Match of the week | Wine and cheese: Rosemary and ewes’ milk cheese and (very) old white rioja

Match of the week

Wine and cheese: Rosemary and ewes’ milk cheese and (very) old white rioja

Last week I hosted a tasting for Wines of Rioja at Cambridge Wine Merchants. You never know quite how these things are going to work out on the day but happily most of the matches were spot on.

The standout pairing for me though was the extraordinary Lopez de Heredia Blanco 1998 - no that’s not a misprint! A 15 year old white made in an oxidised, almost sherry-like style having been aged for six years in cask. That sounds as if it might be unbearably woody but not at all - there was a sherried note to be sure but also a beguilingly honeyed character and a wonderful freshness at the end. An extraordinary wine.

I’d paired it for comparison with a younger oaked white rioja (the 2010 Amaren Rioja Blanco) and chosen a selection of tapas including almonds, ham from Teruel DO, and a delicious rosemary coated ewes’ milk cheese. The cheese and the Tondonia was just brilliant, one of those fabulous matches where each brings out another dimension in the other.

It underlines my conviction that white wine is just as good, if not a better match for cheese than red, albeit a less intuitive one.

You can currently buy the Tondonia Blanco from Cambridge Wine Merchants for £29.95, Fortnum & Mason for £29.50 and Corks of Cotham in Bristol for £28.99

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