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  • Michael Landis

Champagne, Prosecco & Sparkling wines and entertaining with Cheese


There’s something special when you add a Champagne or Sparkling wine to your event, just the sound makes it exciting. We are fortunate that Champagne, Prosecco and Sparkling wines work very well with cheeses, so it’s not a lot of extra work to make your cheeseboards exceptional. Here are some suggestions on classic pairing with a Domestic Sparkling wine, an Italian Prosecco and a classic French Champagne.


Starting off with a couple of Domestic Sparkling wines, Domaine Carneros Rose & Popup Sparkling, paired up with the Jasper Hill Farm Willoughby and the Belle Chevre Greek Kiss on Rustic Bakery Rosemary, olive oil & sea salt flatbread. Next is with the Nino Franco Prosecco (Wine Spectators “wine of the year) & Giuliana Prosecco, paired with the Jasper Hill Farm Little Hosmer and the BelGioioso Provolone on a Bruschetta both served on a Rustic Bakery Everything Spice flatbread. For those who enjoy bringing more flavors to the brie, add in a little of the Taste Elevated Fig Chutney and some crushed Marcona almonds. Finally the Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne paired up with one of my favorite cheeses in the world Jasper Hill Farm Harbison and to make the final pairing desiccant the Belle Chevre Cream Cheese with smoked Salmon & Caviar on the Rustic Bakery Olive oil & sea salt flatbread.


DOMESTIC SPARKLING & CHEESES

Domaine Carneros Rose & POPUP Sparkling, paired up with the Jasper Hill Farm Willoughby and the Belle Chevre Greek Kiss on Rustic Bakery Rosemary, olive oil & sea salt flatbread.


Domaine Carneros Rose - Domaine Carneros is a winery founded in 1987 in the Los Carneros AVA. Domaine Carneros was established by Champagne Taittinger to create California sparkling wine using the Traditional Method. The business is a joint venture between Champagne Taittinger and Kobrand Corporation. Rosé wines are often believed to be made only from Pinot Noir, but the best, including ours, have Chardonnay added for structure. In creating our Rosé we worked to create a wine of great balance while emphasizing fruity and floral characteristics to a greater extent than in our Brut or Le Rêve. We made this wine by leaving part of the Pinot Noir juice in contact with the skins for three days during harvest. A warm toastiness evolves from this lees contact and combines with the ethereal Pinot Noir fruit character. As the wine ages and the tiny bubbles are formed, an elegant wine of great poise From the acclaimed 2014 vintage, the delicacy of this wine's translucent peach hue belies its full, round palate. On the nose, heady aromas of peaches and cream, red currants, lime blossoms and white flowers beckon the first sip. Silky flavors of wild strawberries, roses and nectarines evoke the bliss of a perfect summer day through the long, lovely finish.


POPUP by Charles Smith - Charles Smith, award-winning Washington State winemaker and founder of Wines of Substance, launches POPUP – a brand new sparkling wine perfect for any holiday gathering, and so much more. POPUP is designed to be enjoyed any day of the week regardless of the occasion. Inspired by the great sparkling wine regions of the world, POPUP is the of-the-moment, approachable and inclusive wine for everyone, featuring an innovative pop-off bottle cap and a colorful pop-art inspired label – the first-ever wine from Charles Smith to feature a full color label. "With POPUP, the goal was to make a delicious sparkling wine that was especially fresh, accessible and easy to drink," said Charles Smith. "With a pop-off bottle cap top, contemporary label and affordable price point, POPUP is an unpretentious take on one of the world's most celebrated traditions: wine with bubbles."


Belle Chevre Greek Kiss a grape Leaf Banon. We take our delectable little 4 oz fresh chevre discs and wrap them delicately in a beautiful brined grape leaf which imparts a surprising hint of Greek essence to our award-winning French cheese! Greek Kiss makes a gorgeous appearance for any cheese plate or first course. Belle Chevre has been making fine goat’s milk cheeses in the tiny town of Elkmont, Alabama for 30 years! We are a passionate company dedicated to using time tested, even ancient, recipes and then putting our own modern spin on them producing some of the best goat cheeses made on the planet. We come from a beautiful history not just from the recipes we use, but from the women makers – from Liz Parnell to Viola Mills to our current chief cheese, Tasia Malakasis. These women, and our current amazing staff of cheesemakers including Terry Mitchell, ensure that the quality and craftsmanship continues to elevate and innovate.


