Cheese and wine have always had a long, sensuous love affair, and I love seeing both of them together like some kind of dirty porn film.
It seems like everybody wants to pair wine and cheese and whereas I'm not opposed to that idea my philosophy is that people eat and drink what they like and don't worry about it. But recently I had the chance to have a Santa Barbara Rhône wine, Seth Kunin’s very able 2013 Pape Star (a blend of Mourvèdre with additions of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault) and Fromager d’Affinois Brebicet, a double cream sheep’s milk cheese from France. Yes, they work beautifully together, a culinary dance of sublime beauty and damn good texture. Seth’s Pape Star honors the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region and has bright blackberry, black cherry fruit, hints of vanilla and cedar and a mild acidity, actually deeper berry notes that make this a richer wine. The double cream by contrast not only has an incredible seductive viscosity but also presents a slight blue cheese note with a nutty, buttery, salty bite. The point of food and wine is to try combinations and pairing, not to seek out that elusive “perfect” pairing – since it does not exist - but to play, explore and let your palate be overwhelmed with foods and wines that make sense in that moment. For me, these two nail it. The Brebicet is available at Whole Foods nationwide and Seth Kunin’s underappreciated wines, about 5,000 cases are more limited. Try one, preferably both, but try something new!