Formidable Formaggi

Say cheese (and cheers) at Vino’s Wine & Cheese class

In the centri storici of Italian towns, cheese shops are almost as common as cobbled streets and vintage motorini.

In the "centri storici" of Italian towns, cheese shops are almost as common as cobbled streets and vintage motorini.

Vino’s fall wine classes continue next week with Wine & Cheese. In Europe, Italy’s cheese production and consumption is rivaled only by France and Germany. There are over 400 Italian cheese varieties, some 34 of which are classified under the EU’s PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), which since 1996 has functioned much like Italy’s DOC and DOCG designations.

Like its wine, cheese is produced in every region in Italy, and invariably plays an integral part in Italians’ daily diet. While it is an essential ingredient in many of the country’s most popular recipes, many Italians enjoy eating cheese by itself, or at the very most, paired with a suitable glass of wine.

Italy produces over 1,000 metric tons of cheese per year — for the unprepared cheese shopper the choice can be overwhelming.

Italy produces over 1,000 metric tons of cheese per year — for the unprepared cheese shopper the choice can be overwhelming.

On Wednesday, October 15, join Italian wine aficionado and cheese whiz Jim Hutchinson, DWS, for a tasting of six diverse Italian cheeses, each paired with appropriate wines. Jim will discuss Italy’s cheese production and serving methods, and offer useful tips on how best to pair a cheese with wine. The class is a great opportunity to taste a varied selection of some of Italy’s finest and most popular formaggi, expertly matched with some of Vino’s excellent wines!

Full Wine & Cheese pairings:

1) Robiola Roccaverano: Classic, DOP, all goat’s milk cheese from Piedmont. Soft, ripe and assertive.
Erbaluce Spumante Cuvée Tradizione 2004 Orsolani, Piemonte: Erbaluce specialist Gian Luigi Orsolani uses the Champagne Method to produce one of Piemonte’s finest sparkling wines.

2) Ficcaccio: From Salerno, a buffalo whey cheese aged in the fig leaves with a sweet and quite ‘figgy’ flavor. Produced By Casa Madaio, Eboli, Campania.
Villa dei Pini 2007 D’Angelo, Basilicata: Donato D’Angelo blends Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni to achieve a crisp white with striking personality.

3) Taleggio: Washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from Lombardia. It has a full aroma, a rich and elastic texture and a strong fruity taste.
Valtellina Superiore Sassella 2004 Conti Sertoli Salis, Lombardia: Sub-Alpine Valtellina is the only significant Nebbiolo vineyard outside of Piemonte. Sassella is one of the area’s four DOCG sub-zones.

4) Pecorino di Pienza Gran Riserva: From Fattoria Buca Nuova in the Tuscan town of Pienza, this 10-year-old cheese is among the finest pecorinos in the world.
Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon Tegolaia 2000 Travignoli, Toscana: Giovanni Busi, president of the Chianti Rufina Consortium, has some of the best vineyards in the Chianti Rufina zone. Tegolaia is one of the area’s top Super Tuscans.

5) Parmigiano Reggiano, 24 months: The Cravero family hand-selects young Parmigiano Reggiano from the finest farms of Emilia-Romagna.
Lambrusco Metodo Classico 2003 Lini, Emilia-Romagna: There may not be a better pairing of food and wine than Parmigiano Reggiano and dry Lambrusco. Taste magic from Italy’s culinary heartland.

6) Calcagno: This hand-made sheep’s milk cheese from Sardegna is aged for 4-6 months in the cool caves of Casa Madaio in Campania.
Malvasia Passito Vigna del Volta 2004 La Stoppa, Emilia-Romagna: Rich and aromatic, Elena Pantaleoni’s superb Malvasia passito is one of many wines that have distinguished the historic La Stoppa estate in the Colli Piacentini.

Jim Hutchinson, DWS

Jim Hutchinson, DWS

Wine & Cheese
with Jim Hutchinson, DWS
Wednesday, October 15

121 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016

For more information call (212) 725-6516 or email Check out Vino’s full class schedule for fall 2008.


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