Monday, October 21, 2013

Gouguenheim Malbec/Wasabi Gouda

Last Saturday I was telling people we had two winners from Friday's tasting here, Gouguenheim Malbec and Wasabi Gouda.  Over the weekend we sold about a case and a half of Malbec and half a wheel of Gouda.  I'll take that any time.

The Malbec, by the way, was the Reserva from Gouguenheim, a label which has only recently been reintroduced to this market.  A small distributor had the brand over a year ago and lost it to a larger player and now it's back at a better price.  Coincidentally I got to meet Patricio Gouguenheim at a trade show recently and came away from the experience greatly impressed by his presentation.  Gouguenheim is an Argentine by birth to French parents.  He was a banker in Argentina until 2002 when he made the leap into the wine business, buying a winery in the Valle de Uco in the Andes foothills (3600 ft. alt!) in the Tupungato plateau of Mendoza.  Tupungato is a magical place and one to watch in the future as it is sure to become a fine wine industry hub (blogpost 11/14/11).

The Wasabi Gouda comes from Cheese Partners Holland which is changing its name this month to Dutch Original Cheese or DOC.  DOC is a private labeller in Holland with four clients who distribute their own labelled Goudas in America.  I am quite certain another brand we have sold here called "Gooda" is from the same people. 

2/3 of the 650 kilos of cheese produced annually in the Netherlands is exported and 60% of that is Gouda.  Archeologists have found cheesemaking equipment in area digs that date to 200bc and by the middle ages Holland and specifically, the town of Gouda, had become known as a cheese trading center.  Blogpost 5/8/13 dealt with that aspect of Gouda.

Last weekend's Wasabi Gouda was a pistachio-colored, creamy, medium-hard cheese that was not strong at all.  In my research I learned that the distinctly pungent Japanese Wasabi root is not the same as the horseradish we in the western world all know.  While similar in taste, Japanese Wasabi stimulates the nasal passages more than the tongue and is water-based so the burning in your nostrils or mouth is temporary compared to oil-based condiments like peppers.  The Japanese Wasabi plant is also difficult to cultivate which means it's expensive and often substituted in the west with a combination of horseradish, mustard, starch, and green food coloring.  I don't know whether the Gouda is authentically Wasabi or not.

On Friday October 25th between 5 and 7pm, Ryan Thayer of Eagle Rock Distributing joins us with a presentation of California reds and whites.  Eagle Rock represents the Small Vineyards portfolio of fine European estate wines which has been hugely successful here.  Ryan says we're going to like the California stuff too.  Please join us for the tasting and say, "Wasabi Gouda, please."

And for gosh sakes, become a "follower" of this blog; I'm not doing this for my health, ya know.

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