Wine and cheese pairings
Wine and cheese are two of life’s great culinary pleasures, and finding the perfect match can be a delicious endeavor. As with any wine and food pairing, there are a number of considerations, such as texture, acidity, fat and tannin. Rather than complicating the topic with exotic matches like Garrotxa and Meursault, we’ve broken the art of wine and cheese pairing down, so you can create your own.
Wine and Cheese Pairing Guide
Wine and cheese pairing possibilities are endless. To simplify the strategy, cheeses can be divided into six categories.
Soft and rindless, these can be made with cow, goat or sheep milk. They’re not aged and have a mild, slightly tangy flavor. While a log of bright white goat cheese is iconic, the category also includes farmer’s cheese, ricotta and others that come in tubs.
Example: Mozzarella, Burrata, Feta, Chèvre, Ricotta
Wine pairings: White wine: Vermentino, Muscadet, Soave, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay
Wine suggestion: Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna
These are named for the bloom of white mold on the outside. They tend to be the richest and creamiest type of cheese, with a soft, spreadable texture. The rind is edible, and it has a stronger, funkier flavor than the interior.
Wine pairings: Sparkling , light white wine as Chablis, Sancerre, Gruner Veltliner, dry Vouvray; Dry and light-bodied wines that are young, fruity and unoaked (Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, Barbera.
Wine suggestion: Champagne Drappier Carte d’Or Brut NV
3. Washed Rind
A bath in brine, beer or wine produces a distinct orange rind. They’re rich and creamy, and they can be soft or semi-soft in texture. They’re funkier than bloomy cheeses, with gamy, often pleasantly pungent notes.
Example: Epoisses, Reblochon, Livarot, Munster, Taleggio
Wine pairings: Dry, traditional-method sparkling wines, structured whites as Pinot Gris, Gewurtraminer from Alsace, Semillon from Hunter Valley and Burgundy wines
Wine suggestion: Domaine Faiveley Gevrey - Chambertin ''Vieilles Vignes''
They’re not spreadable, nor do they break in shards like a hard cheese. They tend to be creamy and fairly mild in flavor. Many are excellent to melt and perfect to slice. Some cheeses like Gouda are semi-soft in younger styles, while when aged, their texture turns hard.
Example: Morbie, Mimolette, Gouda, Gruyère
Wine pairings: Dry white wine like Chardonnay, Rioja or Condrieu; spicy red wine like Cote du Rhone and Chianti.
Wine suggestion: Delas Saint-Esprit Côtes du Rhône Rouge
The product of aging, these are quite firm and break into crumbles or shards. They tend to have nutty and complex savory notes. Some are fairly pungent and salty.
Example: Cheddar, Comté, Parmesan, Pecorino
Wine pairings: Champagne or Vintage sparkling wine, fortified wine like Sherry Amontillado, white wine like Vin Jaune, bold wine with some ages like Barbaresco, Brunello di Montalcino, Bordeaux
Wine Suggestion: Michele Chiarlo Reyna Barbaresco
Veins of blue mold run through these. They can be soft and creamy, or semi-soft and crumbly. Some are sweeter and milder, but all pack a good deal of sharpness and tang.
Example: Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Fourme d’Ambert, Stilton
Wine pairings: Noble Rot from Sauternes or Coteaux de Layon; Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese Riesling; Vin Santo; fortified wine like Port, Rivesaltes.
Wine suggestion: Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes Grenat Bio
Source: Wine Enthusiast
Recommended wine from WeWine
Domaine Faiveley Gevrey - Chambertin ''Vieilles Vignes''
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No other culture has mastered the art of food and wine pairing quite like the French
If you want a short course in cheese appreciation, here are 10 awesome selections to try. Not only are they exceptionally tasty, but all of them represent, for me, something unique or notable in the cheese galaxy. All are regularly available in Napa Valley. Check Oxbow Cheese Merchant and Whole Foods in Napa, Atelier by JCB in Yountville and Sunshine Foods in St. Helena.