A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg
I just returned from a lovely trip to Paris, where the wine is wonderful as well as less expensive than the coffee, and the cheese is nothing short of ambrosia.
I am a firm believer, as M.F.K. Fisher said, that, “Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures.” Though my husband forbid me from filling our suitcases with Camembert, Reblochon and Tomme de Savoie (so I filled my belly instead), my appetite for cheese was not completely sated.
So I was thrilled to discover that today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. What better way to fight the post-vacation blues than to celebrate this traditional American treat and pair it with some of our favorite local wines?
Here are a few options:
American Cheese & White Bread
Still a classic for good reason, this simple but oh-so-yummy version of a grilled cheese sandwich pairs well with Qupé Bien Nacido Y Block Chardonnay’s crisp apple and Asian pear flavors and lovely savory, buttered toast finish. My mouth is watering just writing about it.
Cheddar & Bacon
The sharpness of cheddar cheese pairs well with reds that are not too heavy. A Longoria Pinot Noir would be delicious with this one … or by itself, for that matter!
Gruyere & Caramelized Onions
Nutty Gruyere and sweet caramelized onions is an excellent grilled cheese option, especially when paired with a light, sweet Riesling like Fess Parker’s 2011 Santa Barbara County Riesling, which Wine Enthusiast describes as, “one of the most pleasant California Rieslings on the market. While this wine is clean and vibrant, it tastes off dry, with its honeyed finish and flavors of peach, nectarine and apricot jam.”
For a salami & grilled cheese feast, none other than the cheese queen herself, Laura Werlin (one of the country’s foremost authorities on cheese. She is a James Beard award-winning author of six books on the subject.) recommends our very own Sta. Rita Hills’ 2007 Alma Rosa “La Encantada” Pinot Noir as a pairing. Très Bien!
Truffled Grilled Cheese
My favorite version of this is from C’est Cheese, made with a mixture of Il Boschetto al Tartufo truffle cheese and Mozzarella; it’s pure heaven for those of us who love truffles! It pairs particularly well with sparkling wine, like Goat Bubbles from Flying Goat Vineyards, which offers four sparkling wines: Rosé, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs and Crémant.
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When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”
Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on April 12, 2013.