Perfect Wine and Cheese Pairings
Discover the Perfect Wine and Cheese Pairings
Creating exquisite wine and cheese pairings can be an enjoyable endeavor with a little knowledge. Let's explore some classic combinations and understand why they work. Armed with this wisdom, you'll never doubt your choices when embarking on your next wine and cheese adventure.
Tip #1: Match Intensity
One of the most critical considerations when crafting pairings is balancing the intensity of your wine and cheese. For instance, a bold Cabernet Sauvignon could overpower the delicate flavors of Gruyère but harmonizes beautifully with a Pinot Noir. As a general guideline:
- Wines with an alcohol by volume (ABV) above 14.5% are intense and pair well with strongly flavored cheeses.
- Wines with ABV below 12% are less intense and complement delicately flavored cheeses.
Tip #2: Age Matters
Pair bold red wines with aged cheeses. With aging, cheese develops richer flavors due to increased fat content and decreased water content. These characteristics make them ideal partners for bold red wines. Select cheeses aged at least a year, such as Cheddar, Gruyère, Manchego, Gouda, Provolone, and Parmesan-style varieties like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano.
Tip #3: Embrace Funk with Sweetness
Super funky cheeses find their match in sweeter wines. Varieties like Moscato, Gewürztraminer, Late Harvest dessert wines, and Port complement the pungency of stinky, washed-rind, and blue-veined cheeses. The sweetness in the wine balances the "funk" in the cheese, enhancing its creaminess. Classic pairings include Port with Stilton and Sauternes with Roquefort.
Tip #4: Sparkling Harmony
The high acidity and effervescence of sparkling wines provide a refreshing contrast to soft, creamy cheeses like Brie, Muenster, Camembert, Cremont, and Époisses de Bourgogne. The palate-cleansing effect of sparkling wines marries perfectly with these creamy delights.
Tip #5: Regional Bliss
Trust local traditions by pairing wines and cheeses from the same region. This approach often results in harmonious combinations. A few examples include Sauvignon Blanc with Goat Cheese (Loire Valley, France), Chardonnay with Époisses de Bourgogne (Burgundy, France), and Garnacha with Manchego (Spain).
Tip #6: The Versatile Nutty Cheese
When in doubt, opt for a firm, nutty cheese. These cheeses strike a balance that complements a variety of wines. They have enough fat to counterbalance tannins in red wine and enough delicacy to enhance the flavors of whites. Swiss, Gruyère, Abbaye de Belloc, Comté Extra, Emmental, and Gouda are excellent choices for a versatile cheese platter.
With these tips in mind, you're ready to embark on a delectable journey through the world of wine and cheese pairings. Whether you're hosting a gathering or simply indulging in a personal tasting, these insights will help you create memorable combinations. Cheers to your culinary adventures!