Next week, we are running a wine & cheese event with dibrunos. Emilio & I hammered out the list , and it s going to be a winner. Emilio has the passion, and talking to him for an hour about the wine & cheese pairings was an amazing experience. His passion & loquacity in cheese really gave me the run for my money.

Here is the list we came up with:

Wines of Spain & Portugal

1. Hermanos Lurton 2005 Rueda Rueda is a village & DO in Castile-Leon, Spain. The region produces white wines made from the Verdejo.
Cheese: Nevat

Nevat is very unique, soft-ripened goat cheese from Catalunya. Nevat has a beautiful bloomy white rind and a semi soft texture. The flavor is delicate and sweet with a slight tang. Nevat is hand-formed with a cheesecloth, producing a rounded square with a turned up point in the middle. The name means “snowed” in Catalan.

2. Allende 2003 Rioja

Saturated medium ruby. Aromas of currant, chocolate, spice, smoke and truffle. Superripe and impressively concentrated; full, round, broad and deep. Thick, fruit-driven flavors of roasted currant, raspberry and plum.

CABRA PIMENTAO, goat

A semi-hard goat cheese from the Trasmontana region of Spain. The cheese is rubbed with olive oil and paprika which gives it a pleasantly piquant flavor with a long finish.

3. Venta Mazzaron 2002 Tempranillo, Zamora

A sweet perfume of blackberries, cherries, smoke, licorice, and earth. Medium-bodied and elegant, with wonderful sweetness (fruit not sugar, fyi), plush tannin.

IDIAZABAL, sheep

The name Idiazábal (the town in Navarra) became known in the markets as being synonymous with Queso Vasco (Basque cheese). Normally this cheese is smoked with beechwood, hawthorn or cherry wood.

Idiazábal is a robust and sharp cheese with well-defined characteristics: unpasteurized whole sheep’s milk from Lacha or Carranzana breeds, with high acidity and low fat, coagulated with natural young lambs’ rennet giving it a slight piquant taste.

4. Borsao 2003 Tres Picos Garnacha, Borja

It is a lovely, expressive, deep ruby-tinged wine offering sweet aromas of kirsch liqueur, licorice, white pepper, and dusty, loamy characteristics. Full-bodied, supple textured, flashy, and flavorful.

ARTISAN MANCHEGO, sheep

Manchego is named for the Spanish region of La Mancha. The aroma should suggest lanolin and roast lamb. It is sold at various stages of maturity: at the age of 13 weeks it is described as curado (cured) and, when over three months old it is referred to as viejo (aged). There is a peppery bite to cheeses that have reached a great age.

5. Mustiguillo 2004 Mestizaje, Terrerazo

Sweet cherry, minerals, flowers and nutty oak on the nose. Sweet, lush and sappy, with a pliant flavor of dark cherry. Creamy-sweet but with vibrant acidity. Finishes with smooth tannins.

AGED MAHON, cow

This cheese has a confluence of subtle tastes. Buttery, salty, nutty and all in small degrees. Mahon is a traditional, creamery, unpasteurized, hard cheese. It is produced from cow’s milk on Minorca, the outermost of the three Spanish Balearic Islands.

Blandy’s 5 Year Verdelho Madiera

Rich and elegant, with layers of delicious dried apricot, pear and butterscotch flavors. Sweet, creamy notes fill the long, spicy finish. Excellent balance, structure and freshness.

CABRALES, VALDEON, cow

A rough-rinded Spanish blue cheese. A renowned blue cheese from Northern Spain (region of Asturias) Cabrales is made from blended cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk (not in winter when only cow’s milk is available) . It is matured in naturally-formed caves and has a creamy texture, a complex flavor and a powerful bouquet. Cabrales is salted, wrapped in foil and matures for 6 months in natural limestone caverns.

7. Noval LB Porto

Classic vintage character Port is aged for between four and five years in wood before bottling and blended from a number of different vintages. Sweet, ripe plum, coffee, chocolate and peel aromas. Good ripe, easy fruit. Lovely long length and good spicy style.

AGED PECORINO TOSCANO (w/ truffle honey)