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‘Private’ tasting: Sheehan Winery offers free wine and cheese pairings for up to 6 guests

Sheehan Winery is hosting wine and cheese pairings by appointment on weekends throughout the month of May and possibly beyond. (Courtesy of Sheehan Winery)

Sheehan Winery is welcoming back guests with pairings of cheese and wine.

The winery, at 1544 Cerro Vista SW, is hosting one-hour wine and cheese pairings throughout May. The free pairings are by appointment only and can be scheduled at Groups will be limited to six people, and COVID safe practices will be in place.

“They’re all seated tastings,” owner and winemaker Sean Sheehan said. “We’ve got about an acre of land here. Most of the time nowadays, the weather is going to be pretty nice. So we’ve got a tent up, and people can go outside. We have a tent, and we also have kind of like a patio with a big shade structure over it. So we get some people under the tent and people under the shade structure. We leave our big garage door open in the winery. The winery’s, like, 2,000 square feet, so we usually have, like, four or five tables set up, but they’re spaced out nicely. You know, we’ve got a couple outside ones and a couple inside ones, but they’re all (about) 15 feet (apart).”

Guests will receive bottled water and two wine glasses, one to taste the sweeter wines and the other for the drier wines. The tasting servings of wine will be paired with five cheeses, including Dubliner, which resembles a sharp cheddar; Blarney Castle, a gouda-style cheese from Ireland; and Merlot Bellavitano, a rich, creamy cheese with berry and plum notes of merlot.

“We were doing Dubliner cheese with our dry whites, which are sauvignon blanc and our Viognier,” Sheehan said. “We were doing the goat cheese, it’s kind of infused with figs and berries, with our dry rosé and our Chambourcin wine, which is kind of like a pinot noir, kind of a lighter red. We were doing the Bellavitano cheese with our bigger reds. So we were doing, like, a reserve cabernet, a malbec. … And then for the gouda style, we were pairing it with our Malvasia Bianca, which is a semi sweet white wine. The havarti we were doing with our sweet red, which is called Danza del Fuego.”

Sheehan’s Sauvignon Blanc features ripe guava, grapefruit and lemon with notes of lime zest. The Viognier features stone fruit, mineral and lemon with notes of lime zest and nectarine. The Malvasia Bianca has flavors and aromas of rich, ripe fruit and is incredibly floral with tropical fruit, jasmine and elderflower on the nose. It is semi-sweet on the palate with green apple, yellow plum and ginger, according to the winery’s website.

The Chambourcin presents a rose petal and light violet on the nose. Followed by raspberry, red cherry, cranberry and a light earthiness on the palate with a finishing of spice, dust and balanced tannins, according to the winery’s website. Danza del Fuego is 80% cabernet sauvignon and 20% black muscat. It has aromas of sweet berry and spice on the nose and soft and sweet layers of bright cherry and wild boysenberry on the palate, according to the website.

Sheehan Winery is hosting weekend pairings featuring five cheeses and some of the winery’s dry and sweet wines. (Courtesy of Sheehan Winery)

Sheehan said the winery has been successful doing small, private events. The one-on-one interaction guests have with their server may have something to do with it. The wine and cheese pairing will feature one server per table who is well versed in wines.

“You get really a lot of information, a lot of back and forth a lot of personal attention,” Sheehan said. “It’s, like, legit, like a private wine tasting. It’s a nice vibe. It’s a nice experience, especially for no charge. You know, we’re trying to get people back in the swing and incentivize people to remember about our winery in New Mexico wineries in general.”

Sheehan plans to keep tastings free at the Cerro Vista SW location until the Sheehan Winery tasting room opens in Don Luis Plaza in Old Town. The tasting room is tentatively scheduled to open in July. The plaza will also feature a Noisy Water Winery tasting room, a beer taproom, an art gallery, spa and salon and more.

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