Wine and Cheese Pairing Guidelines
Jeff’s Corner 11-2-17
Hello, and a very good day to all of you…
To begin, thanks for all the likes and interest in last weeks story about pairing food and wine. Here’s a follow-up with a little bit about what happens when we pair wine with cheese.
When we pair wine with cheese, the cheese tends to suppress negative qualities in the wine. Cheese enhances the buttery flavors and creamy textures of wine that are sensually pleasing. This, in turn, will tone down wines that may be out of balance with too much acid or tannin, and hide flavors that are too vegetal, such as an abundance of green pepper in young Cabernets.
Books have been written about pairing cheese and wine, so let’s go with a few simple guidelines. White wines high in acid, like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, do well with cheese high in acid, like Chèvre and Manchego. High acid wines also tolerate salt, and cheese is salty. For a sweet white, Riesling is great with gooey cheese like Brie or Camembert; the crisp acidity of Riesling tempers the high fat in a soft cheese.
Big, full-bodied reds are best with hard cheeses such as aged Cheddar or Pecorino Romano. One of the most classic of all pairings is Port with Stilton, or any other rich blue-veined cheese. Very “stinky” cheese, like aged Brick or Limburger, do well with late harvest Gewurztraminer or Eiswein.
Now, let’s have a wine and cheese party for the holidays. Once again, simple is good, with maybe four different cheeses max. Here’s a cheesy nursery rhyme: “Something old, something new, something gooey, something blue.” Old can be a 5 year old Wisconsin Cheddar, young a Texas goat cheese, gooey a warm French Camembert, and blue a pungent Italian Gorgonzola.
Accent the cheese with simple garnishes. Try unsalted nuts with dried or fresh fruit, and maybe some designer jellies or compotes. Finish with some fairly bland crackers. Remember, the cheese is the celebrity.
Cheers, everyone! As you read this, Kathy and are chilling (literally) out in Ouray, Colorado We’re sitting in some hot-springs bubbling out of the side of a mountain about 100 feet from our hotel room with Kath’s sister Kerry and my main brother Bill. There may even be some GCV wine involved in this crime scene.
So, put another quarter in the Wurlitzer, and we’ll see you on the flip-side…