18th century gastronome Brillat-Savarin called it the Prince of Gruyeres, and it remains one of the most impressive traditional, raw milk cheeses available. (Note that the best Beaufort is much subtler than Swiss Gruyere). Enormous 85-pound wheels are trundled down from the Savoie Alps at the end of fleeting summers where indigenous cows have feasted on sloping meadows of flowers and grass. Murray's avoids wheels that are flat and one-dimensional, holding out for those cheeses that are delicately fruity and scrambled eggy - look for notes of warm cream and a mellow hazelnut finish. Savor with that Bordeaux you're been saving.
Just the Facts
Pinot NoirLighter bodied and delicate. Old World style generally offers more funk, New World more fruit.
Old World Pinot: Flavors of fresh cherries and raspberry balanced by a barnyard funk and high minerality. Sometimes has floral aromas, reminiscent of rose petal.
Pair with: Almost anything! Works with funky Frenchies Epoisses and Langres, or mild natural rinds like Tomme de Savoie.
PortVintage Port possesses extraordinary power, with deep fruit, spice, and chocolate. Full bodied with integrated tannin, vintage Port needs a powerful cheese to stand up to its strength. Anything mellow or subtle may get brushed aside.
Tawny Ports change flavour profile depending on their age; at 10, 20 and 30 years old. The traditional 20 year-old version, which I will focus on, is usually sweeter with secondary characters coming to the fore. It is a superb alternative to other sweet dessert wines, such as Madeira or late harvest Riesling and Tokaji.
Strong BeersBarleywine, Old Ale, Strong Ale, Scotch Ale
Big and intense, with an alcohol punch to match, don’t underestimate any of these guys. Flavors will favor the malty side of the spectrum, with dark fruit, leather, and tobacco notes common. You will taste the booze. And it will be delicious.
Pair with: A cheese equally big in flavor. Dunbarton Blue has subtle bluing and a savory-sweet gouda flavor that will be a perfect match for these tough brews.