From Guest Monger Debbie Schwalenberg
The nose of the wine is very ripe. Think succulent, fresh blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. Adam and I both detected hints of snozberries. It's perfect for pairing with semi-firm cheeses; very medium-bodied. Tannins seem a bit high at first, but they mellow out quite nicely after it breathes for a minute. There's a slight tingling on the tongue I can't quite place. The finish is pleasantly lingering and mouth-watering with a slight amount of oak.
Origin: Oskaloosa, Iowa
Frisian Farms is a small dairy farm located in the prairie heartland of southeastern Iowa. Frisian Farms is owned and operated by two brothers who come from a long line of dairy farmers originating from the Friesland province in Holland. Jason and Mike Bandstra make cheese from the milk of their own herd of Holstein cows. The dairy was founded by Jason 6 years ago and has grown to 80 cows (small herd). Mike joined later in the operation after working for Horizon Milk in Maryland.
The farm is located near Pella, Iowa, known nationally as a "touch of Holland" with food, shops, crafts and architecture following the Dutch tradition. The Bandstra Brothers' Gouda is an appropriate addition to the tulips and wooden shoes you'll find at the towns celebrations.
The gouda is released to market starting at 2 months old but the age profile that we carry is closer to 12 months. This age profile is complex with a rustic feel of a traditional Dutch Gouda. Fruity in the attack rounded out with green almonds and finishing with a piquant saltiness reminiscent of its alpine cousins. As it ages it develops mellow notes of butterscotch and honey, turns a deep amber color and the texture becomes firm. The firm texture has added density and a satisfying compact mouth-feel.
La Miranda de Secastilla
Producer: Vinas del Vero
Origin: Somontano, Spain
Located in the Aragon Region of Spain, North of Barcelona, Somontano (latin for beneath the mountain) spreads out amongst the foothills of the Pyrenees down to the Ebro Valley. The climate is continental with alluvial soils that are clay based and just tough enough to create interesting Garnacha.
Garnacha (AKA Grenache) is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. It ripens late, so it needs the intense heat of places that is known for this versatile and chameleon-like grape like: Spain and southern France. It is a rather spicy grape with berry flavors. Relatively soft on the palate, it can produce higher alcohol levels and is usually blended due to the lack of acid, tannin and color.
Due to the lack of color and tannin, Grenache makes for beautiful Rose' (Chateau Puech Haut, anyone?) The most popular mixes include Rhone style blends : Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre (GSM) and in the Languedoc one sees Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault blends as the norm. In Chateauneuf-du-Pape Grenache typically makes up 80% of the blend.
Garnacha in Spain is considered the 'workhorse'. Although in the last few decades, Garnacha has once again regained stature amongst the wine grapes with is success in Priorat. This grape is most important in the regions of Rioja, Priorat, where Garnacha is blended to make Tempranillos more approachable and Navarra where Garnacha is the principal grape of the DO .
100% Garnacha, La Miranda has been through some malolactic fermentation, which gives the velvety texture. The wine was then aged 8 months in 2nd and 3rd use french oak barrels.
This wine has aromas of dark fruit with mineral and subtle french oak hints. The mouth is mid bodied, has enough fruit for the faint of heart, but underlying graphite, mineral and grips of espresso that is framed in the gentle oak that is present through the finish. Soft yet noticeable tannins cross the proverbial 't' of the wine.
With the Frisian Farms Gouda, the pairing transforms into a very smooth, and even more palatable experience. They compliment each other beautifully. The fatty nuts (think almonds) play nicely with the ripened fruit. The marrying of salty and sweet is super rad. I would imagine most of our aged, Spanish cheeses would go very well with this wine. You know, what grows together, goes together.
Also, does anyone taste hints of a cheeseburger with grilled onions?
Cesar, Jill & Debbie