The Texas Cheese and Wine Experience (or Fun in the Board Room!)
I genuinely enjoy many things about my job at 4.0: getting to know new customers, chatting with club members, working alongside my colleagues (many of whom I call “friend”), serving at special events, and learning about and tasting a wide assortment of Texas wines. But one of my favorite “tasks” at 4.0 is leading cheese and wine pairings. While Carl leads most of these pairings on Saturdays, I (and the other Leads) get to step into that role on weekdays and when Carl is away. And let me tell you, there’s rarely a dull moment during a pairing.
Here’s how a typical “Texas Cheese and Wine Experience” works:
1) You make a reservation for a pairing on our website (see the “Visit Us” tab). These pairings can be either private or public. “Private” means it’ll be just you and your guests in attendance, while “public” means you may be with folks you don’t know (which, by the way, can have hilarious consequences).
2) Before your pairing, one of our cheese-mongers cuts the cheese (insert jokes here…we’ve heard them ALL). This is why we ask for advance reservations.
3) You arrive (on time, we hope) and are treated to a seated pairing in our Board Room that includes five yummy, artisan cheeses and five wines (two white and three red) that complement the cheeses. Your pairing lasts about 45 minutes.
Each of us who leads these pairings has our own approach, but all of us provide in-depth information about our cheeses, our wines, and the people who make them. I typically begin by introducing myself and 4.0, and then I offer “suggestions” (not rules!) for enjoying the pairing. Then the fun begins: a couple of sips of wine, a nibble of cheese, another sip or two of wine, and then lively discussion about the aromas and tastes.
I’m not gonna’ lie: Every pairing is different, and I can never predict how things are going to go…which is what I like most about doing these pairings. During one of my most memorable pairings, one with a large group that had already stopped at a couple of wineries before arriving at 4.0 (so silliness ensued), one gentleman (who had clearly never participated in a pairing of any sort before) finished ALL of his cheese and wine before I’d even said my name. I advised his neighbors to guard their cheese and wine closely as he now had nothing to eat or drink (except water) for the next 40 minutes.
Sometimes I learn more about our guests than I really ought to. One group of guests shared their ideas for a “THC pairing” while another discussed in depth their marriages (and divorces). And often, I find connections with our guests: common travels, Houston roots (go Texans, Astros, and Rockets…and remember the Oilers!?!), same-age children, a shared love of bourbon. I’ve even led pairings while carrying a guest’s baby in my arms…more than once!
Recently, I led a pairing with a large group of younger folks (but all over 21!). As we got to talking, it surfaced that most of us had gone to the same high school in Houston and that some of us had gone to the same college. It was clear that I was quite a bit older than them, but the real shocker was discovering that one of them was the daughter and niece of people I knew well in high school and college. That pairing was a bit humbling for me.
No matter the group, I always appreciate the opportunity to relax with customers in the Board Room while they enjoy our cheeses and wines and while I get to share our 4.0 story. If you haven’t yet enjoyed a cheese and wine pairing with us (or a chocolate and wine pairing…we do those, too), please make your reservation soon. I promise you won’t regret it!