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La Chaîne: Cheese, Wine and, Swine

Today was at the latest Ordre Mondial event, La Chaîne’s fine wine and spirit sub-division. We were invited into the home of our Bailli for a relaxed and informative exploration of Cheese, Wine & Swine (also known as cured ham), a clever name and the classic making of great charcuterie night.

In years past this was just wine and cheese, last year it was Spanish wine and cheese specifically. However, seeing how successful the addition of cured ham was today it looks like this would be the norm going forward, for all future events for years to come.

This casual culinary Sunday social featured a side-by-side tasting of six of the world’s most iconic cured hams, and two fine French pork patés; accompanied by eight European cheeses specially selected to harmonize with the meats.

The meats and cheeses were from France, Germany, Spain and Italy. A spread complemented by fresh baguettes, nuts, fruit and other tasty accompaniments. As well as a selection of French, Spanish and Italian red, German white, sparkling and port wine from the Chaîne cellar to match.

As guests trickled in we were welcomed with a glass of champagne as we mixed and mingled.

When all the guests were accounted for, we all gathered in the kitchen to hear our host’s opening remarks.

There were two tables of cheese and cured meats to help yourself too. One on the kitchen island and a mirrored offering in the dining room.

And all the wine was decanted at a table hosted by our La Chaîne wine officiant. The following are all of the wines that we self-poured and self-paired with the above, accompanied by La Chaîne‘s own tasting notes.

Pascual Toso
Pascual Toso and the Las Barrancas vineyard are in the heart of Mendoza’s Maipu district. Founded in 1890, Pascual Toso is one of Argentina’s oldest wineries in one of its best wine producing regions.

Pascual Toso Extra
Chardonnay, 100% estate grown, sparkling
Look for dried-pear and citrus flavours, a bright juicy feel, and a clean finish.

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Wine Estate
The family estate has substantial holdings with some of the best vineyard sites of the Middle Mosel and a modern winery just outside of Bernkastel.

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling 2014
Look for peach and apple aromas and flavours, citrus, minerality, good balance, and maybe a bit of sweetness.


Louis Jadot
Beaune is considered the “Capital of Burgundy wines”. It is an ancient and historic town in the Côte d’Or. Louis Henry Denis Jadot founded the winery in 1859.

Louis Jadot Beaune Premier Cru 2009
Pinot Noir
Look for black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, mushroom, earthy, oak.

Chateau Chasse Spleen
Chasse Spleen means “to chase away the blues”. The estate is owned by the Merlaut family, and its history is documented back to 1560. The wine is considered the leading cru in Moulis which is the smallest appellation in the Medoc.

Chateau Chasse Spleen Haut Medoc 2008
73% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot
Look for dark fruit aromas, blackberry, current and blueberry flavors, some earth and leather, a medium-plus body, and a clean lasting finish.


Qunito do Vesuvio
Vesúvio is far up in the Douro Superior and has 133 hectares of vineyards. The 19th century winery was acquired by the Symington family in 1989. It is one of the last places on earth where all the grapes are still trodden by human feet.

Qunito do Vesuvio Vintage Port 1992
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca
Look for intense fruit on the nose with raisin and bramble character, sweet fruit, and superb concentration on the palate, full-bodied and a strong finish.
We’ll be interested in your thoughts on these wines, and how they paired with the cheese, cured ham and pâtés.

Faustino is a family winery founded in 1860 and located in Oyon in Rioja Alavesa.
The winery has the most exported Rioja Gran Reservas in the world.
This wine was recognized as Decanter Magazine’s Top Wine released in 2013!

Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja 2001
85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo
Look for cherry, stewed plums, vanilla, spice, earthy, leather, tobacco, good balance, and a long finish.

Castel’in Villa
Princess Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa owns the estate in the Chianti Classico
DOCG region of Tuscany. It is said that: “Chianti Classico does not get any better or any more traditional than this.”

Castel’ in Villa Chianti Classico 2012
Look for black cherry, plum, some spice, savory, earthy and leather notes.


Founded in 1936 by Gerardo Cesari, the winery has over 100 hectares of hillside vineyards in the Valpolicella appellation. This wine is named in honour of the Cesari matriarch, Maria. This cuvee is made using the Ripasso technique with a second fermentation after adding Amarone marc.

Cesari ‘Mara’ Superiore Valpolicella Ripasso 2012
Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara
Look for ripe fruit, dark cherry, warm spices, medium body, and a lasting finish.

Standouts for our cheese and charcuterie spread included the Bra Duro, described as the “Cadillac of Parma”. A very rare cheese that our host lucked out on finding at Bosa Foods and quickly snatched up.

And as a fan of blue cheese, I gravitated towards the Gorgonzola Dolce and especially enjoyed it with a chewy and crusty baguette slice, followed by a bite of dried fig.

San Simon Da Costa is a tear drop shaped cheese made from the milk of 4 different cows.

The Cambozola is a newer cheese where they take cow’s milk and add blue mold and extra cream for a richer texture.

I enjoyed Butterkäse and found it the perfect texture between soft and hard cheese with a buttery texture when cut, just as its name promised.

There were both Iberico and Serrano ham from Spain. The hams contain different fat types; Jamon Iberico has a white, super soft fat. Whereas Jamon Serrano’s texture is more hardened and pink-toned.

And despite the look of the German schinkenspeck it is dried from a leaner cut of pork. For a flavourful mouthful similar to bacon in salt.

The Truffle Mousse was a lush pate that I smeared on to crunchy toast points generously, and chased with some Spanish quince paste for a sweeter finish.

The Cognac Pate had a similar texture, but a milder flavour profile.

And the Paté de Campagne was described as the “kitchen sink of pate” as they add a little bit of everything into this meat loaf of sorts. A harder meat brick with a crumbly texture, best paired with the softer cheeses like the Emmenthal and the Provolone Galbanone.

In short, this was a great way to enjoy fine meat and cheeses in a setting of like minded people.

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