Harbison + Mandrake Cabernet Sauvignon
THE CHEESE: Harbison was named Best American Cheese in the World Cheese Awards last year. That’s a big deal! One taste and you’ll see why. It’s got the custard, eggy flavor of a perfectly ripened brie, with a woodsy, earthy flavor. The latter comes from the strips of spruce it’s wrapped in. The farm still harvests and prepares them by hand from nearby woods.
The cheesemakers tried several different barks before setting on spruce as the one that gave the cheese a pleasurable and distinct smokey flavor with notes of pine.
The presentation on this one is a STUNNER! You slice off the op and scoop it out with a spoon onto a cracker or baguette or straight into your mouth.
THE WINE: Wine geeks typically think of Zinfandel when they think of California’s Paso Robles region. But some of the region’s winemakers are expanding into Cabernet Sauvignon, and we are lucky for it.
While many Paso Robles Cabernets can be heavy-handed and overly ripe, this one is not. This is a brighter, softer Cabernet. There are no aggressive tannins and heavy oak flavors here. Instead, you get a dark, rich wine with intense aromatics. Think black cheery, black mission fig and zesty red currants. On the palate, you get blackberry, plum and a hint of cocoa powder. In other words, all those foods you are afraid to pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon, rethink those assumptions with this lighter, but still full flavored version.
THE PAIRING: The deep umami and woody notes in the Harbison are the perfect foil for the dark, woodsy Cabernet, and its tannic structure offsets the fattiness of the cheese.