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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Monthly Pairing: Cantina Damiano Ciolli & Caciotta with Black Pepper
Erik's Monthly Pairing: Cantina Damiano Ciolli & Caciotta with Black Pepper
Cantina Damiano Ciolli
"Silene"
Olevano Romano
D.O.C.
2011
$20.00

Rome is one of the most magical, beautiful cities in the world to me.  I love the food, the wine, and the lifestyle.  Damiano Ciollli captures many of the things that make Rome wonderful with their Cesanese (a red grape variety grown primarily in the Lazio region).  Cesanese is rooted in centuries of viticulture history; the ancient Romans drank it, and the folks at Ciolli make a wonderfully updated version.  Simple yet complex, it’s rich without being overpowering or harsh.  It is this balance that is so very Italian. 

The commune where the wine comes from is also a D.O.C., meaning that the Italian wine governing body has imposed specific rules for the production of the wines.  It’s a beautiful part of the country:  45 kilometers southeast of Rome and worth a visit next time you’re there. 

Pair this wine with traditional Roman dishes like braised oxtail, or pasta all'Amatriciana. 

Caciotta with Black Pepper
Cow
Italy
$30/lb

This cheese is soft, slightly sweet, and lively with the addition of the black peppercorns.  Made in Trentino, a northern region of Italy near the Alps, caciotta is great by itself, with salumi, or melted on toast.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Monthly Pairing: Le Vigne Le Vigne Bianco Paso Robles 2013 & Le Fournols
Erik's Monthly Pairing: Le Vigne Le Vigne Bianco Paso Robles 2013 & Le Fournols
Le Vigne
Le Vigne Bianco
Paso Robles
2013
$20 each

The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills has a wonderful long standing relationship with our friends the Filippinis of Le Vigne Winery in Paso Robles.  We have worked with them for decades producing blends for our house wines.  This new release of theirs is truly one of their greatest, and in my opinion, one of the best white wines out of Paso Robles.  The wine is a blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, and a hint of Sauvignon Blanc.  It is excellent with stronger cheeses and baked shellfish.  It is fast becoming a store favorite. Le Fournols
Cow
France
$35/ lb

Le Fournols is a wonderful large soft-ripening cheese that is washed in the local Eau de Vie. It is rich, pungent, and perfect for wines that have a slight touch of sweetness and lots of mouth-feel.  It is named after the commune of Fournols, where it is produced in the Auvergne area in the center of France.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Dragonette Cellars & Toma from Pt. Reyes
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Dragonette Cellars & Toma from Pt. Reyes
Dragonette Cellars
Rosé
Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
2013
$22 for 750ml

Rosé wines take me to my happy place, because at their best they are light, fun, and refreshing.  Dragonette cellars makes one of my favorite domestic rosés from the 2013 vintage.  They're a consistent winery that does a great job showing off some of Santa Barbara's best terroirs and their Happy Canyon Rosé does not disappoint.  Enjoy Draggonette Cellars Happy Canyon Rosé with grilled shrimp and some local California cheese.
Toma from Pt. Reyes
Cow
California
$30 per pound

Pt. Reyes makes some of the best California cheeses we've tasted, and their cow's milk Toma is no exception.  It's creamy and mild, yet flavorful with a distinct tang that goes well with hamburgers or in a grilled cheese sandwich.  Toma from Pt. Reyes is also a great accompaniment to a glass of Rosé!
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Hannes Reeh "Unplugged" Chardonnay 2012 & Tomme de Chèvre de Montagne
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Hannes Reeh "Unplugged" Chardonnay 2012 & Tomme de Chèvre de Montagne
Hannes Reeh
"Unplugged"
Chardonnay
2012
$20 for 750ml

Hannes Reeh is a part of the new guard of winemakers in Austria. His line of "unplugged" wines receive no fining, yeasts, or enzymes. What occurs in the vineyard is what you get in the bottle. Hannes' training was in Australia which was excellent preparation for winemaking in the town of Andau in Austria. Andau is the warmest town in the country receiving 2,400 hours of sun exposure. The sun exposure helps create a Chardonnay that’s more Californian, or Aussie, in style than the type of wine I normally associate with Austria. Hannes Reeh’s "Unplugged" is wonderfully delicious and unctuous. It’s rich yet balanced and excellent with food. If you are averse to Grüner Veltliner, let this be your introduction to great Austrian wines.

