Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pairing of the Week

We've got another great pairing for you all this week. Our cheese of the week is Oakvale Gouda from London, Ohio.

Oakvale Farmstead Cheese is located just outside of Columbus, OH. The family has been milking since the mid 1800's and use a Holstein-Friesian breed of cattle that give a richer taste and higher protein content than their American Holstein cousins. Oakvale Gouda is aged for less than six months which is just enough time for the paste to develop a slightly sweet, nutty grassy flavor profile. The sustainable and seasonal practices that the farm employs means that each wheel is slightly different from the one before. Wheels made in the spring have a fresh pasture taste to them while the fall made cheeses have more hay and hazelnut. A fantastic American- made Gouda from people who pride themselves on their commitment to the land, animals and cheese.

For wines this week we couldn't decide if we wanted to go white or red. If you're a red drinker, we suggest the Shannon Ridge 2007 "Wrangler Red" from California. The sustainably farmed blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Zinfandel and Barbera is big and bold. Aging in oak for 8 months lends some buttery notes to a red that boasts flavors of juicy plums, dark cherries, pepper and baking spices. Fantastic wine that pairs nicely with cheese.

Or maybe white wine is your thing. In that case you'll want to try the Eola Hills 2008 Reserve "La Creole" Chardonnay from Oregon. Aged in oak, the vanilla aromas give way to flavors of pear, oak, butter and tangy citrus. If you love big California Chardonnay you've got to try this!

Stop by our stores this weekend and decide for yourself if you love the big juicy dark fruit of the Shannon Ridge, or the buttery citrus oakiness of the Eola Hills. Either way you win!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's March and We're Celebrating!

We've got a lot going on this month. Wine tastings, St. Patrick's day treats and events galore.

Starting on March 11th from 4:30-6:30pm at our French Market location join us as we do a free pouring of our "Voluptuous Winter Whites" featuring selections from Glunz. The following Thursday (same time and location) we'll be doing another tasting featuring selections from Wine Cru "Out Like a Lion Reds" and on Thursday the 25th we celebrate "America's Best" with wines from Wine DOC.

Many of you have asked if we're having a "First Saturday" free wine tasting at our Lake St. location this coming Saturday and our response is yes. Sort of. We've changed things up a bit for 2010.

This coming Saturday, March 6, 2010 we will be conducting our first ever Winter Portfolio Wine Tasting at 53 E. Lake St. from 6:30-8:00pm. Here at Pastoral we are very proud of our portfolio of smartly-priced and thoughtfully selected small production, sustainably-produced wines, spirits and beers. Join wine buyer Jan and Pastoral staff for an evening of tasting and learning all about some of our favorite wines

There is a $5 fee per person which gives you entrance to the tasting, a $5 credit and 15% discount off of all event night purchases. You can reserve in advance online to guarantee your space, or chance it by paying at the door-subject to availability.

Next week we invite you to celebrate the cheeses of Lombardy Italy with Pastoral, Isola and the Italian Chamber of Commerce. If you know anything about Lombardy, Italy you know that this Northern region in the backyard of Milan and the Italian Alps boasts of some of the most amazing classic cheeses. We have special events scheduled four days next week.

Start out at our French Market location on Wed 3/10 from 5-7pm for a delicious cheese tasting. Thursday 3/11 from 5-7pm at Lake st we'll be enjoy tastes of cheeses and delicious regional wines poured by our friends at Imports Inc. Friday come to either the French Market, or our Lake St. location from 5-7pm for cheesy goodness. Cap it all off Saturday at our Broadway location from 12-4pm as we bring the formaggio tasting up north.

It's March which means it's almost time for the annual "greening" of the Chicago River. Stop by for some Ardrahan, Coolea, Tipperary Cheddar or Cashel Blue or attend our class "Celtic in Spirit" on March 16th. Slainte!

Can't keep track of all the events going on this month? Don't worry. Follow us on twitter or become a fan of ours on Facebook and we'll remind you with timely updates.

Last but not least we would like to thank everyone who participated in our survey. We are listening and looking for ways to continue to serve you better in 2010. A special congratulations to Mimi Manzler who is the winner of our survey grand prize of perfect pairings for six months. Call your local Pastoral store so we can get you started!