Monday, February 13, 2012

Wine & Cheese of the Week: O'Shaughnessy & Grilled Cheese at Hog Island

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Ever heard of Howell Mountain? So many people visit the valley and never make it up there, which is a shame. There are only about a dozen wineries on the mountain and it's so nice to get off the valley floor and taste something different. The soil on the mountain is volcanic and ashier than the soil down on the valley floor and the temperature can also be 5 - 10 degrees warmer allowing the grapes a longer hang time. All of these factors make for a truly unique wine.
O'Shaughnessy is such a great stop if you are tasting on the mountain. It's definitely off the beaten path and you feel like you've seriously accomplished something when you find the place. Really nice people, beautiful grounds and picnic area, cool cave tour, impressive wine collection and most importantly - great wine. We only tasted two wines, but they were both fantastic. They only produce a couple thousand cases a year and they were sold out of a lot of stuff when we visited. Here's what we tried:
2008 Howell Mountain Cabernet - $75 (94+ points Robert Parker)
2006 Mount Veederr Cabernet - $130
Looking forward to going back to try more of their wines!

Hog Island Oyster Co's Grilled Cheese
I usually do some fancy, stinky cheese for my cheese of the week, but the grilled cheese at Hog Island is too amazing. The oysters at Hog Island are incredible, as is everything on the menu. Order whatever you want at Hog Island, but just make sure there is an order of grilled cheese. I'll admit, I never wanted to order it before because who orders the grilled cheese at Hog Island? I sat at the bar next to the panini grill the other night and the smell of the cheese wafting into my face was just too much to take. I asked the panini master if I could have some of the burnt cheese stuck on the grill and he happily gave me a plate full. I knew then, it was time to suck it up and order this thing. This grilled cheese is stuffed with Cowgirl Creamery's cave-aged gruyere, fromage blanc, and mezzo secco. The bread is perfectly crisp and the cheesey goodness just oozes out the sides. Served alongside a healthy portion of house made pickles. Enjoy it with a crispy glass of white, a hearty red, or some Anchor Steam on tap. Bottom line is - ORDER IT!