When it comes to pairing cheese and wine there are a number of considerations, such as texture, acidity, fat and tannin, but let's pull it back a bit a get a little less technical. Cheese's are an entity unto themselves and vary in texture and taste. Some will complement and others will contrast the flavours in the wine and you won't know which you like till you taste it. Because the cheese is often the less powerful of the two we suggest trying it by itself and then sip the wine. Then have them together (I like to have a sip of water between to clear my palette if I am feeling serious).Here are a few examples of what we think can work well. We realise many people have different tastes so this is a loose general guide and not gospel.
Creamy cheeses with a soft rind (Camembert and Brie) often call for a sparkling or a dry white but could mingle with a red like a Merlot due to its subtle nature. Hard aged cheese's that are sharp and/or salty (Gouda, Cheddar, Parmesan, Pecorino, Fontina) enjoy hanging out with reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, an Italian Chianti, Shiraz and sometimes you may be surprised with white, say a Sauvignon Blanc or a Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc. Blues are one of my favourites to pair due to their excitable nature and wild acidities. Because there is so much to play with it is a wonderful journey.
Gorgonzola can work well with a Port, A Stilton will sit very well with a Sangiovese or Shiraz based on your palette and some Rieslings work nicely with creamier blues. A Roquefort French Blue on a Gingersnap biscuit will shake things up in this department and send you hurtling into whites, reds both sweet and dry on a hunt to match to your needs, so many people are different with this cheese and biscuit combo. Then we have softer cheeses like Ricotta and Mozzarella that match extremely well with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. I especially enjoy the way these two mix in your mouth to create a real blend of zing and a bounding mellow to separate and fill your mouth with contrast that then blends in an interesting manner.
Goats cheese and feta often have a great effect on a Chardonnay or a Chenin Blanc. White wines that have a higher acidity and/or a woody undertone can really make for a tantalising mix. In this case, you are working with what the cheeses have, and then adding to them to keep the level of the saltiness high and dry. We all have one combo that we show off with at dinner parties... My girlfriend likes to wrap a nice creamy blue in salami and have that with a nice Italian Nero d'Avola. Welllll, we would love to hear if you have any great combinations that we should know about and we will try them and do a write-up and share the love because that is what wine and cheese parties are all about.
We have a Merlot that goes very well with a Creamy cheese with a soft rind (Camembert and Brie). Give it a try and let us know what you think.
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