Cheese and wine: a happy marriage with Carpineto bottles

L’estate sta finendo (Summer is ending) said a famous Italian song from a few years back. September opens its doors to autumn and to one of the most beautiful seasons for us wine lovers. The reason why is very simple: the harvest begins and the aromas of the must fills the air. That same air that, above all as evening draws in, becomes cooler and cooler, inviting us to calmly sip our favourite wines. With the right pairing, the pre-autumnal experience of wine, the one which slowly leads us towards the balmy and still bright days of September, really becomes unforgettable. Today we would, therefore, like to talk about cheese and wine. A grand classic, you might say. And you wouldn’t be wrong.

The loving marriage as told by Luigi Veronelli has always been among the historical pairings in the variegated world of food and wine. But what marriage are we talking about? In Italy there are so many cheeses, each one with its own peculiarities. Therefore, let us find out about some of the less famous ones, making sure that one of our bottles is always close by.

Conciato Romano and Carpineto Vinsanto del Chianti 1999

Let’s start with a true gem. Some say that Conciato Romano is even the oldest cheese in the world. Indeed, despite the name, it seems that it was already produced by the ancient Samnite population. And, also despite the name, the production area is not Lazio but upper Campania, in the province of Caserta. The production is based on young goat’s rennet, cow’s milk or – more often than not – sheep’s or goat’s milk. After salting and drying, the wheels are “seasoned”. That means: covered with a mixture of olive oil, vinegar and ground chilli pepper. After this, the cheese is stored in terracotta amphorae or – in more recent times – in glass jars.

Conciato Romano is a very intense cheese, with a strong olfactory persistence and decisive taste ranging from a ripe fruit aroma to a slightly spicy aftertaste. It is by no coincidence often accompanied by fig preserve, honey or arbutus berry preserve.

Precisely for its strong taste personality, we propose a pairing expressed by correspondence and not by contrast: our Vinsanto del Chianti 1999. A wine with the same personality, capable of expressing an almost infinite olfactive bouquet, from dried fruit to walnut husk; from apricot to white flowers and to honey. The perfect travel companion for your slice of Conciato.

Marzolino di Lucardo and Carpineto Vermentino Valcolomba

Naturally our region of Tuscany couldn’t be left out of this overview of “rare” Italian cheeses. It has always been the land of great cheeses: just consider, for example, the marvellous Pienza and its tradition of sheep’s cheeses. In this tour of ours we will move slightly further north of the province of Siena. We are in Lucardo, a hamlet in the Municipality of Montespertoli, in the province of Florence. This is where Marzolino, a raw curd sheep’s milk cheese, semi-hard, of short or medium maturity is produced. Its production method is rather peculiar: it is made by coagulating the milk with vegetable rennet made from dried cardoon flowers. The result is a cheese of great persistence, with a herby and straw aroma, ideal for daily consumption.

The recommended pairing is with a white wine with a good balance between freshness, sapidity and smoothness. With an aroma of white flowers and aromatic herbs that also recalls the herbaceous notes of the Marzolino. A glass of Carpineto Vermentino Valcolomba is the one for you.

Raschera and Carpineto Dogajolo Bianco

Compass pointing North: let us continue our journey. We shall stop in the enchanting territory of Cuneo, in Piemonte, at the border of the territory of Alba. This is where one of the regional specialities, the Raschera, is produced. Unlike the Conciato and the Marzolino, this is a cheese that is made principally with cow’s milk, only in a few cases accompanied by small quantities of sheep’s and goats’ milk. A cheese with a good fat content, raw curd, it can be eaten either fresh or semi-mature (no more than five or six months). The result is a delicate cheese with pronounced and intense aromas, slightly spicy and with a sapid nuance if it is matured for more than three months. It is perfect not only for eating as it is, but also as an ingredient for salads and risottos.

The elected pairing is with young, fragrant white wines with a snappy drinkability and a persistent bouquet. We recommend the Carpineto Dogajolo Bianco, a wine which brings out all the characteristics of the Raschera and cleans the palate from the satisfying fat content.

A short journey around the less common cheese productions of our bella Italia, aware of the fact that we are always on the look out for new discoveries and pairings. There are still many more cheeses to discover and even more pairings to try.