C-One Tasting Series – A Gem To Be Shared

image: scenes from the Ole Espanña tasting seminar

credit: Treve Ring

There are a handful of little gems in Victoria that I’m hesitant to write about. Do I really want to share my secret spots with the masses? Especially when said secret spot seats a baker’s dozen, is better outfitted than most restaurants in fine glassware, and is connected to the biggest, littlest, yummiest cheese shop in Victoria?

When Charelli’s Cheese Shop & Delicatessen moved a few doors down into slightly larger digs on Foul Bay Road, they kept the lease on their former sliver of a space and converted it into C-One. C-One is a private tasting room with high top classroom style wood benches, fully equipped audio-visual capabilities, a demonstration kitchen, art-clad walls, gleaming stainless steel and dozens of wine glasses. The enterprising mother-daughter duo behind Charelli’s (aka the incredible and indefatigable Carmen & Nicole) have worked with local sommeliers to run a series of educational and entertaining wine seminars. Now in its second year, the tasting series at C-One has been a huge hit, with nearly a 100% sell-out record (and some topics warranting an additional class to meet demand).

A big part of that has been popular instructor Ernest Sargent, of Fiasco Wines. An International Sommelier Guild Diploma graduate, Ernest has been studying, making and cellaring wine for over 35 years. Unpretentious, open and charming, he puts his groups at ease, immediately erasing the perception of snobbiness associated with wine professionals. It’s a great synergy with the Charelli’s team – wine and cheese are kindred spirits after all. The majority of tasting series guests are regular Charelli’s customers, and they have now become repeat C-One participants (Ernest is on a first name basis with many in the room by now).

I sat in on Ole España – a Spanish wine and cheese tasting seminar, revving up the room for late March’s Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, and this year’s theme region of Spain. Ernest’s wine selections crisscrossed Spanish regions, styles and pricepoints, and were matched by the Charelli’s team with a wide range of sheep, goat and cow’s milk cheese from Spain. Part of the fun, and education, came from trying different combinations – would the briny and nutty Manchego from La Mancha suit the smoky Bodegas JA Calvo Casajus from Ribera del Duero (absolutely). Will the white blossom and off-dry Vina Esmeralda of Penedes work with the mildly fruity Drunken Goat cheese from Murcia (you bet).

Highlights of the lineup were the 2005 Mas Ardevol Terra d’hom from Priorat (layered red and burnished black fruits, mineral, violets, raspberry $68), 1992 Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco from Rioja (lemon oil, bitter almond, apple, precise minerality and generous texture $56) and the NV Gonzales Byass Apostoles Palo Cortado VORS (intense, lengthy and complex marmalade, earth, walnut richness $35 for 375ml).

Just people passionate for wine, cheese and knowledge, coming together to share it. Count me into that group, since I’m sharing this gem with you.

*Check out the 2011 line up of C-One tasting series classes and dates here. Regular classes are $50 per person, and advanced classes (new this year, for people with a decent base wine knowledge and pours of specialty and rarer wines) are $75 per person.


Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen

2851 Foul Bay Road, Victoria BC






Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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