Private Tasting Class at the Rind

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Owners Sara and Stephen

By Rachel Smith

Disclaimer: Until last week, my idea of wine and cheese pairing was a block of Tillamook cheddar and a bottle of red from the clearance rack at Safeway (I mean, a girl’s gotta ball on a budget sometimes).

I’d read wine descriptions like “vibrant blackberry” and “notes of cinnamon” and all I could think of was a “breakfast pastry” and certainly not something I’d ever want to drink. I’ve always played by the “whatever tastes good” rule, but last night I realized I haven’t actually been tasting what I was eating or drinking and I learned what a difference it makes.

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to check out The Rind (Facebook, Twitter) on 18 and L streets, I urge you to stop what you’re doing and go there immediately. The quaint layout offers guests a comfy ambiance filled with a robust scent of cheesy goodness that is not to be missed.

They’re open for lunch and dinner, serving a glorious menu of cheeses and specialty sandwiches, and a fantastic opportunity – they offer private tastings once a month which GOTG had the pleasure of experiencing last week.

For $60, the Wine & Cheese Pairing included a beautifully decorated layout consisting of five wines (including bottomless Prosecco, HELLO!) and five exquisite cheeses.

The gracious owners, married couple Sara Arbabian and Stephen Tatterson, were great hosts and their passion for the restaurant and creating a warm environment made for a wonderful evening. They made everyone feel incredibly comfortable, no matter the level of knowledge you came in with. We joked, asked questions and of course, ate and drank like kings.

What we tasted…

photo 5THE WINE!

  • Il Follow (Extra Dry Prosecco)
  • Ch. Haut Rian (White Bordeaux)
  • Dom. Cristia (Grenache)
  • Ibericos (Tempranillo)
  • Passport Hazelnut (Port)


  • Domaine de Vallage
  • Humboldt Fog
  • Bella Vitano Gold (My personal fave!)
  • 12 mo. Manchego
  • Smoky Blue

What We Learned:

  • Chew your cheese and spread it around the roof of your mouth with your tongue. This allows for max flavor.
  • Plastic wrap suffocates your cheese! When you invest in a nice cheese, you’ll want to store it in parchment or waxed paper, and then loosely in plastic wrap or a plastic baggie so it doesn’t go bad or lose flavor. You can buy your own or pick some up at the Rind.
  • Sara and Stephen are rock stars.
  • Wine + cheese + friends = best night ever.
  • Next month is fondue tasting! Check out their site for more details and to sign up!

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