Archive for the 'Cheese' Category


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day forty-six

Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2007Unfortunately,  this will be quick. It’s unfortunate because I know I’ve got a good bottle of wine for the Californian Cabernet Sauvignon mini tour. It’s Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from, well, 47% is from Mendocino County, 37% is from Lake Country, and the remaining 16% is from Napa County. Oh, this will be fun and schizophrenic.

As soon as I poured the wine into the glass I smelled darkness. And I smelled dark berries and currants. It smelled big and earthy. It looks big and earthy. Even its meniscus is dark for a meniscus.

As I put it to my nose I smell vibrancy and depth.  Also, there are sour cherries and cassis and just a hint of vanilla. It’s kinda funky, too, but in a good way like Roger Clinton funky.

The texture is smooth and round. It finishes with white pepper and bing cherries. There are some plums in there, too, and it’s helping create that smooth, round texture.

I’m enjoying the size of the body, too.

Everything seems to be jiving together well. I know I’ve been giving points lately, even though I don’t like to, but this one gets 89.

I’ll come back in an hour and update that.

Ok. Here I am. Back again. Smooth and enjoyable. It’s pushing 90.

If you have this with Yancey’s Fancy Champagne Aged Cheddar Cheese and Kashi’s TLC roasted garlic & thyme party crackers, then Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 is easily a 90 and pushing 91.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day thirty-nine – now with more cheese

Oh, this will be a fun post because it will have a wine tasting and a cheese tasting.

Cabot Seriously Sharp CheddarThe reason for the cheese tasting began with my girlfriend’s father saying Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese was the best cheddar cheese. You know, the one from Cabot, VT, with the plaid packaging. It’s actually Tartan packaging, which is probably the reason he likes it since he has Scottish blood in him.

Heluva Good! Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar CheeseI immediately thought Heluva Good!, from Sodus, NY, made a some good sharp cheddar cheese. So then the challenge was instigated in my mind. When I arrived back in my hometown, I went to Wegmans to get Heluva Good! Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese to enter into the contest.

Yancey's Fancy XXX Sharp Cheddar CheeseThen when I was at Wegmans I thought to broaden the contest to another fine northeast cheese maker, Yancey’s Fancy, from Corfu, NY. The cheese representing Yancey’s Fancy is the XXX Sharp Cheddar Cheese. This one is currently favored to win the contest.

Let’s do some odds for the contest.

Yancey’s Fancy is even money, 1:1.

Heluva Good! is 2:1.

Cabot is 3:2.

Though I think Cabot will have the best texture because it will have a creamy edge to it as well.

Those are my odds. My girlfriend thinks Yancey’s Fancy will win and Cabot and Heluva Good! will tie.

But before we get to that, we have a wine tasting to attend to. We need to do that before we get fromage interference.

Brazin Lodi Old Vine Zin 2007This wine is the Brazin Lodi Old Vine Zin 2007. (For more information about Lodi Old Vine Zinfandels from California, see day thirty-one’s post.) We also had this Zinfandel when visiting my girlfriend’s father and his wife. Everyone enjoyed this wine, but what do you expect from an old vine wine. I was a little skeptical of its texture, though, since it seemed slightly like an oil slick. Alas, I now have a reason to drink this wine. For verification reasons!

But first, a zinful lesson.

Research has now shown that the Zinfandel grape originated in Croatia, and then made famous in the early days of Italy and the Roman Empire. The original wine is now known as “primitivo”. The original Croatian name for this grape is Crljenak. Zinfandel first came to California in the early 1800s. (See


I held up this zin to the light and could see through it. This is thin for a zin.

Well, there’s definitely a peppery nose with a faint hint of plums and cherries. I also get leather. There’s also something like a roast on the nose. My girlfriend gets olives, but I get olive oil.

I still get the oily texture, but it’s less oily this time. There are plums and pepper on the palate. (Listen to that alliteration.)

The Zin finishes tart, but also with mint and a hint of pepper that lingers. (Listen to all those in sounds.)

This could be a real good wine if it had a bigger body. Because it’s so thin, the tart finish dominates and distracts. (Listen to all those tees, esses, and in sounds.)

So what it comes down to is price. For $13, I’m iffy. If it had that bigger body, then $13 would be a good price. For now, I might pay $9 to drink this wine again.

But you know what?! There’s cheese to come. I think that will help this wine a lot.

This cheese tasting will be blind. First my girlfriend will go, and then I will.

Here are my girlfriend’s tastings:

  • Helluva Good! – She says it’s medium. On a scale of 1-10 it is a 6.
  • Cabot – This one she likes better. It’s sharper. It is a 9.
  • Yancey’s Fancy – “This one is a little weird tasting.” It’s bitter. It’s a 3.

My tastings:

  • Helluva Good! – This one is okay, a bit dry, and it has a semi-sharp but creamy finish. I’ll give this a 7.
  • Cabot – This one is better. Sharper. I’ll give it an 8.5.
  • Yancey’s Fancy – This one is unique. It’s neither here nor there, but I like the bizarre and bitter finish. I’ll give it 6.

If you chose Cabot, you won some money. My predictions were backwards. Cabot wins. Helluva Good! comes in second. And Yancey’s Fancy comes in third, which is a surprise because they usually have wonderful cheeses.

These testing will need to be repeated again, you know, for verification reasons.

Oh, and now the wine has a mushroom taste to it.

Until next time – day forty.//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

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