Hard Cheeses

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Harder cheeses – usu­ally those aged for 5 to 10 years, like farm­house ched­dars – call for big­ger wines like full-bod­ied reds.

Mor­ri­son said the cheese al­most have a tart­ness to them, along with a nut­ti­ness, which is what the big wines bring as well. The dark notes in the wine bring out the big notes of the cheese, he said.

Red zin­fan­dels from Cal­i­for­nia and Prim­i­tivo from Italy are good choices, Mor­ri­son said. What makes a zin­fan­del great, he said, are old vines; the vines pro­duce less than half the grapes, but they are big and juicy with a lot of depth.

From zin­fan­dels, you could move on to Aus­tralian or Cal­i­for­nian syrahs (shi­raz). And then it’s on to the “black in the glass” reds like pinot noirs, Bordeaux, Cal­i­for­nia caber­nets and some mer­lots.

Sug­ges­tions here in­clude:

• Ridge Vine­yards: Mor­ri­son rec­om­mends sin­gle vin­tage Zin­fan­dels from this Cal­i­for­nia win­ery

• Fess Parker Syrah: Mor­ri­son said this red is “big, but not that big”

• Michael David: Best known for his 7 Deadly Zins, Michael David also pro­duces a wine called Petite Pe­tit, which is a blend of Pe­tit Ver­dot and Pe­tit Syrah. Mor­ri­son said it’s big in the glass, with 16 per­cent al­co­hol. “It’s a mon­ster,” he said. “It’s a fab­u­lous pro­duc­tion that goes great with hard cheeses.” The taste in­cludes a toasti­ness with black cas­sis, black cherry, black rasp­berry, and dark red fruit notes; also, woodsy fla­vors with mocha and cof­fee.

• Ar­gen­tiera Pog­gio ai Ginepri: A blend of caber­net sau­vi­gnon, syrah, and mer­lot whose name means “Hills of Ju­niper”, this wine is pro­duced in Tus­cany.

• Brunello di Mon­tal­cino: “There’s noth­ing bet­ter than a Brunello di Mon­tal­cino with a parmi­gianoreg­giano. I mean, fab­u­lous stuff,” Mor­ri­son said.

• Lam­br­usco: As an al­ter­na­tive to the Brunello di Mon­tal­cino, Mor­ri­son rec­om­mends a clas­sic Lam­br­usco (not Ri­u­nite) with a parmi­giano-reg­giano cheese

• Bordeaux: Mor­ri­son said 2009 and 2010 were back-to-back fab­u­lous years. A Chateau Rol­lan de By goes great with a 7-to-10 year aged cheese, he said. The Chateau Rol­lan de By Cru Bour­geois is one that can be had in the $20-some­thing range; it comes from the Me­doc re­gion.

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