Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wine & Cheese Pairing Party for 2 with Finca Roja (Malbec)

Who's up for a little mid-week wine pairing fun? Well, apparently Keith and I were a couple nights ago. In a random coincidence of opening an impulse Trader Joe's cheese sampler and a bottle of Finca Roja Malbec left over from the holidays, we decided to take notes on our evening's duo with a wine and cheese pairing party for 2.

The 2012, Argentinian Malbec from the region of Patagonia, Finca Roja found us exploring a new region of one of my most favorite grape varietals. I could enjoy the dark cherry and vanilla flavors of a big bodied Malbec all year round. So, on this frigid day in January as we endure record cold temperatures from the Arctic Vortex, this Finca Roja warmed my heart and soul.

So, how does this big-bodied fruity Malbec pair with a Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler Pack from Trader Joe's? Let's take a look at how these cheese stood up against the bold flavors of Finca Roja.

The Cheeses:

Iberico (from central Spain, made of a blend of cow's, sheep's and goat's milk) - This creamy mild white cheese is delicious, but paired with the big body of the Malbec the cheese is lost. The wine brought out bitter notes in the cheese that was not my favorite experience. Keith enjoyed the pairing noting that the fruit of the wine went well with the creaminess of the cheese.

Cabra Al Vino (otherwise known as the 'Drunken Goat')- This dry sharp white cheese holds its own against the bold cherry of the Finca Roja Malbec balancing out the tannins with its nutty flavors. I could probably eat the cheese all by itself, but the Malbec heightens the flavors creating what I consider a perfect wine and cheese flavor. Its a fruit and nut balance.

Manchego (most well-known Spanish cheese made from sheep's milk) - This is a mild Manchego. While still dry it is not as sharp as the Cabra Al Vino. When paired with our Malbec of the evening, the flavor of the Manchego is lost. Finca Roja takes over the Manchego making me want more of the Cabra Al Vino.

So, what did we learn from this pairing party? 

Mid-week wine & cheese pairings are always a good idea - even when they are impromptu. However, an Argentinian Malbec needs a stronger more pungent cheese to hold its own with the bold flavors of this grape varietal.

Enjoy Finca Roja separate from the Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler...but both are worth trying if you are wine and cheese lover.



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