Murray's 1 Year Manchego
Tiliting at windmills a la Don Quixote works up quite an appetite thank goodness for La Mancha's own Manchego. Perhaps Spain's most famous cheese, Manchego is a D.O. (Denominación de Origen) protected cheese, meaning the traditional recipe must use 100% Manchega sheep milk. The breed has proven sturdy enough over the centuries to traverse the rocky, arid central plateau region of La Mancha where cows just can't hang. Made using fresh, pasteurized sheep's milk, this Manchego develops a rich nuttiness and pleasant gaminess (think toasted almonds and broiled lamb chops) after over a year of aging. The patterned rind is a nod to the grass baskets previously used to form the cheese. Firm enough to grate for any culinary application, highlight its sharp, caramelly flavor anywhere you would use Parmigiano. Yearning for a perfect pairing is anything but quixotic - raise a glass of herbaceous Rioja alongside fruity membrillo paste for tapas perfección.
Just the Facts
Lagers and KolschLager, Dunkel, Schwarz, Pilsner, Kolsch Ale
Lagers run the gamut from crisp, pale Pilsners to dark-malted Dunkels and Märzens. Flavors are typically approachable and mellow, a delicate balance of toasted bread, gentle sweetness, and mild hop bitterness for structure.
Pair with: Almost any firm, mild cheese like Tomme de Savoie or Landaff Creamery Landaff.
MalbecThis rustic wine is inky and dark, full-bodied with plenty of tannins. Fruity flavors of plums and berries are contrasted by spice and leather.
Pair with: Equally toothsome cheeses like Boerenkaas Gouda.
RieslingThis food-friendly wine ranges from super sweet to quite dry. Acidity, minerality, and aromas of tropical fruit are almost always present.
Dry: Characterized by bracing acidity and stark minerality. Tropical fruit on the nose, stunningly balanced flavor overall.
Pair with: This versatile wine works equally well with a fresh chevre (bringing out acidity) as it does a stinker like Willoughby (playing up the sweet/salty contrast).
Sweet: The other end of the spectrum offers a cloyingly sweet, syrupy wine. Aromas of ripe peaches and tropical fruit dominate, along with floral, perfumed accents.
Pair with: With something this strong it’s best to contrast the sweetness with something funky or salty: A pungent washed rind like Grayson or a punchy blue like Bleu du Bocage.