As we grow older and wiser, one comes to realize that there is only one thing that remains constant – change. Once a wine has been made and put in the bottle, it continues to go through a series of changes that can dramatically change the way it tastes. Sometime wines can go along for a number of years full of ripe fruit and big tannins and seemingly suddenly go into a period of “dumming down” where the wine tastes nothing like it did. Then the tannins mellow and balance with the fruit and voila! It reaches that “wheel house” zone where it has stepped up a notch. So with this in mind, and knowing the constance of change, I decided to step out on a limb and take my business on a similar journey.
The Weinhaus has been going strong for over 36 years here in Asheville, and we’ve seen a lot come and go. Through the strong foundation that my father laid, and the loyal patronage of our customers, we are enjoying a great run that will hopefully continue far into the future. The great recession has showed us, however, that nothing is immune to these “dumming down” periods, so while we held on during the slower times, we now see an opportunity to morph and tweak our business model, and take it into the “wheel house.” So in January we tore down the Weinhaus interior, and are rebuilding it to combine the past with the future. All this while shifting stock around to remain open for business. When complete, the Weinhaus will have a fresh, new retail space and add a wine/beer tasting bar on the other side of the store, and will also partner with The Cheese Store of Asheville to bring a world class (including local) variety of cheese and other gourmet food items that pair with wine!
We are so pleased to introduce Katie Moore, who has recently moved to Asheville, bringing her cheese monger skills and enthusiastic attitude to open The Cheese Store of Asheville. It was by happenstance that we became aware of each other (Katie’s sister is the wife of my childhood next door neighbor), and it only seemed right to include Katie’s cheese passion along with the development of a wine and beer tasting room. What could go better together than wine & cheese?
Here’s a quick primer from Katie’s own pen on pairings with cheese:
“Some of the traditional cheese making methods are alive today while others have gone through multiple adaptations. Sticking with tradition, we find that some very good cheeses are made in the same regions as very good wines. For example a Spanish white Albarino from Northwest Spain goes well with Tetilla, a cow’s milk cheese from the same region. Italian Barolo or Barbaresco wine pairs well with Taleggio, a soft cow’s milk cheese. A white Jurancon from the French Pyrenees pairs nicely with Ossau-Iraty, a Basque goat’s milk cheese. A good rule of thumb is to pair wine and cheese thinking about how to balance flavors, not emphasize contrasts.
White wines tend to go with a wider variety of cheeses. Dry whites, such as an Alsatian Pinot Blanc and an Italian Pinot Grigio pair well with Comte, Epoisses, Pecorino, Ossau-Iraty. Sweeter whites, such as Sauterns and Rieslings, pair well with Raclette, numerous blue cheeses, Brie-like cheeses and Gouda.
With red, be careful with delicate wine because a powerful cheese can destroy the balance of the wine. Vice versa for a powerful red overshadowing the complexity of the cheese. Hearty reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec pair well with Gouda or Gruyere. Light reds such as Pinot Noir and Tempranillo work better with fresh goat cheese, a brie-like cheese or a sheep’s milk such as Ossau-Iraty.
Don’t forget about beer and cheese. Like white wine, beer tends to pair with a wide variety of cheese. Try a Pale Ale with a wash rind cow’s milk cheese, a Lager with sheep’s milk cheese, a Belgian Tripel with fresh goat cheese and a Stout with a blue cheese.”
So in closing, I’m reminded of the saying that “the more things change, the more they remain the same.” Ironically, the Weinhaus is back to some of its roots, when we rented our next door space to Catherine’s Cheese House (from Hickory) and Dad built a wine tasting cabinet out of wormy chestnut and nitrogen gassed wine spigots!