Ihave an incredible staff that brings a lot of passion and knowledge to the Wine, Beer and Cheese Department. They are all true foodies who frequently offer new product ideas that they’ve discovered and want to share with our customers. Here, in their own words, are some of their current favorites available at the Co-op.
Kevin is the veteran in the department and is a true epicure
2011 Franck Peillot Bugey Mondeuse
Franck Peillot is a charming guy, an honest vigneron. Humble but not shy, unafraid to profess a little pride behind his wines. I thought this when I met him a couple years ago, tasting excellent Altesse, Mondeuse and Pinot Noir from his vineyards in Bugey, a little appellation between Savoie and Jura in Southeastern France. Trade tastings are such that I get a brief spat of information from the proprietor, a small pour of each wine, which also gets spat, and many small inspirations that need to be explored in greater depth later. Certain wines stand out at these tastings, and for the past three years Peillot’s Mondeuse has been one of those for me. Not because it offers some life-changing sensory experience, but because it is honest and charming: a well-structured wine with a sense of place, enough acid to work brilliantly with hearty food, and low alcohol content to ensure plenty of glasses for pleasurable drinking.
Mondeuse is a grape indigenous to Bugey, and while you’ll find it grown in small amounts in other places, it’s best to start here if you’re not familiar. It makes wine with structure and soft fruit that should please Pinot Noir drinkers and spicy aromas that will keep fans of northern Rhone-style Syrah with their noses in the glass. Compared to the near-transparent red wines of the neighboring Jura, made from Poulsard and Trousseau, Mondeuse makes a deeply colored wine but remains light and refreshing. In its youth the wine tends to be grapey and fresh, taking on wilder garrigue and pepper with a little age.
Bugey is famous for its poultry, and while you probably won’t be serving poulet de Bresse for the November holiday, this Mondeuse with its brooding fruit and spicy notes of pepper and cedar should be perfect alongside turkey or game meats, and definitely the right thing to drink once that autumnal weather actually arrives.
2011 Franck Peillot Bugey Mondeuse is imported by Louis/Dressner and retails for $19.99 at the Co-op.
GUSTOSELLA Mozzarella di Bufala
All summer we get excited about burrata arriving fresh to our distributor from Italy weekly to complete our Insalata Caprese, or to eat on crostini with olive oil and cracked pepper. Throughout the year we have another beautiful, fresh cheese— a Mozzarella di Bufala branded “Gustosella” by the producer Caseifi cio Collebianco. This particular mozzarella stands out among brands I’ve tasted. It arrives with DOP Campana certifi cation and an additional note that no preservatives are added, so it is necessarily sent in fresh batches from southern Italy. I get to taste a lot of exciting, interesting and complex cheeses working here, but this mozzarella reminds me of the versatile and reliable nature (and joy) of simple foods. With oil and pepper, on pizza or in pasta, this is always a favorite.
Malena is new to the department but not to the store. She’s worked
CHATEAU de VAUGAUDRY CHINON
Produced in the Loire valley in France, this is a suffi ciently fruity and robust wine with beautiful aromas. The nose presents dark cherry and pepper. Earthy with well-structured yet mellow tannins and a spicy fi nish. This softly textured Cab Franc pairs perfectly with steak, lamb or burgers.
RUSTIC BAKERY Sourdough Flatbreads with Olive Oil and Sel Gris
These delicious crackers are made with organic olive oil and grey sea salt from France and produced locally in Marin County. They are an excellent co mplement to all cheeses and spreads including Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam, Fourme D’Ambert Bleu and Brie de Nangis. Available on our olive bar.