Tomme de Chèvre de Montagne
Goat
France
$35 per pound

This delicious natural rind goat’s milk cheese is aged for at least 6 months before we receive it. The taste is of mountain grasses, pepper and green peppers. It is typical of the area around Lyon. It is also a great cheese for melting.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Domaine de Montfin & Vallée d'Aspe
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Domaine de Montfin & Vallée d'Aspe
Domaine de Montfin
Corbiéres
2013
$16 per 750ml

With the 4th of July holiday just around the corner it's time to start thinking about refreshing wines that pair well with BBQ, hamburgers and my personal favorite hot dogs. While I usually prefer my Rosé super light and leaning towards a white wine I think this Corbiéres is a perfect compliment to meats traditionally served inside a bun or the slow cooked and smokey flavors of BBQ. This wine is the color of watermelon and smells of cassis and strawberry jam. This and all rosé are best served chilled.

Domaine de Montfin is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 10% Syrah. It comes from the Corbiéres appellation in the Languedoc. Corbiéres takes up 46% of the entire Languedoc, with most of that devoted to red wines. Whites and roses are usually reserved for the locals so this is a special opportunity to try something that rarely leaves France. Pair your next glass with some French cheese.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Feudi di San Gregorio & Taleggio D.O.P. (Arrigoni)
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Feudi di San Gregorio & Taleggio D.O.P. (Arrigoni)
Feudi di San Gregorio
"Sirica"
I.G.T.
2010
$69.00

Feudi di San Gregorio has been at the forefront of winemaking in the southern Italian region of Campania for as long as they’ve been making wine. They have strong roots, making wines from indigenous plantings like "serpico" and "sirica", and a vision for the future with their ultra high tech winery that combines old and new schools of winemaking.

The original vines for Sirica were found growing wild in Taurasi, an area famous for its Aglianco grapes. However, upon testing, the two-century old Sirica vines were found to be a varietal of its own, consisting partly of Refosco, Teroldego and Syrah - vines that have nothing to do with Aglianco.

The word Sirica comes from the Latin word syricum, a thick red dye that was used in the time of Pliny the Elder and described in his writings. This wine is clearly from another time both in its composition and nature. It pairs perfectly with lamb; preferably large cuts such as leg or shoulder and cooked slowly over open fire. Cheese is also a great companion to this wine.

Taleggio D.O.P. (Arrigoni)
Cow
Italy
$35/lb

Arrigoni is a fantastic cheese producer. In our opinion they make one of the best Taleggios you can get. Taleggio is a soft ripened washed rind cheese made outside of the town of Bergamo in northern Italy. This is also the area where the aforementioned grapes Teroldego and Refosco come from. When young, the cheese is pink and sweet before ripening into a stronger cheese that smells of forest mushrooms. This pairs well with wine and fresh bread.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik' Weekly Pairing: Elena Walch Gewürztraminer Alto Adige D.O.C. 2013 & Asiago Vecchio
Erik' Weekly Pairing: Elena Walch Gewürztraminer Alto Adige D.O.C. 2013 & Asiago Vecchio
Elena Walch
Gewürztraminer
Alto Adige D.O.C.
2013
$27 for 750ml

Elena Walch is a super star in the Alto Adige. Her wines are precise and taste like the varietal they are made from (often a rarity). There is no manipulation that takes place in the wine making process. It is pure excellent fruit. Her Gewürztraminer is the benchmark for all Italian winemakers who work with that varietal. In fact it may be the benchmark for all Gewürztraminers. Notably, Gewürztraminer comes from Italy, from the town of Tramin not so far away from the Walch winery. It literally translates to the “spicy Traminer” a varietal with honeyed aromatics that is a perfect match for cheese, or rich creamy foods. Try it with a nice piece of cheese and some rustic bread. I like it with a little shell fish cooked with Thai spices.

Asiago Vecchio
Cow
Italy
$30 per pound

Asiago is another benchmark of the Italian food and wine experience. It is probably the most famous and possibly the best cheese from the Trentino-Alto Adige region in the north of Italy. It can be used in place of Parmigiano or just crumbled on a plate with a little bread. The Vecchio receives an extra year of aging creating a cheese slightly more salty on the palate. And just a quick bit of trivia: where does the name Asiago come from? Asiago is the town in which its namesake cheese is made.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Jardesca Blanco California Apertif Wine
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Jardesca Blanco California Apertif Wine
Jardesca
Blanco
California Apertif Wine
$28

The perfect wine for the perfect moment is something to consider when having a gathering. There is a charming alternative between a nice refreshing white wine and a cocktail -- an apertif, something that is common in Europe but hasn't quite caught on here in the US. Jardesca is the just right combination of refreshing and wine-like, but fortified for a little extra kick. I like it over ice with a twist of lime.

