All hail the sunny season: the fleeting time before the crippling heat and oppressive humidity of summer turns every New Yorker into a neurotic puddle of pain, like a real-world version of a Woody Allen character. All hail spring.
One of the most essential ways to welcome spring is to consume mass amounts of rosé wine. Truth right there. It's even referenced in some sort of farmers' almanac from the turn of the century, or maybe it was the Bible? Google it.
Anyway, rosé is rad. Or rosado or rosato or roséwein or Pinkie, or whatever you want to call it. The process of leaving the grape skins in touch with the wine for a few days creates a dazzling hue that can range from pale yellowish to deep purple. And while wine is a wonder and just so damn tasty, I am not a wine expert. I am a cheese expert, and what goes great with wine?
God, I love when you play along. That's right: CHEESE. Some incredible pairings are:
Kunik and a Northeastern Italian Veneto wine The relatively light and floral wines from this northeastern region of Italy lend themselves nicely to a full-bodied, rich, and creamy mixed-milk cheese. Kunik, from Nettle Meadow Farms in Warrenburg, New York, is a decadent goat's milk cheese that has Jersey cow's milk cream added to it, thus qualifying it as a triple cream. Produced in a similar manner to a triple crème, these wheels have a pillowy rind of candidum mold, creating a cloud-like appearance. With a thin cream line toward the rind, Kuniks are dense and velvety in the center, almost like a goat's milk cake. The fatty cow cream mellows out the barn-forward notes that are often associated with goat's milk, and the end result is an orgasmic seduction not unlike laying nude on a white sand beach, right at the break where the waves stroke the shore. Nettle Meadow Farms adopts farm animals from farmers who have lost their land and need to close shop, so they act as a kind of convalescent home for old guys, and that'll make you feel something, too.
Vermont Shepherd and Austrian wine The higher acidity levels and more floral-forward notes of Austrian rosés—in particular, the Schilcher variety—lend themselves nicely to the flinty, slightly wooly, sheep's milk cheeses inspired by the history of the famed Pyrenees. Similar to Abbaye de Belloc or Ossau Iraty, Vermont Shepherd captures the grassy, smooth wildflower notes of the animals' diets, creating a dense pasted wheel that has a wide range of fruity hints, not unlike a midnight cruise through the Castro in San Francisco. Made in Putney, Vermont, by a family-run dairy, Vermont Shepherd is an incredible domestic dream of raw sheep's milk glory. Glory, I say. The rich and fatty sheep's milk is lightened and sweetened by the wine, creating an orgy of peace and pleasure all up in your pie hole.
One thing to be really careful about when pairing rosé and cheese—or any booze and any cheese—is to not get too wrapped up in the dos and don'ts. Sure, there are rules of thumb. (Rosé and a ripe Camembert might make you gag a little.) But it's best to try things out and find out what you like, because you might not like what I like. And even though you would be wrong, you're allowed to be wrong, 'cause this is America, dammit—for those of you reading this in America—and we are wrong all the time.
I've said it before, and I will keep on saying it: Drinking and eating are the best. Add some sunshine and a little buzz, and you might just find heaven.