Advent – Day 3

Wine: Red Blend
Winery: American Vintners (California)
Cheese: Red Leicester

For the third day of Advent we explored the wine labeled “Red Blend”. According to the tasting notes on the American Vintner’s website, it’s a blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with portions of Zinfandel and Syrah. The nose is vibrant, with notes of berries, coffee and spice (vanilla). The palate is pretty bold, the tasting notes say the tannins are “approachable” but I noticed them right off the bat. The tannins are not obnoxiously harsh and bitter, but they are grippy and provide plenty of structure, which compliments the flavors of ripe berries, dark cherry and coffee. The wine is full bodied and has a good, long finish, especially with the lingering tannins. Overall, I give it a 4 (A). With those grippy tannins, the wine will probably age pretty well. Part of me wants to see if I can find a bottle and age it for a few years, see what happens. Oh, I paired this with some homemade minestrone. I’m not much of a soup eater but my wife’s minestrone is full of flavor and I think the Red Blend stood up to it pretty well.

Continuing the “Red” theme, today’s cheese is Red Leicester. I wonder why they call it “Red”, my first thought is somehow red wine or beer was used in the making of the cheese (Ilchester is credited with pioneering “Beer cheese”). While I can’t confirm that, this is a smoky cheese with a little spice and tang. Actually it kinda reminds me a little bit of Win Schuler’s Bar cheese, though more sharp and lacking the horseradish. I’d like to see this cheese in a macaroni & cheese dish. I bet it will be really tasty.

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