What is wine without the cheese? Culver City’s Wheel House Cheese Shop asks the same question. That is why it is a serendipitous time for the cheese epicenter of the Westside to announce that it is now offering an array of rare and exclusive retail Wine, Beer and Ciders to pair perfectly with its vast assortment of fromage, charcuterie and other tasty treats.
Wheel House Cheese Shop is excited to introduce a well-curated retail selection of small-production wines, craft beers and artisanal ciders that have been carefully selected to pair beautifully with Wheel House’s world-class selection of cheeses. “Every wine, beer and cider was specifically handpicked based on its ability to pair with our offerings of cheeses and charcuterie,” says Wheel House Cheese Shop owner Alex Josef. “When you walk into the store and peruse the wine and beer, you will find that every bottle we offer lists its own tasting notes below it, along with what it best pairs with. Additionally, our cheesemongers are always happy to make pairing suggestions. This is meant to be a non-intimidating experience for everyone, beginner to expert.”
With an always evolving assortment of cheese (more than 100 selections representing at least a dozen countries), plus 15 to 20 fine cured meats and charcuterie items, dozens of gourmet accompaniments ranging from jams and spreads to crackers and pickles, Wheel House Cheese Shop has been the definitive source for all things cheese since opening in mid-2014. From the beginning, the ability to sell wine, beer and cider has been a dream of Josef’s and, now a reality; Wheel House Cheese Shop has taken its concept to the next level.
Currently, Wheel House Cheese Shop’s new offerings include more than thirty Wines, over twenty Craft Beers and three Ciders, though Josef plans to continually rotate and grow this collection.
Get vivacious over the vino, as among the more noteworthy Wines are the 2012 Irreverence Vintners Reserve Merlot from Napa Valley, which boasts a complexity that, Josef says “will restore your faith in this oft-maligned grape.” He recommends the wine be paired with the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, a lactose-free cheese that is savory and slightly tangy with a smooth caramel finish; a combination that is sure to leave your palate pleased. Other wine and cheese recommended pairings from Josef are the sweet and mild Brabander Goat Gouda, which goes best with a light and fresh white wine like the Blondie Chardonnay because of the Gouda’s buttery flavor and texture. The best partner for the smooth triple crème Brillat Savarin, is the Ruggeri DOCG Prosecco from Valdobbiadene, a wine growing region that is located just below the Alpine areas of Veneto, which provides a perfect climate for a “cool” variety of grapes. This wine is light, bubbly and refreshing with a long fruity finish; the best relief from this Angeleno Autumn.
Pick a bottle (any bottle), because every kind of cheese goes well with any one of the new eclectic Craft Beer and Cider selections on offer. For blue-cheese fans, Josef likes to pair Stilton, one of the world’s most well-known and loved cheeses, with Galaxy White IPA, a spiced Belgian wheat beer from Anchorage Brewing Company in Alaska that is brewed with kumquats, coriander and peppercorns. A hearty cheese like Hook’s Ten Year Cheddar, with a full, rich and cheddar finish, goes best with the dry and tart Wandering Aengus Wanderlust Cider and the Maredsous 8 Brune, a Belgian Duvel from the Benedictine Abbey tastes great with Oma, a washed-rind cow’s-milk cheese from Vermont (a Wheel House staff favorite – and for good reason).
Wine and beer are not the only new things to consume at Wheel House Cheese Shop. A new menu includes a small set of made-to-order Sandwiches: a Caprese made with mozzarella, fire-roasted tomatoes and basil grown on the shop’s back patio; a Salami & Brie featuring Fromager d’Affinois and jalapeño jelly; and the Ham & Swiss made with French ham, Red Witch Alpine Cheese and grape mostarda. There are also three special Boards patrons can order to try out the shop’s special selections. Guests can enjoy the Cheese Board with two cheese offerings, quince paste and specialty baguette slices; a Meat Board with three charcuterie selections, pickles, mustard and baguette; or the Wheel House, an indulgent board that combines both the cheese and the meat boards. Broaden the “Board” experience and try any one of the Sides, which includes Marcona Almonds, a Spanish Cocktail Mix, Olives, Cornichons, Gluten Free Crackers, Quince Paste or Bourbon Cured Dried Fruit.
While the eclectic selection of wines, beers and ciders are available for purchase on their own, do not miss out on the complimentary Weekly Tastings every Friday from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. “We plan to mix it up,” Josef says. “Sometimes it will be wine, other times beer, but it will always be something that pairs amazingly well with one of our cheeses. At the end of the day, let’s face it, what better way to kick off your weekend.” Wheel House Cheese Shop will also incorporate their new retail beverage program into their scheduled cheese classes, special tastings and will also be offering lessons on perfect pairings for your special occasion (even if you are the only one at the party). The next session, Dairy and Vine 101, features a lesson on pairing wine and cheese (with plenty of samples of both) followed by Entertaining with Cheese: Building the Perfect Board hosted by Josef himself. Keep an eye on the Wheel House Cheese Shop Facebook and Twitter pages for announcements about future tastings and upcoming classes.
As the holidays approach, Josef plans to rotate his inventory frequently. “My goal has always been to be a pioneer with what is offered at Wheel House Cheese Shop. I want to keep the inventory ever-evolving, and always new and fresh so that guests have a reason to come back for more,” says Josef. Wheel House Cheese Shop will also be selling Gift Baskets and Specialty Platters with house-curated selections of cheese, charcuterie, wine, beer and cider that make great gifts or a perfect spread for a holiday party.
Wheel House Cheese Shop is very excited to introduce all of these new offerings and experiences. “We have been really well received by the community, and more people continue to discover us each day,” Josef says. Whether you are an expert or beginner who frequents fromage, vies for vino, is bent on beer or sighs over cider, Wheel House Cheese Shop is your one stop shop to impressing your friends, family, neighbors…or just you!
Wheel House Cheese Shop is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, Friday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Saturday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and Sunday from10:00 am to 8:00 pm; For more information, please visit www.wheelhousecheese.com or call 424.289.9167.
– Lawrence Moore