Have you ever seen someone smell a glass of wine and remark on its “lemony overtones” or “essence of plum” and wondered if they had any idea what they were talking about? Usually you're right, and they're pulling words from the 2009 Unabridged Wine Libs Dictionary. Pair one word from the "Obscure Fruits and Woods" chapter with another from "Vague Concepts" and you've got a smart-sounding wine description. How many times have we heard a Wine Libs poser foolishly declare that a wine resonated with "cedar echoes"? Too many times to count on one seven-fingered hand—eight times, to be precise.
But it turns out there is actually a science to smelling wine, and a corresponding aroma wheel with a full spectrum of familiar (fruity, floral, spicy) and odd (microbiological, oxidized, pungent) scents. A few smart people actually aren't making it up when they talk smart about wine. They understand the aroma wheel. They taste those amazing things they're talking about. And they taste it because a few brilliant chefs know how to pair wines perfectly with food to make you taste undertones you're embarrassed to openly admit. Those mahogany-cinnamon hughes are real my friend, and they taste exactly like the time you put cinnamon on your mahogany banister and went to town.
That great moment can be relived—even topped—by the food and wine available at Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe. Casellula understands the aroma wheel, Occam's Razor, and the Pythagorean Theorem, enabling them to create an isosceles triangle of wine, food, and Casellula.
With today's Groupon, $10 gets you $25 worth of decadence at Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe, located at 401 W. 52nd St. Casellula is no ordinary wine bar . Though unusual and unfamiliar wines fill its wine list, including Xinomavra from Kir Yianni (Greece), Ruche from Cantine Sant’ Agate (Italy), and Hondarrabi Zuri from Itsas Mendi (Spain), Casellula offers a wide array of tasty fare, including fancy cheeses, belly-filling sandwiches, and homemade desserts.
Casellula's rotating cheese menu contains 40 handmade selections from all over the world. They range from familiar to obscure, mild to strong, white to blue. Since every cheese has its own flavor, aroma, and texture, Casellula takes care in pairing each with the perfect culinary complement, such as honeys, nuts, compotes, jams, pickles, nuts, herbs, pastes, candies, cookies, and cakes, plus more exotic tastes including lemon-poppyseed marshmallow, brown-sugar fudge, and bacon/white chocolate ganache.
Along with its diverse cheeses, Casellula has a more substantive menu filled with dishes that take advantage of seasonal and local produce. Mainstays include mac and cheese, a smoked goose breast reuben sandwich, ricotta crostini (featuring homemade ricotta), and the wildly popular pig's ass sandwich. If your sweet tooth beckons, finish off your meal with a spectacular dessert such as the tapioca goat's milk pudding or a chocolate peanut-butter banana custard.
Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe has received rave reviews from the media masses:
- The best thing to do is simply head there soon and order, as I did, with reckless cheese-frenzied abandon. – Food and Wine Magazine
- There’s more to the menu than cheese. One can easily make a hearty meal from the unpretentious, ragtag band of small plates Casellula offers forth. – Edible Manhattan
- Casellula can be a thrilling destination — for anyone, but especially for us cheese aficionados. – The New York Sun
More than 100 Yelpers give it 4.5 stars, saying things like:
- Just OMG so good! I read the reviews here and then looked at the menu and Casellula did not disappoint! – Sharlene M.
- So far the best wine & cheese bar that I've tried in the city! I loved the combos of the cheese flights and of course the Pig's Ass Sandwich was awesome. – Lila H.
- This place never disappoints. Fantastic selection of cheeses and great descriptions to help you figure out what to choose. – Emily L.