Sottocenere al Tartufo + Joan d’Anguera Altaroses Montsant
THE CHEESE: Truffles are the ultimate holiday indulgence, and Sottocenare al Tartufo (truffles in Italian) is a great way to incorporate them into your holiday menu. Unlike many “truffle cheeses,” which just rub some truffle oil on the rind, this cheese has actual truffles IN the cheese as well as on the rind.
It’s made by a creative Italian cheesemaker who took the centuries-old tradition of aging cheese under ash (Sottocenare means “under the ashes”) and made it his own. Not only did he add truffles to the cheese, he also amped up the rind by adding nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, licorice, cloves, and fennel to his ash. And then he rubbed the rind with a healthy dose of truffle oil.
The taste is mild, but you definitely taste the truffles. This cheese is perfect for adding a touch of luxury to any cheese plate It is also a key ingredient in making the best truffle mashed potatoes ever.
THE WINE: Joan d’Anguera Altaroses Montsant.
What happens when you take two brothers who grew up in Spanish wine country, but wanted to do something different? You get this certified biodynamic and organic wine. It’s Spanish Catalan wine in a nutshell.
The Anguera brothers labeled their wine as a “Granatxa,” the old Catalan name for Garnacha, as an emblem of their focus on adhering to the lighter, traditional style of wines that used to be made in Montsant. This expressive, medium-weight wine has soft tannins and nice notes of wild strawberries and stone fruits. It’s a well-balanced, easy drinking wine.
THE PAIRING: The smokiness of the Montsant grape pairs well with the smoked & ash-rinded cheese. The plushness of the weight of the grape also matches the decadent nature of the cheese.