Want to try it? Come by The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills on Monday May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) for a taste and maybe a bite of a delicious quesadilla to celebrate the holiday.

Try our quesadilla recipe!
4 ounces of Boschetto al Tartufo (cow and sheeps milk from Italy $50/pound) sprinkled between two corn tortillas for a perfect cheesy appetizer. Heat in a pan 'til melted.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Monteraponi Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. & Bianco Sardo
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Monteraponi Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. & Bianco Sardo
Monteraponi
Chianti Classico
D.O.C.G.
2011
750ml
$35

Chianti in fiasco is back. Through many years of terrible wines in basket covered bottles, a top tier producer has stepped up and offered their bottling of Chianti Classio in a fiasco. Monteraponi has sent a scant 9 cases of their delicious Classico to California dressed in this traditional bottle. They are my current favorite Chianti producer, and this is a fun way to get back into one of Italy's most classic wines. Try it with grilled steaks and aged cheeses and get your Sangiovese on!

Bianco Sardo
Sheep
Sardinia, Italy
$35/lb

Bianco Sardo is a fantastic cheese that is both sharp and sweet. It is aged for a minimum of 6 months before it is released. The cheese is aged in a basket, and the impression it leaves produces the heavily textured rind. Try it with a nice glass of Chianti.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Villa Dora Vesuvio D.O.C. Rosso & Caciocavallo Silano
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Villa Dora Vesuvio D.O.C. Rosso & Caciocavallo Silano
Villa Dora
Vesuvio
D.O.C.
Rosso
2011
$18

Naples is home to some of the most storied and beautiful places from antiquity to modern day. The volcano Vesuvius, which erupted in the year 79 C.E. and destroyed the city of Pompeii as well as neighboring villages, shadows the area. The land has always been well thought of for its ability to grow some of the best wines in Italy. The whites are some of Italy’s best and their reds are wonderful in their own right as well.

The D.O.C. for Vesuvio reds is made up from local varietals Piedirosso and Aglianico, both of which are fairly robust when planted in volcanic soils. They pair well with grilled meats such as lamb or slow cooked meat dishes like Braciole. In fact, many of the foods you find in American Italian restaurants originate from the Naples area and this red goes perfectly with those dishes.

Caciocavallo Silano
Cow
Italy
$30

Caciocavallo is made in many parts of southern Italy, from Molise all the way down to Sicily. It is a "pasta filata" cheese like those found in the Mozzarella family. This one in particular comes from the Silano breed of cows in the Molise area.

A century ago, the cheeses were tied together and hung over a rafter. The appearance of the hanging cheese resembled saddlebags on the back of a horse giving the cheese its name: Cacio (cheese) Cavallo (horse). Try it sliced thick and grilled with eggplant and tomatoes or with a slightly chilled glass of Vesuvio red.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Liquid Farm FOUR Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills 2012 & Sheep Milk Curds with Spices & Oil
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Liquid Farm FOUR Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills 2012 & Sheep Milk Curds with Spices & Oil
Liquid Farm
FOUR
Chardonnay
Santa Rita Hills
2012
$80

Liquid Farm has a minimalistic winemaking style that shows off the purity of the fruit they source. Their FOUR Chardonnay is a tribute to their first vintage in 2009 where they started out with a scant 4 barrels of wine. They have since grown - not only in production but also as wine makers, becoming sure handed and confident in the fantastic wines they produce. FOUR comes from a few vineyards famed for Chardonnay in Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills (Clos Pepe, Rita's Crown, Bentrock and Zotovich.)

FOUR is long on the palate and rich yet refreshing. The wine is delicious and I expect it to age another decade. Try it with local crab and drawn butter.

