After those structured pairings, we started down a more random path of trial and error to see what worked and what we didn't with the rest of the line-up:
'04 Feraud Brunel Cotes du Rhone, France (15.75)
Based on grenache, this wine has a pleasant Black pepper aroma and flavor
'05 Copain L'hiver, Syrah, Mendocino, CA ($20)
Beautiful, subtle oak with blueberries and dark fruit flavors. Weirdest combination was strong taste without sweetness of Kahlua when paired with Carr Valley Benedictine and Gruyere.
'04 Les Hauts Lastours, Quercy France ($10)
If you are putting a wine and cheese plat together, this wine is your friend. At only $10, this blend of Merlot, Gamay and Malbec was a pleasing balanced wine on its own, that paired easily with all the cheese from French goat to Irish blue.
'07 JJ Christoffel Erben "U-W" Rielsing Kabinett, Mosel Germany This cheerful, sweet wine pairs easily with all the cheese. It was meant to pair well with the blues. However, if you know my penchant for Botrytis, this pairing sent me running to Solano Bar and Grill
http://www.solanogrillandbar.com/ for fresh peach ice cream, and the delicious Botrytis infused Semillion.
Cheddar, Safeway If I had more shame, I would not admit that I polished off my waxy, slice of cheese-like product. If you concentrated really hard, you could taste cheese. It made me long for a bean burrito and a microwave ( I didn't have much lunch).
Montgomery's Cheddar, Somerset, English Delightful Enlgish cheddar emanating from the famous Neal's Yard. Salty and delicious. However, caution, easy as it was to pair this delicious cheese, it had a nasty vein of ash that was as shocking and distasteful as kissing a secret smoker.
Carr Valley, Benedictine, Wisconsin A delightful blend of cow-goat-sheep, blending the milks achieved an even, salty taste with lots of dimensions that are sure to please.
Cave Aged Gruyere, Swiss Alps Switzerland Salty, grainy, rich cheesy goodness. This cheese was the standout of the evening. Bring in the Thunderbird! This cheese could make it yummy!
"Danish" Blue - Safeway: As with the cheddar, this product has a pronounced cheese-like taste. Wait a minute! This is supposed to be cheese? Are you sure? Yes, this blue had trouble standing up to the oh so superior examples.
Cashel Blue. Tipperary, Ireland Also from illustrious Neals Yard dairy. Wow! Tart, sharp, creamy blue cheese that was deligtful with many different wines as well as on its own
Ha! Nothing but rind (See "after" photo of cheese plate)
As far as classes go, this rocked!