Guest contributor: Jessica Sennett, Inventor of The Cheese Grotto
All photos: Jess Hitt
Summer in the Northeast has officially started when a bottle of Rosé wine has been opened. The wine is refreshing, easy to drink, and a refreshing alternative to drinking light to medium-bodied red wine. Although Rosé is technically made from red-wine grapes, it is vinified like a white. It obtains its pinkish hue by its brief contact with the skins of the black grapes. In result, the flavor profile and the nose of the wine is often round and fruity like strawberries, raspberries, and cherries. Rosé should be served cold and crisp, between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but according to wine specialist Alan Richman, he can still enjoy sipping on a 75 degree Rosé. It pairs well with charcuterie, cheeses, and fresh fruit.
This is the wine of picnic heaven!
When the sun comes out in Brooklyn, I’ll take any excuse to stand and sit in the sun, including throwing a picnic in my backyard. I selected cheeses that have the flavor profile to mingle well with a glass of Rosé, cheeses that don’t overpower the wine, and cheeses that naturally accent the notes of the wine. Our featured Rosé of the day was the Dry Rosé from Brooklyn Winery, a Brooklyn-based winery that sources its grapes from the West and East Coasts. Their description of their wine is an excellent, poetic guide: “Citrus and tropical elements mingle with strawberry-laden brioche and spice throughout the round mouthfeel and exuberant finish.”
Below are my recommendations for this tantalizing wine! So, go forth and have a Rosé picnic…don’t forget to play with your cheese and wine senses!
Fresh to soft-ripened goat cheeses
Ah, yes, the varietals of goat cheese that inspire thoughts of the Loire Valley in France. The Loire Valley is the home of small shapes of fresh and soft-ripened goat cheeses, which originated with the nomadic Arab tribes of Saracens, before the 8th Century. Now you can find versions of cheeses such as Crottin, Valencay, and St. Maure in different parts of Europe and America. Naturally, these cheese styles are good pairing for Rosé, as that is one of the popular wines of the Loire Valley. In the spirit of Brooklyn Winery, I chose to feature two American interpretations of these longstanding cheese traditions. The natural acidity and light-bodied characteristics of these styles make them an excellent vessel for pairing,
Recommended Cheese: The Painted Goat, Fresh Button & Piper’s Pyramide by Capriole
Recommended perfect bites: Navel Orange, Painted Goat Fresh Button, and lemon mint.
Medium bodied semi-hard cheeses
I took this next cheese inspiration from another region in France: The Midi-Pyrenees. The Rosé produced in this region is also dry in characteristic, with high minerality. The cheese from this region is often medium-bodied, grassy, mellow nutty, semi hard, with a luscious texture that melts on your tongue, such a Bethmale. Again, I chose an American counterpart to feature that highlights these similar characteristics.
Recommended Cheese: Point Reyes Toma
Recommended perfect bite: (above) Pistachio-Orange Honey Lattice Cookie, Piper’s Pyramide, Apricot, and Edible Flower. (below) Bresaola, Cherry, Honeycomb, Point Reyes Toma, and Thyme
The Cheese Grotto is a humidor inspired by age-old traditions of cheese storage. Coveted by top specialty cheese specialists, the Grotto is the perfect tool for keeping your cheese at room temperature, or in the fridge. Made by a specialty company in Virginia out of all natural materials, the Grotto’s purpose is to promote the health, longevity, and quality of specialty cheeses from around the world. Its footprint is small enough to bring outside for an outdoor picnic, but large enough to store up to 6 pounds of cheese varieties – which will totally cover all your picnic cheese needs!