Jasper Hill Farm Willoughby is an original creation of Marisa Mauro’s Ploughgate Creamery, a Cellars collaborator that ceased production of the cheese after a creamery fire in 2011. With Marisa’s blessing we resurrect this pudgy little washed-rind and have continued to develop the recipe at Jasper Hill Creamery. This succulent and buttery washed-rind cheese has aromas of peat, roasted beef and onions – a strong and complex front for the subtle milky, herbal, ripe-peach flavors within. Willoughby has a thin, tender, rosy-orange rind, which adds earthy dimension to the texture and flavors of the gooey interior. Jasper Hill is an independently owned, working dairy farm with an on-site creamery in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Since the company’s inception in 2003 the cheesemaking operations have grown to include a second small creamery and second herd of cows. A Cropping Center, which dries hay for the cows, is responsible for maintaining 976 open acres in a 15-mile radius of Jasper Hill Farm. The Cellars at Jasper Hill, an on-site, underground aging facility, maximizes the potential of cheeses made by the creamery, as well as those made by other local producers. Jasper Hill’s mission is to be a Standard Bearer of Quality and Innovation in the Artisan Cheese Industry and an active participant in the conservation of Vermont’s Working Landscape through the production of high-quality products that reflect a regional Taste of Place.


Rustic Bakery Organic Sourdough Rosemary, olive oil & sea salt flatbread. This flatbread combines the classic flavors of the Mediterranean, the herbaceous rosemary and fresh olive oil. Dried rosemary is kneaded into the dough, making these flatbreads wonderfully aromatic. We produce artisan crackers and breads to complement equally excellent food and wine. We bake everything by hand using only the best organic grains and seeds. They are low in fat, full of nutrients and naturally delicious.


ITALIAN PROSECCO & CHEESES

Nino Franco Prosecco (Wine Spectators “wine of the year) & Giuliana Prosecco, paired with the Jasper Hill Farm Little Hosmer and the BelGioioso Provolone on a Bruschetta both served on a Rustic Bakery Everything Spice flatbread. For those who enjoy bringing more flavors to the brie, add in a little of the Taste Elevated Fig Chutney and some crushed Marcona almonds.


Nino Franco Rustico® Prosecco Superiore DOCG (Wine Spectators “wine of the year) 100% Glera (traditionally called Prosecco) from classic production area hillside vineyards situated at medium to high altitude. The word ‘Rustico’ dates back to an old wine making tradition where Prosecco was made using a short second fermentation in the bottle and leaving the sediments in the wine. Although no longer the technique, the name ‘Rustico’ has remained as a reflection of quality and tradition. Founded in 1919, Nino Franco is one of the oldest wineries in Valdobbiadene and were one of the first producers to export Prosecco outside Italy.


Giuliana Prosecco is a fresh take on classic Italy. This DOC sparkling wine is inspired by Giuliana Rancic, a popular TV host, designer, best-selling author, and mom. Giuliana Prosecco epitomizes affordable luxury, superbly crafted in one of Italy’s premier wine growing regions and brought to consumers at an accessible price point so they may enjoy sparkling elegance during whatever moments life brings.


Jasper Hill Farm Little Hosmer is a Jasper Hill Creamery original, our mini version of a new world-style brie. This cheese is named for a small pond in nearby Craftsbury, Vermont. Little Hosmer Pond is adjacent to Great Hosmer Pond, both favorite destinations for rowing, swimming, fishing and cross-country skiing after a long day of cheesemaking. Naming this little cheese after a Northeast Kingdom gem ties out our quest for meaningful work in a place that we love. Little Hosmer is an approachable and nuanced soft ripened cheese. Beneath its thin, bloomy-rind lies a gooey, milky core showing a complex array of flavors at peak ripeness: cauliflower, crème fraiche, and toasted nuts. A bright, clean finish with a hint of white mushroom aroma follows the rich flavors of the paste.


BelGioioso Provolone is created from a recipe rich in tradition. BelGioioso Provolone carries on a legacy of good taste. Never smoked or bleached, this cheese is crafted from fresh local milk, brined, roped, and hung to age in special curing rooms to develop its signature flavor and tantalizing aroma. BelGioioso offers four varieties of Provolone whose flavors range from mild and buttery to pleasantly aromatic and robust. BelGioioso’s commitment to tradition and excellence carries with it the value of knowing how to make Italian cheeses just as they were long ago from recipes passed down by generations. As the company has grown, the passion for tradition and quality has never diminished. Tradition, selection of ingredients, location and artisan inspiration are cardinal pillars that make BelGioioso cheesemakers the greatest interpreters of the best Italian cheeses in the US.