Sheep Milk Curds with Spices & Oil
Sheep
California
$10 for 6 oz

A wonderful accompaniment to any antipasto spread. The squeaky cheese curds are tossed in dried herbs, peppercorns and then marinated in local olive oil from Paso Robles. Try them with a glass of wine and some fresh bread.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Cenatiempo Vini d'Ischia Ischia D.O.C. Bianco Superiore 2012 & Mozzarella di Bufala
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Cenatiempo Vini d'Ischia Ischia D.O.C. Bianco Superiore 2012 & Mozzarella di Bufala
Cenatiempo Vini d'Ischia
Ischia D.O.C.
Bianco Superiore
2012
$18 per bottle

Ischia D.O.C. is made up of local varietals: 40% Biancolella, 45% Forastera, and 15% various old mixed plantings such as Collionara and Biancolellon, all from the island of Ischia. Ischia has long been a source of excellent wines, notably their whites. They tend to have a flinty nose and taste to them, which is consistent with most wines grown on or near volcanoes. Truly ancient, the wines of Ischia were favorites of Caesar Augustus and later Popes and Princes.

Enjoy this piece of ancient paradise in the warmth of the sun with family and friends as if you were drinking and eating on a small island off the coast of Italy. I suggest a nice mixed grill of small fish, finished in a great olive oil, or a little pasta and some marinated vegetables. The wine, of course, should be from Ischia, that small island in the shadow of Capri in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Naples.

Mozzarella di Bufala
Water Buffalo
Campania/ Lazio in Italy
$12 each for 8 ounces

Mozzarella is one of Italy’s most famous and finest cheeses and so much more than a topping for pizza. Mozzarella is from a cheese family called pasta filata, the same family that provolone, caciocavallo and scamorza comes from. Pasta filata literally means to stretch the curd. To make mozzarella, you pull and stretch the curd until it you are able to work it into a ball. At that point you turn the top into a knot and lop off the head, in Italian that would be the verb "mozzare" meaning “to lop off” hence the word mozzarella. The key to enjoying Mozzarella is good bread and olive oil. Try it sliced with roasted artichokes, tomatoes, or a great farmers market find.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Purlieu Le Pich Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 & Rogue River Creamery
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Purlieu Le Pich Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 & Rogue River Creamery
Purlieu
Le Pich
Cabernet Sauvignon
2010
$38 per bottle

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon from Purlieu’s sister label, Le Pich (a Wappo Indian word meaning "golden eagle"). This wine displays great Napa character, dusty and rich in fruit. It is classic in the best sense of the word.

The winemaking team is all-star. Winemaker Julien Fayard has worked at famed Bordeaux estates such as Lafite-Rothschild and Smith Haut-Lafite. Julien’s impressive resume continues in California with Dalle Valle, Lail, Gemstone and Atelier Melka as Director of Winemaking. The other half of the team is equally notable. Vineyard manager Steve Matthiason has worked with Robert Sinskey, Long Meadow Ranch, Araujo and has his own label.

Purlieu wines have a sense of place and are made by people who are passionate not only about the terroir they work with but the wine they create. Try the Cabernet Sauvignon with BBQ steaks and some smokey cheese.

Rogue River Creamery
Smokey Blue
Cow
Oregon
$40 per pound

Rogue River Creamery’s Smokey Blue is probably my favorite smoked cheese. It’s good by itself but great in a Cobb salad. The cheese is smoked over hazelnut shells at a very low heat that gently incorporates the smokey smell. It is then aged at least six months and happens to be vegetarian friendly. Try it warmed on good bread with a little honey, melted over your favorite steak or, my favorite, in a Cobb salad.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Habit Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard Santa Rita Hills 2012 & Golden Valley Farm
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Habit Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard Santa Rita Hills 2012 & Golden Valley Farm
Habit
Pinot Noir
La Encantada Vineyard
Santa Rita Hills
2012
$50

Habit Winery makes some of my favorite wines in Santa Barbara county. Winemaker and owner Jeff Fischer transforms wonderful fruit from great vineyards into excellent wines. His Pinot Noir is from La Encantada vineyard, which is one of the coldest sites in the region. Planted in the year 2000 and certified organic, La Encantada fruit is a hot commodity among winemakers.

This Pinot Noir is well crafted and pure, bright in flavor as well as in the nose, and tastes like the great Pinot Noirs from Santa Barbara county used to taste - delicious. Neither over done nor excessively nouveau (it doesn’t have that stem-like taste), it’s a truly balanced wine.

