Cheese, wine, and vinyl: our exclusive Q&A with sommelier Clara Klein
Throughout our partnership with StarChefs, we’ve had the joy of getting to know pioneering young chefs and bakers who are truly innovating in their spaces. In Denver, we spent some time with Clara Klein, a rising sommelier who is — to put it simply — just plain cool. At Sunday Vinyl, Clara finds new ways […]
Throughout our partnership with StarChefs, we’ve had the joy of getting to know pioneering young chefs and bakers who are truly innovating in their spaces. In Denver, we spent some time with Clara Klein, a rising sommelier who is — to put it simply — just plain cool. At Sunday Vinyl, Clara finds new ways to bring relatability and approachability to the wine world by incorporating curated music into the pairing and drinking experience, adding a whole new dynamic and driving home Sunday Vinyl’s dedication to the connectivity of food, wine, and music.
And we were lucky enough to get Clara to participate in an exclusive Q&A and curate some delicious Cypress Grove cheese and wine pairings! You can learn more about Clara in her StarChefs profile here.
How does wine play with cheese?
Wine and cheese works so well for a multitude of reasons. Grapes are naturally acidic, have incredible texture when turned into wine and also add warmth from the alcohol. It fleshes out what cheese naturally does so well, which when you boil it down, is the interplay of rich cream and texture!
What’s your favorite unexpected way to use cheese?
Besides a little pocket-cheese snack? I love aged hard cheese with beef tartar. One of my favorite ways to enjoy!
Favorite food memory?
Nothing tastes better than a hot meal after a crazy night of service. I used to love hitting Zanes in Aspen late night for a greasy-spoon meal when I worked at The Little Nell!
Sommelier secret weapon?
A humble attitude! Wine is an intense world, so it is so important to be kind.
Hometown favorite dive bar?
Aspen Lodge Bar & Grill is in my neighborhood within Arvada, CO. The best part, they are an Iron Maiden and Christmas themed Bar. What more could you wish for?
Favorite Cypress Grove cheese — for solo eating and for pairing?
Solo eating: Midnight Moon. Pairing: Meyer Lemon + Honey, this just begs for Chenin Blanc!
We love how you incorporate music into the experience at Sunday Vinyl! What are your favorite three cheese, wine, and music pairings?
I am such a sucker for Comte + Mac Vin de Jura + Mac Miller. I mean mac attack time for sure! Also, Epoisse + Demi-Sec Chenin Blanc + Henri Texier. To me, this is just about as classy as it gets. Aged Gouda + Off Dry Riesling + West Coast Rap. This is a celebration of all things crunchy and hard hitting. High octane pairing!
We’d love to hear the inspiration behind the pairings you developed with Cypress Grove cheese!
I just considered what I would want to share with my family and friends. The holidays are a true celebration of the art of gathering! Essentially the Super Bowl of what we practice every day in the restaurant!
And now onto the pairings!
Clara curated these pairings with a particular holiday in mind, but the beauty is that they’re wonderful pairings for any holiday, event, or day that ends in “y.” The only rule is that there are no rules!
Meyer Lemon and Honey + Chenin Blanc
When entering the Thanksgiving state-of-mind, all I want to do is indulge with everything in sight. The acidity that drives Chenin Blanc is complemented by the Meyer lemon, offering a perfect antidote to all of those rich and gravy-heavy dishes. Goat Cheese and Chenin Blanc is a long time perfect pairing, basically a trip to the Loire Valley in France! Cypress Grove note: this pairing would also be delicious with Humboldt Fog!
DOMAINE DE BELLIVIÈRE | 2019, Chenin Blanc, “Les Rosiers,” Jasnieres | Loire, France
December holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah:
Truffle Tremor + Barbera
Truffles and December holidays instantly take me to Piedmont and the Festa di Tartufi! The umami richness of the truffle plays fiddle to the Sugar Plum Spice nature of the Barbera grape. Barbera, luckily, is one of the best party wines of all time as it is so friendly and juicy with a whisper of structure. Best of all, it plays especially well with complex cheeses!
VIETTI 2019 Barbera d’Alba “Vigna Scarrone” Piedmont, Italy
New Year’s Eve:
Midnight Moon + Champagne
Nothing is better than ringing in the New Year with a little kiss of Midnight Moon with a sip of rich Champagne! The buttery richness of the Midnight Moon stems from months of aging and begs for the same level of complexity from its bubbly companion. So opt for a Champagne that has a longer time left on its lees, or is bolstered by a good dollop of reserve wines.
PHILIPPONNAT MV, Pinot Noir Blend, “Royale Réserve” Brut, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, France