Italian Cheeses & Wines for Good Winter Eating

By: Todd Templin | VP of Beer, Wine, and The DLM Cheese Shop
On: June 22, 2012

Parmigiano-Reggiano Extra

This extraordinary cheese comes from the milk of cows who eat foliage from the rolling hills near Modena, Italy. It’s made traditionally with only local milk. The cows are never treated with antibiotics or growth hormones. We’ve visited the farm a couple of times, and we think it is the best grana cheese ever! We were won over by its beautiful texture and flavor. Eat it by the chunk, grate it over pasta and salads, and use it in your cooking. Making soup? Don’t forget the rind. Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds are great for flavoring stocks, pasta water, soups, and sauces. Use them the same way you would use a bone or stock vegetables, and remove them before serving. They will impart that one-of-a-kind flavor that is sure to please!

Fontina Val d’Aosta

The original, famous Fontina, named after the valley from which it comes, is one of the heralded cheeses of Italy. Rich, smooth cow’s milk cheese with a golden brown rind and a mild, nutty flavor, coupled with the fact that it easily melts, makes it perfect for nearly any use. This is a cheese that is particularly good with Nebbiolo wine from Piedmonte.


This semi-soft cheese from the Italian region of Lombardy gains flavor, and accompanying odor, as the cheese ages…but oh, what flavor! The crust is pinkish-gray, and the paste is white, supple, and fruity. Taleggio is an amazing cheese for a dessert plate or with salad greens and a wine such as a Dolcetto or La Barbera.

La Spinetta 2008 Barbera Ca d’Pian

100% Barbera, this wine is dark in color and quite full bodied with tons of black currant, blueberry fruits, and that wonderful Italian acidity! A great food wine that pairs easily with red meats and strong cheeses. $30

La Spinetta 2006 Vingneto Starderi Barbaresco

A huge wine, this is 100% Nebbiolo from the Starderi vineyard in Neive, the most famous area for growing Barbaresco. It is deeply complex with blackberry, black cherry, licorice, oak, and a long, long finish. This wine is drinking really well now, but will easily last 30 years. It is best paired with grilled food, lamb, or wild game. We also have the 2006 Vingneto Valeirano and 2006 Vingneto Gallina Barbaresco available. Each of the three are $90 save $30.