This week’s educational wine tasting has a unique international flair, with wines from Argentina and cheese from France.
La Riojana Wines, one of the largest cooperatives in Argentina, is also the country’s third largest exporter of wine by volume. Their cooperative is made up of over 500 producer partners, including some who have been with the company since its inception. The vast majority of those partners are small-scale producers, most of whom own three hectares or less of land. According to the company, “They are the backbone, the foundation, to the winery’s success and everything La Riojana does is based on providing help, support, and services that allow our members and their families to grow and prosper in their own communities across La Rioja province.” As with any cooperative business model, every one of those members has a vote in deciding the direction and policies of the company, which provides every member a higher than average market price for their grapes. Members also benefit through collective purchasing of services and products, which provides them with lower prices, financial support to help them through difficult times, and technical or agricultural advice. The company notes, “By working closely with our members, we are able to ensure that all the products produced by La Riojana (from wines, sparkling wines, grape juice, to olive oil) meet the highest quality standards expected by our international partners and customers.”
A selection of wines from La Riojana will be paired with the French blue cheese Bleu d’Auvergne. Named after its place of origin, this cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. While it’s somewhat similar to a Roquefort, it has a reputation of being more creamy and buttery than its sheep’s-milk cousin from farther south in the countryside. As with all blue cheeses, d’Auvergne has the signature blue-green veins caused by the Penicillium mold. Aged for at least four weeks, it has a smooth texture with a moist, sticky rind and taste that has been described as “grassy, herbaceous, and (with age) spicy, peppery, salty, pungent.” According to Cheese.com, it is best served with sweet desert wines or strong, robust red wines and is often used in salads or with pastas.
The tasting will be on Friday, October 19th from 3pm to 6pm in the center of our store. Hope to see you there.