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A Cabernet Franc and Getting Schooled on Cheese

This past weekend was our first official weekend out on the town as Vino & Vintage. We began our journey by attending the Reading Terminal Wine & Cheese Tasting in Philadelphia. Though the event itself was not quite what we were expecting, we left feeling a little more knowledgeable and a lot more motivated to begin this new adventure.

Some Friday night traffic, frustrating one-way streets and challenging parking lots later, we made it to the event a little late (ok, a lot). Though we missed the wine presentation, we were still able to sample a few of the varieties. We walked in just in time to start with a light, white pinot grigio, though we were never able to find out the make. We followed with a Cabernet Franc by Ravines. It was the first time sampling a Cabernet Franc for both of us and we agreed it was our favorite. A light red wine, it was refreshing, fruity and soft. To end, we had a merlot. Coincidentally it came from Pennswood Winery in Chadds Ford, PA, about an hour drive from Philadelphia. This weekend we will be attending the Wine & Cupcake Pairings at the winery, featuring Dia Doce, winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Nothing like a good local wine…while it was a bit on the strong side, it was unique and full of flavor.

Though we missed most of the Wine goodness, we were very fortunate to have been able to attend the 2nd half of the presentation….all about CHEESE!  We had not expected to get schooled on le fromage, but while sampling quite a few local cheeses (including a Havilah from Jersey and an Old Gouda from Hidden Hills Dairy in Everett, PA) we were pleasantly surprised to learn some important tidbits. Just to name a few… did you know that beta-carotene gives cheese that yellowish glow? Some cheeses (particularly goat) may be sprinkled with ash to help neutralize the acidity. Gruyere is one of the best cheeses to cook with. Brie cheese goes well with white wine. Many cheeses can actually be paired better with beer…particularly a golden ale or lager.

While we had anticipated something different, we enjoyed our time at the Reading Terminal Market Wine & Cheese Tasting. Paul Steinke, General Manager of the market, is a Penn State Alum and you couldn’t help but notice the school’s memorabilia decorating the tables. We felt a little as though we had intruded upon a small college reunion, but at the end of day, the presentation was definitely a benefit to us. This Friday we will be attending our first class at The Wine School of Philadelphia and the Reading Terminal event served almost as a nice precursor to the class.

A toast to all the adventures that lie ahead…cheers to vino!

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