A wine time in Durango

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A wine time in Durango

Locals celebrate spring with the fruit of the vine
Supporters of the Durango Arts Center gather in the garden of the Rochester Hotel to celebrate the Durango Kentucky Derby fundraiser, a popular event of the Durango Wine Experience, held May 3-5 in various locations throughout Durango.
Guests enjoyed more than 100 vintages and 17 events at the sixth annual Durango Wine Experience.
Southern gentlemen of Durango Chris Burnett and Walt Dear pause in the Rochester Hotel courtyard before the broadcaste of the Run for the Roses.
Kentucky Hot Browns, chocolate bourbon pecan pie and crudites, three signature treats at Southern garden parties, were served at Durango’s Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Partiers at Durango’s Kentucky Derby enjoy the specialty cocktail, a “John Daly” vodka-infused sweet tea and lemonade.
More than 600 wine lovers gathered under the big tent at the First National Bank of Durango for the finale of the 2012 Durango Wine Experience, Saturday’s Grand Tasting.
Bartender Chris Hughes serves “Arnold Palmers” during the “Talk Derby to Me” event on Kentucky Derby Day at the Rochester Hotel in Durango Saturday.
A drink during the “Talk Derby to Me” event on Kentucky Derby Day at the Rochester Hotel in Durango Saturday.
DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 05/05/12 - Socializing during the "Talk Derby to Me" event on Kentucky Derby Day at the Rochester Hotel in Durango Saturday.
Italy’s cheeses pair perfectly with wine

There was little to whine about at the first seminar of the sixth annual Durango Wine Experience, held May 3 at Guido’s Favorite Foods. “Formaggi i Vini: Italian Cheese & Wine” addressed the marriage of wine and cheese, an old, blessed union as beloved as sunshine and fresh air.
Guido’s resident cheese monger Sean Devereaux made a solid case for pairing “Protected Designation of Origin,” or PDO, cheeses with Denominazione di Origine Controllata wines, also known as DOC wines, from Italy.
The small but attentive crowd listened to Devereaux’s explanation of “cheese production 101,” while sampling cheeses from the tip to the toe of the boot, matched with wines often from the same region.
PDO cheeses are among a class of foods regulated by a union of European governments to be of genuine origin of a particular region. As with the appellation systems used in the wine world, European Union law attempts to protect the reputation of regional foods so consumers are not purchasing products with the same name label, but possibly of inferior quality offered at lower prices. Certain hams, olives and traditional Balsamic vinegar of Modena are examples of PDO foods.
“Robbiola – it’s my favorite cheese for bubbles,” Devereaux said of the first pairing in the hour and a half sampling seminar.
Ruffino prosecco, an extra dry and mildly sweet sparkling wine with apple, pear and citrus aromas and a floral finish, was paired with Robbiolo Bosina, a creamy blend made from sheep and cow’s milk from the Langhe region of northern Italy.
Pairing the traditional foods and wines of a particular region makes perfect sense, Devereaux said, but pairing wines and cheeses can also go beyond geographic boundaries. For example, a buttery, aromatic cheese should be balanced with a wine complex enough to enhance its full flavor, such as the Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2007, a medium, full-bodied wine with ripe tannins.
The Grenache grape wine of Sardinia, in Italy’s south, pairs well with strong cheeses such as Taleggio from the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Devereaux served Taleggio, a semi-soft, washed rind cheese made from cow’s milk, over creamy polenta.
Barbera D’Asti, a crowd-pleasing, full-bodied red wine featuring the Barbera grape grown in the hilly Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, is rich and tangy enough to serve with most meats and heartier Italian entrees, Devereaux said.
He offered it with Pecorino Toscano, (Tuscan pecorino) a firm textured, nutty-flavored, sheep’s milk cheese that pairs well with fruit jams and jellies. A slightly sweet Balsamic white jelly was drizzled over the one-ounce portion of pecorino, which was served with the Barbera D’Asti.
“Reggiano is the king of Italian cheeses,” Devereaux said.
The rich, salty cheese should never be sliced but instead should be broken with a hard cheese knife, so the rugged edge can soak up a drizzle of Balsamic or stand well with a slice of prosciutto, Devereaux said.
Parmigiano Reggiano is a PDO cheese produced in the provinces of Parma, Reggio-Emilia and specific regions in Bologna and Mantua. This hard cheese often is grated and served over pasta and traditionally is paired with a Chianti, such as the Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico selected by Devereaux. Made with Sangiovese grapes, Chianti pairs well with fruit, nuts and salami.
Devereaux also paired a dessert-like Gabbiano Moscato wine with a creamy Gorgonzola dolloped on a sun-dried pear and lightly drizzled with local Colorado Bee Tree raw honey for a classic teaming of contrasting flavors and textures.
Devereaux classified cheeses by describing processing methods ranging from fresh, unripened varieties such as mascarpone and ricotta, to cooked, pressed, and ripened selections such as Parmesan, Pecorino and asiago. Textures, how rinds are formed and physical characteristics such as color also are used to distinguish between cheese varieties.
When a cheese course preceeds dessert, mild, softer cheeses traditionally are offered first, starting with goat, then sheep and finally cow. Hard, more intensely flavored and increasingly aromatic cheeses, such as blue cheese, are served last. The cheese course should be acccompanied by plain baguettes or water crackers of neutral flavors, Devereaux said.
Crunchy counterpoints include walnuts, almonds, sliced apples and pears.

A wine time in Durango

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Supporters of the Durango Arts Center gather in the garden of the Rochester Hotel to celebrate the Durango Kentucky Derby fundraiser, a popular event of the Durango Wine Experience, held May 3-5 in various locations throughout Durango.
Purchase
Guests enjoyed more than 100 vintages and 17 events at the sixth annual Durango Wine Experience.
Southern gentlemen of Durango Chris Burnett and Walt Dear pause in the Rochester Hotel courtyard before the broadcaste of the Run for the Roses.
Purchase
Kentucky Hot Browns, chocolate bourbon pecan pie and crudites, three signature treats at Southern garden parties, were served at Durango’s Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Purchase
Partiers at Durango’s Kentucky Derby enjoy the specialty cocktail, a “John Daly” vodka-infused sweet tea and lemonade.
Purchase
More than 600 wine lovers gathered under the big tent at the First National Bank of Durango for the finale of the 2012 Durango Wine Experience, Saturday’s Grand Tasting.
Purchase
Bartender Chris Hughes serves “Arnold Palmers” during the “Talk Derby to Me” event on Kentucky Derby Day at the Rochester Hotel in Durango Saturday.
Purchase
A drink during the “Talk Derby to Me” event on Kentucky Derby Day at the Rochester Hotel in Durango Saturday.
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DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 05/05/12 - Socializing during the "Talk Derby to Me" event on Kentucky Derby Day at the Rochester Hotel in Durango Saturday.
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