Wine and cheese is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest duos. If you’ve experienced one of these epic pairings then it’s easy to understand why wine and cheese have such a natural affinity for one another. After all, many of the same flavor profiles that we use to describe wine, like nutty, fruity, buttery, earthy, herbal and even smoky, can also apply to cheese. And if you haven’t experienced wine and cheese nirvana, you need to get yourself to the next Wine & Cheese Tasting Class at Vino Venue pronto! I recently attended the March class for the first time and am already looking forward to the next one.
High Class Cheese
In addition to learning about the history of the wines and cheeses tasted, Michael Bryan, the founder of Vino Venue and the Atlanta Wine School, shares his knowledge on the production of cheese, how to select cheese, how to pair it with wine, appropriate serving temperatures and even a few unexpected entertaining tips and ideas. You also get to taste a wide variety of high-quality artisanal cheeses that are not ordinarily available in stores, and after class you have the opportunity to take home your favorites with a 10% discount.
The tasting class walks you through the fundamentals of wine and cheese pairings. You will taste, first-hand, how a carefully selected cheese changes the taste of the wine, often for the better. You’ll leave with the understanding of how protein and fat in cheese balance out the acid and bitter components, like tannins and sometimes alcohol, in wine, making it taste smoother and rounder. In turn, those same components in wine cleanse the palate of the buttery richness enabling you to fully experience the flavors in the cheese. Not every cheese is capable of complimenting every wine, but this class will help you learn the basic guidelines for pairing wine and cheese, so you can host the ultimate tasting at home.
Tour de Fromage
Michael carefully selects each cheese and accompanying wine for the class and provides notes complete with pricing information. Like most wine tastings, the March class started out with light and crisp white wines paired with creamy and tangy soft cheeses, like a French Triple Cream paired with sparkling rosé and an Italian Robiola paired with a crisp Pinot Grigio. We then progressed to moderately creamy and semi-firm cheeses paired with light red wines, like a Vermont Coupole Goat paired with an Italian Pinot Nero and a French Epoisses paired with Oregon Pinot Noir. You know how I enjoy big, bold red wines so I was highly anticipating the next flight, and it did not disappoint. We tasted a Spanish Manchego paired with one of my favorite value French wines, a 100% Carignan from the Roussillon, an Italian Parrano with a Grenache-based blend from the Languedoc, and an aged Vermont Cheddar with a Napa Zinfandel. No tour around the world of cheese and wine would be complete without a dessert course. Our delightful journey concluded with an aged Gouda paired with a rich glass of honeyed-amber Bual Madeira. Madeira grapes are grown, as you might have guessed, on the Island of Madeira which is located off the coast of Portugal and comes in four different styles of varying levels of sweetness.
Taste the Terroir
Just like no two visits to wine country are identical, you can expect a completely different experience each time you attend this wine and cheese class. Eight different wines paired with eight complimentary cheeses and other bridge ingredients, like fresh honeycomb, balsamic vinegar and jam, are tasted each time. Anyone who has been, knows that there is nothing quite like a visit to wine country. When you taste a wine near the land where the grapes were grown and the wine was made along with the typical cuisine of the area, you get a certain sense of place and belonging. Michael’s re-counting of his wine country travels and philosophical discussions with wine makers is the next best thing. His vividly fascinating storytelling captivates and instantly transports you to that place just long enough to taste the terroir. And that’s what keeps everyone going back for more!
The Fine Print
My participation in the wine and cheese class was complimentary but the opinions expressed herein are unsolicited and honest. I absolutely love Vino Venue and highly recommend it for learning, shopping and dining. You can check out the wide variety of classes and other events on their website or visit them at 4478 Chamblee Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody.