Friday, December 18, 2009


I've been looking forward to my Winter Solstice wine tasting for weeks! Actually, ever since I decided to host the 'second annual.' Last year the solstice fell on the weekend, and it was a great excuse to invite a few of my favourite women to share wine in a blind tasting. This year the idea is to pair wine and cheese.

My choice is Barolo with Italian black truffle cheese.

I started by picking my favourite cheese and then went on a bit of a hunt to find a matching wine. Champagne came to mind. Then at the Food and Wine show, I asked Vines editor Christopher Waters what he would recommend, and without any hesitation he said something from Piedmont, adding that the nebbiolo grapes would complement the truffles. And the wine and cheese would likely be from the same region, which generally makes for a solid match.

Happily I just happened to have a bottle of Barolo tucked away that I picked up a few years ago, with the instruction to 'drink after 2007': a DOGC Fontanafredda Serralunga D'Alba 2001. This sommelier detects a note of porcini mushrooms among the layers of taste.

Barolo - the wine of kings and king of wines. Fontanafredda is one of the oldest producers, with Italy's first king, Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, said to have hunted on the same terroir many centuries ago.

I know shockingly little about my favourite cheese, only that when I am feeling in the mood for an outrageous treat at St. Lawrence Market, I end up at Alex Cheese Farms and stammer my request. That's where I will be tomorrow morning.

Truffle-hunting looks pretty labour-intensive, no wonder the underground mushrooms are so pricey:

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