isn't a long drinking window for a 2007, five to eight years. In 2009 Parker said, "Give it 1-2 years of additional cellaring and drink it from 2011 to 2019." Here we are in year thirteen, just beyond the prescribed ideal drinking windows, and, while this wasn't showing any diminution from aging, its will likely not improve with any further cellaring.
This is one of our perennial favorite Pinots, I've written in previous tastings, the 2007 vintage is fairly typical of this label although seemingly slightly lighter and more subdued fruit than some years; ruby color, medium bodied, raspberry, hint of black berry, strawberry, rhubarb, dusty rose with a touch of cinnamon spice.
Wine Enthusiast says this release is "A very elegant and refined Evenstad Reserve .... the fruit is immaculate, the concentration focused and lengthy, and the flavors are so artfully blended that the wine is seamless and perfectly balanced."
RM 90 points.
I sense and fear the Morbier clashed with the graceful elegance of the Pinot. The Evenstad was a nice complement to the Morbier but not an ideal match. Next time I will endeavor to try pairing Morbier with a white wine, for which it is apparently better suited.
I am going to attempt to 'rate' the cheese, and the subsequent combination of the wine with the cheese. While this is totally subjective and perhaps arbitrary, my years of rating wines has produced a consistency that have been tested and proven, that I have grown to trust and rely upon. We'll see how this plays out going forward.
The Wine, 90 points, the French Morbier cheese, RM 89 points; the pairing with the Eventstad Reserve 2007, 88 points. This says, the pairing of the wine and the cheese rendered a pairing score that was less than the rating of the wine, or the cheese, hence not a desired or suggested pairing.