Fully vaccinated, we and our loved ones can finally make plans to get together in person! Good wine and a lovely cheese board make a matchless combination for when we catch up.
Pairing wine with cheese doesn’t have to be tricky. Here, we’ve put together a few pointers that will allow you to choose a great wine to go with some great cheese.
- If it grows together, it goes together. This saying applies to food and wine as a whole, not just cheese. It is consistently helpful in finding simple and delicious pairings. The famed Chevre goat cheese hails from the Loire Valley of France, right next to Sauvignon Blanc vineyards of Sancerre. The tangy, slightly grassy goat cheese is delicious with a glass of tangy, slightly grassy Sauvignon Blanc. Manchego is a firm, aged Sheep’s milk cheese from the heart of Spain. Not surprisingly, it is a classic pairing with full-bodied reds from the Tempranillo grape that is grown all over the area, especially from the famed Rioja vineyard region.
- Keep things balanced. Cheese is often pretty rich and decadent, but consumed in moderation, cheese can be a part of a well-balanced diet. It’s also important to think about the intensity of flavor and texture of both the cheese and wine when pairing. Champagne, with its luxurious texture and delicate flavor profile, pairs well with triple-cream cheeses such as Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery. Aged Gouda, with its firm texture and intensely nutty flavor, can stand up for a bold, full-bodied Cab. By preventing the cheese or the wine from overwhelming the other, you’re ensuring a pairing that allows unique characteristics of the cheese to be highlighted by certain aspects of the wine, and vice versa.
- Sugar and salt can be a great combination. While many of us normally enjoy dry wines (those without any residual sugar), a wine with some sweetness can be ideal with certain cheeses, especially if you are serving it at the end of the meal. This is because some cheeses are saltier than others, and sugar is a good way to balance that out. Port is a wine that has long been paired with strong blue cheeses such as Stilton, as Port’s robust and sweet profile counters not only the cheese’s salinity, but its strong flavor in general. Another example of the sugar-and-salt combination: the lightly sweet Riesling goes well with milder salty cheeses such as feta or Edam.
Don’t forget to play around with various accompaniments too! Mixing in different dried fruits, nuts, and preserves can be a fun way to experiment and see how the additions can change a pairing.