Habit only produced about 5 barrels of this Pinot Noir and CSBH is lucky to be one of the few retailers to carry it!

Golden Valley Farm
Sheep
Chowchilla, CA
$35 per pound


Last week we met a gentleman named Mario, a farmer from Golden Valley Farm in the San Joaquin Valley, who happens to make some of the best sheep’s milk cheese I've tasted in a long time. There is a wonderful soft-ripening cheese, a pepato, and a few drier cheeses aged for various amounts of time. Golden Valley Farm delivers their delicious cheeses to us every other week. Come in and try one today!
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett Riesling 2012 & Mont des Cats
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett Riesling 2012 & Mont des Cats
Joh. Jos. Prüm
Bernkasteler Badstube
Kabinett
Riesling
2012
$27

German wines are a thing of wonder. Frequently misunderstood, as they have odd names most people can’t pronounce, they’re a great value and Riesling is truly the most noble of grapes.

J.J. Prüm is one of the greatest wineries in the world and some would argue, the greatest winery in the Mosel. Let’s break down the label. The order is village - vineyard - style.

Bernkasteler is a wine from Tephra village of Bernkastel. Badstube is the vineyard. Kabinett is the style. Kabinett is the lowest rung of the "pradikat" system of German wine classifications. Kabinett wines are dry (unless otherwise stated) and from mature grapes. Low in alcohol, with no sugar added, they are fruity, perfumed, and balanced for everyday consumption. Try it with cheese, sausage or a schnitzel.


Mont des Cats
Cow
France
$35 per pound

This is very good washed rind cheese made by Trappist monks at the Abbaye du Mont des Cats in French Flandres. The cheese has been in production since 1890 and is named after the hill where the abbey is located. The hill name itself is derived from the name of a Germanic tribe known as Chatti (French: Chattes; Dutch; Chatten), living in the area after the fall of the Roman Empire (5th century). It has a pungent salty taste which pairs perfectly with German Riesling.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Palmina Malvasia Bianca Santa Barbara County 2011 & Il Tartufaio
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Palmina Malvasia Bianca Santa Barbara County 2011 & Il Tartufaio
Palmina
Malvasia Bianca
Santa Barbara County
2011
$27

You’ve probably had Malvasia Bianca even if you’ve never heard of this grape. Grown from Sicily all the way into the Balkans in Europe, Malvasia is the white grape that’s traditionally blended into Chianti (which is usually 90% red and about 10% white.)

Palmina Winery in Santa Barbara specializes in Italian varietals and makes a wonderful wine of Malvasia Bianca. The winemaker, Steve Clifton, does a masterful job producing wines of class, elegance and place that taste like their Italian counterparts with some California flair. Palmina’s Malvasia Bianca comes in at a scant 12% alcohol yet delivers big on flavor and mouthfeel. This wine pairs wonderfully with baked oysters and a touch of cream or steamed mussels in white wine sauce.

Il Tartufaio
Cow + Sheep
Italy
$50 per pound


Il Tartufaio comes from Emilia-Romagna, which is Italy’s gastronomic center, and is my new favorite truffle cheese. It’s light and fairly soft...a perfect cheese to melt over potatoes or even a steak.
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Erik's Weekly Pairing
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Château Roumieu-Lacoste Sauternes 2011 & Shaft's
Erik's Weekly Pairing: Château Roumieu-Lacoste Sauternes 2011 & Shaft's
Château Roumieu-Lacoste
Sauternes
2011
375ml $25 and 750ml $42

Sauternes is very special. In the world of wine, Sauternes has one of the most seductive noses of honey, earth and apricot jam. This Hervé Dubourdieu production is exquisite and made from 100% Semillon grapes that are 100% affected by botrytis. The "noble rot" (botrytis) that covers the grapes dries and concentrates the flavor, turning the Semillon into unbelievable nectar that can easily last decades in the bottle. Sauternes is an intense wine experience and a glass could be dessert all on its own. This is the perfect way to end your holiday dinner, either with some pecan pie or a nice piece of blue cheese.

Shaft's
Cow
California via Wisconsin
$35

A true American cheese, made by hand in Wisconsin then sent to age in old mine shafts in Roseville, California. The blue mold is Penicillium Roqueforti -- the same mold that is harvested from the caves of Roquefort to give that distinctive blue flavor and coloring to the cheeses. It pairs perfectly with a sweet wine.
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