Report From 2012 Savor Dallas: How To Pair Wine and Cheese

Rich Rogers, cheesemonger and Michael Flynn, sommelier

I used to think that wine and cheese went together because cheese ameliorated some of the deficiencies in wine. It turns out I was wrong. This weekend, two experts in cheese and wine pairing presented a fascinating seminar, “The Perfect Pairing of Wine and Cheese,” to raise funds for the American Institute of Wine and Food. The event took place Saturday afternoon at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. The cheese guy was Rich Rogers. He and his wife founded Scardello Artisan Cheese in Dallas three and a half years ago. The wine guy was Michael Flynn, wine and beverage director of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. He also contributed to the 2011 book A Food Lover’s Guide To Wine. So these guys have a lot of experience to contribute to this subject. And I learned more than I possibly thought I could.

Jump for the pairings.

Each participant received a plate of six cheeses. As Rogers went through each one, Flynn presented the wine he’d selected as a good match for the cheese and explained how he chose the wine.

Cana de Cabra


THE CHEESE: Cana de Cabra, a Spanish goat cheese. Rogers notes described it as creamy with mild acidic and earthy notes.

THE WINE: 2010 Château de Sancerre. A sauvignon Blanc from the Sancerre region of the Loire River Valley in France.

THE RATIONALE: Acid in the cheese matches the acid in the wine.

MY TAKE: Excellent match.


St. Pat

THE CHEESE: Cowgirl Creamery ‘St. Pat’. A California cow’s milk cheese. Roger notes said ”These rounds are made with whole organic milk and are wrapped with stinging nettle leaves commemorating the arrival of spring in Marin County.”

THE WINE: 2011 Cape Mentelle, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Blend Margaret River. The Western Australia blend is New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc light in construction. Some herbaciousness but not as much as in the New Zealand wines. Fruity notes of lemons and some tropical fruit.

THE RATIONALE: Lemon flavors in the wine match the flavors in the cheese.

MY TAKE: This cheese was so mild that the wine dominated. Not sure if any wine would go well with this cheese. It may be best on its own.



THE CHEESE: Achadinha Cheese Co., ‘Capricious’. A California goat cheese. Rogers’ notes said  “A truly unique artisan cheese made with attention to detail and naturally aged in the fresh Pacific Ocean air. Slight pungency and carmelly notes.”

THE WINE: 2008 Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay, Napa. A big oaky, tropical fruit Chardonnay made with finesse in the California style.

THE RATIONALE: Big cheese, big wine.

MY TAKE: Excellent match.



THE CHEESE Pagliarino. A raw sheep’s milk cheese from Italy. Rogers note said “A sheep’s milk cheese aged six months with a white to pale yellow interior. Its mild in flavor, but with great depth and magnificently long finish.”

THE WINE: 2007 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir, Marlborough, new Zealand.

THE RATIONALE: The mild cheese works with a red wine that is not overly tannic.

MY TAKE: Excellent match.


Cabot Clothbound

THE CHEESE: Cabot Clothbound. An artisanal cheddar from the Cabot Creamery in Vermont. Do not confuse this cheese with their more commercial offerings. It is made in a separate facility in order that the yeasts do not interact. Rogers’ notes said “The aroma is pleasant and fresh on the tongue. The cheese is moist, creamy, and mellow with flavors of nuts, fruits, butter and caramel.”

THE WINE: 2007 Newton Unfiltered Merlot, Napa.

THE RATIONALE: Big cheddar can ameliorate the tannins in this astringent wine. The fat absorbs the tannin and the salt in the cheese anesthetizes the tongue to its effects.

MY TAKE: Excellent match.


Mahon Reserva

THE CHEESE: Mahon Reserva. A Spanish raw cow’s milk cheese. Rogers’ notes: “Mahon is simultaneously sweet, nutty, sharp and buttery with a light golden paste and a fiery orange rind.

THE WINE: 2009 Numanthia ‘Termes’. A Tempranillo from the Toro region of Spain.

THE RATIONALE: The wine has the fruit to stand up to the sharpness in the cheese.

MY TAKE: Excellent match.

This was a very informative class and these two presenters should consider doing it again.