Last Wednesday, the Parrish Family Vineyard clan: Chalan, Suzie, Ethan and I went to the charming Vivant tasting room in downtown Paso Robles to pick out new cheese pairing options for our wine. Wondering into the shop, you are greeted by a 150 (or more) cheese options, which is heaven to a cheese connoisseur or a very excited enthusiast like Ethan, our assistant vineyard manager and winemaker. Even someone like me, who is a foodie, but is bewildered by bleu cheeses and usually sticks to brie, was excited to be standing in front of wonderful cheeses of all shapes and sizes. The four of us sat down with two of Vivant’s lovely ladies, Danika and Kimberly, and embarked on a 2-hour journey through our wines and several cheeses to find the right pairings. This hardly sounds like work and this is totally true, but as I came to learn through the experience it can be a challenge and an important art.
Being a newbie at pairing, the main observation I took from that day is how important it is to find parings that form a flawless partnership, or as Kimberly of Vivant said about our Pinot Noir and the 2 year aged Gouda, “I see them holding hands and frolicking in a meadow.” And the funny thing is that it really is like seeking a successful relationship. We were looking for a smooth, harmonious relationship that was balanced and worked together to bring out the best in both the wine and cheese. Now I don’t want to dwell on this too much as Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, but some of the wine and cheese pairings were honestly just bad couples. In these circumstances you cringe, laugh, and grab SanTasti or a sweet cheese like the Mango-Ginger White Stilton to mask the “interesting” taste in your mouth. Yet it is these odd pairings that made me truly realize how important perfect pairings are like the amazing taste of our Petite Syrah and Ewephoria that just melted and caramelized in my mouth. I admit that there have been times I’ve thought that a cheese or even a dish could just pass with a wine, but when you want to respect your wine, why not choose food that compliments it? Not to mention, why not create an enjoyable experience for yourself? We are always going and doing and it is moments when wine and cheese blend so well together that you can really slow down and take in life. So, the cheese pairings we did last week at Vivant were so important as we want you, our guests, to have the “ooo…yummy” experience. Despite what I was once told in a wine tasting class, I feel “ooo…yummy” is totally fine to say if that is what you feel. I definitely encourage anyone who reads this to stop by our tasting room for our new cheese pairings…’cause you deserve it. Check out the list below.
The New Cheese Pairing Line Up
2010 Sauvignon Blanc with Piave Vecchio (Italian cow’s milk)
2009 Chardonnay with White Stilton with Mango & Ginger
2009 Pinot Noir with Two Year Aged Gouda
2008 GSM with Bella Vittana (cow’s milk with a Merlot rind)
2009 Petite Sirah with Ewephoria (sheep’s milk cheese from Holland)
2007 Reserve Silken with Hooks Paradise (double cream blue cheese)
2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with Barely Buzzed (cow’s milk with a coffee grind and lavender rind)