Mention Otro to any foodie in Edinburgh and they immediately start salivating over their Sunday Lunches. They are renowned for their Sunday roasts and those Yorkshire puddings.
My attendance was at their first ever Cheese and Wine event held on a cold and blustery Wednesday evening with cheese from our wonderful Artisan Scottish Cheesemonger IJ Mellis cheeses and wine from l’Art Du Vin who since 2007 have built a reputation for being one of Scotland’s leading independent wine operators who meticulously source wine from all corners of the globe.
We were seated in groups of four, approx 6 tables, and each laden with a beautiful wooden board of cheesy delights and accompaniments.
Including IJ Mellis beetroot chutney
And some fabulous honey.
Cheese 1 – Ragstone Goats Cheese
This is an English pasteurised goat’s milk cheese made by Neal’s Yard Creamery. The texture is light and creamy with creamy white mould rind and a savoury lactic and lemony flavours.
Wine 1 – Paired with a Swiss Scottish white wine, Fendant du Valais, les Deux Cimes
Difficult to make wine in Scotland, Jamie McCulloch from Edinburgh done the next best thing and made wine in Switzerland and sells it here in Scotland. He only makes 1000 cases per year so when you see it on a menu make sure you order some.
It’s made from Switzerland’s most widely planted white grape, Chasselas, which creates a refreshing, dry, light-bodied white wine that’s fresh and zesty. It’s light and easy drinking.
This pairing complimented each other well, neither overpowering each other, but rather the wine enhanced the lemon flavours in the cheese, ever so slightly.
Cheese 2 – Tunworth Brie Cheese
More Camembert than Brie, this English cheese is made entirely by hand. The rind is white, soft and wrinkly whilst the interior is soft, gooey and creamy with lovely rich nutty flavour with a mushroomy aroma.
Wine 2 – Paired with Grolleau, Le Joufflu, Les Equilibristes 2017 red wine.
Made from the Grolleau grape, this French grape is grown in the Loire valley. Wines made from Grolleau grapes tend to be low in alcohol with high acidity. Reds made from Grolleau tend to be light bodied, packed full of fruit flavours and food friendly.
This was light in colour and body, and the high acidity was well paired to cut through the creaminess and goo of the brie.
Cheese 3 – Barwheys Cheddar
An award winning Scottish cheese. Barwheys Cheddar is made in Ayrshire and has been aged for 12 months giving it a nice meaty and strong flavour. It’s mellow, creamy and smooth.
Wine 3 – Paired with Rioja Crianza Blanco, Hacienda Grimon 2010
An organic wine from Spain. This wine looks like water, it has almost no colour. Acidity is high and medium bodied but you can pick up the aromas of oak from the oak barrel fermentation.
Cheddar cheese is categorised as an Umami flavour which is one of the most difficult food tastes to pair. The challenge umami poses is that it makes huge, full-bodied, tannic wine taste bitter and metallic. Furthermore, umami in any food will increase the perception of bitterness in the accompanying wine.
The wines that go well with umami-rich food are those low in tannins, but even more so, a good acidity is essential as well as low tannins and in this case this Rioja Blanco responses well.
Cheese 4 – Bleu des Causses blue cheese
French and made from raw milk of Montbeliarde and Aubrac breeds of cow. A close cousin to Roquefort, it is produced in the Languedoc region of southern France and was granted AOC name. It’s firm yet creamy and has spicy peppery flavours from the blue mould.
Wine 4 – Paired with Maury Grenat, Domaine Lafage 2016.
Made with the Grenache Black grape from Languedoc region in France this is a gorgeous sexy sweet dessert wine. On the nose is big juicy red fruits – strawberries, raspberries and on the palate its full bodied with richly aromatic with a long sweet finish.
A nice match but to me blue cheese pairs with any wine and sweet wine pairs with any cheese. Two of my favourite ways to end any fabulous meal, so I was happy.
On the night, Richard Bouglet from l ‘art du Vin said ‘1+1=3. The cheese by itself is brilliant, the wine by itself is brilliant, but together? The whole thing is extraordinary!’ And I quite agree.
Orto, don’t host these cheese and wine pairing evenings regularly but keep an eye on their social media for their next one.
Otro, 22 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7AF. Tel : 0131 556 0004 www.otrorestaurant.co.uk
I was invited by Otro to this event. Food and drink were complimentary but the views are very much my own.