Rustic Bakery Organic Sourdough Everything Spice flatbread is the perfect crunch of salt, sesame seeds, garlic, onion, and poppy seeds. Rustic Bakery Organic flatbreads and crisps, and that success has lead this small Bay Area operation to create equally delicious cookies and sweets. With Rustic Bakery, the difference is about quality. Case in point: their sourdough starter is 20 years old.


Taste Elevated Fig Chutney is a twist on a classic. We added lots of surprises to this chutney (Sriracha) to make it very unique. It’s great on toast or served with cream cheese and crackers. But, it’s true beauty shines when paired with pork or poultry dishes. Simply serve in a bowl with a spoon as a condiment with these meals and take them to another level! Taste Elevated™ is a labor of love for Lori Krieger. Lori has two passions, first her family (she is the mother of three wonderful boys and one beautiful girl), second, a passion not only for food but entertaining with food. Our chutneys and seasonings are innovative, fresh and bursting with flavor. We encourage you to pair our creations with prepared entrees and as toppings for snacks. Each product in the Taste Elevated™ line was intentionally developed to be versatile and simple to use.


CHAMPAGNE & CHEESES

Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne paired up with one of my favorite cheeses in the world Jasper Hill Farm Harbison and to make the final pairing decadent the Belle Chevre Cream Cheese with smoked Salmon & Caviar on the Rustic Bakery Olive Oil & Sel Gris flatbread.

Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne, the Brut NV represents the epitome of the Piper-Heidsieck style: a classic, well-structured, and fruit forward champagne. Piper-Heidsieck carefully selects fruit from more than 100 of Champagne’s crus to blend the Brut NV. This adds great complexity and dimension to the wine and allows the bold Piper-Heidsieck style to shine through. A majority blend of Pinot Noir provides structure to the composition while Pinot Meunier expands the wine with its brilliant fruit expression and fleshiness and Chardonnay bring elegant tones and acidity. The precious reserve wines create a consistent flavor profile year after year. Structured and full-bodied, A juicy, fleshy pear and golden grape texture. The finish narrows to citrus and grapefruit flavors. As one of the oldest Champagne Houses, Piper-Heidsieck was founded in 1785 with the ambition to “create a Cuvée worthy of a queen,” specifically Marie Antoinette.

Jasper Hill Farm Harbison is named for Anne Harbison, affectionately known as the grandmother of Greensboro. Along with breathtaking views, traditions and people are part of what makes Vermont's working landscape special; we're proud to honor Ms. Harbison's contribution with this cheese. Harbison is a soft-ripened cheese with a rustic, bloomy rind. Young cheeses are wrapped in strips of spruce cambium, the tree's inner bark layer, harvested from the woodlands of Jasper Hill. The spoonable texture begins to develop in our vaults, though the paste continues to soften on the way to market. Harbison is woodsy and sweet, balanced with lemon, mustard, and vegetal flavors.


Belle Chevre Cream Cheese is our original spreadable goat cheese (aka fromage blanc) is the freshest of the goat cheeses. And ours must be the freshest of all because it’s won an unprecedented number of first place awards from the American Cheese Society. Enjoy our original spreadable cheese on a bagel or some toast. Add some jelly or honey and voila! – a delicious and healthy breakfast. Belle Chevre has been making fine goat’s milk cheeses in the tiny town of Elkmont, Alabama for 30 years! We are a passionate company dedicated to using time tested, even ancient, recipes and then putting our own modern spin on them producing some of the best goat cheeses made on the planet. We come from a beautiful history not just from the recipes we use, but from the women makers – from Liz Parnell to Viola Mills to our current chief cheese, Tasia Malakasis.


Rustic Bakery Organic Sourdough Olive Oil & Sel Gris flatbread. Light and flaky, these Olive Oil and Sel Gris Flatbread crackers provide a neutral palate as an accompaniment for your cheese or spread. Located right outside of the San Francisco Bay area, Rustic Bakery has a history of creating high-quality crackers designed to complement fine cheese. Each of their flatbreads are baked by hand with only organic grains and seeds, making them high in fiber and full of nutrients. The Olive Oil and Sel Gris Flatbread features grey sea salt from France and extra virgin olive oil, creating a simple yet decadent flavor. Sturdy enough to support any cheese or spread, this sourdough flatbread is the excellent complement to the Belle Chevre Cream Cheese with Smoked Salmon & Caviar!


HOLIDAY & EVERYDAY ENTERTAINING

My hope is that you don’t wait for a special occasion to enjoy a Sparkling wine, Prosecco or Champagne with your favorite cheese or even cheesy person. There are affordable choices like the POPUP for simple enjoyment and pairings up to the big full Champagnes! Go out grab that cheese and pick up a fun wine, live life and share it with your friends! Happy Holidays, Michael


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