How To Pair Cheese and Wine

How To Pair Cheese and Wine:

Pairing a wine and cheese course can be a great way to serve appetizers for a group of friends or family, or substituted as a dessert course at the end of a meal (especially with a rich dessert wine to accompany it!). Throwing together wine and cheese pairings doesn’t have to be complicated. Just make sure to focus on the flavors of a favorite wine, than find contrasting flavors in cheese to go with it. Whether it is a bottle of $18.00 Cabernet or a $270 Sauvignon Blanc, it will be simple to find a cheese that compliments the flavors of a favored wine in a flash.

First, figure out if what type of wine will be served, whether it is a full-bodied red, a dessert wine, or a crisp white.

A Medium-Bodied Red Wine Paired With Cheese

Medium-bodied red wines include Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and some Merlots. These are some of the easiest wines to pair up with cheese since they are so versatile with soft tannins and fruit. Choose a cheese that has a good amount of butterfat and acidity and has been aged for a little bit. Rich cheeses do well with these wines as well.

Cheeses to pair with these wines include:

  • Swiss-style cheese such as Gruyere
  • Aged goat cheese such as Boucheron
  • Soft cheese such as Camembert
  • Young and sharp Cheddars
  • Young creamy swiss cheese
  • Muenster cheese

A Full-Bodied Red Wine Paired With Cheese

Full-bodied Red Wines includes Cabernet Sauvignons, Bordeux, Chianti and Sangiovese. These red wines can be dry and have more tannins that make the wines taste savory. Cheese that goes well with these wine need to be aged as much as possible, since these cheeses have the most amount of butterfat.How To Pair Cheese and Wine

Cheese to pair with these wines include:

  • Asiago
  • Hard cheeses such as Parmesan and Manchego
  • Aged cheddar and Jack cheese
  • Aged Gouda
  • Blue Cheese
  • Aged creamy Brie cheese

A White Wine Paired With Cheese

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Although red wines go with cheese more easily, there are several cheese that can be served with white wine. Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewurtztriminer, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are all popular white wines to be served with cheese. How To Pair Cheese and Wine

Cheese to pair with these wines include:

  • Creamy cheeses like Brie
  • Creamy to hard white cheese such as Swiss (best with Gewurtztriminer and Riesling)
  • Cheddar that is not sharp (best with Pinot Gris)
  • Mozzarella (best with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon)
  • Goat’s milk cheeses such as Laura Chanel (best with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon)

A Late-Harvest Dessert Wine Paired With Cheese

Substituting a dessert wine in place of an actual dessert is a great way to switch up your routine. Dessert wine’s pair best with rich cheeses to balance out the tanginess, saltiness and dark fruits present in each of the items. A late-harvest dessert wine (it will say this on the label) refers to Sauternes, which pair best with rich, salty cheese flavors.

Cheese to pair with these wines include:

  • Tangy sheep’s milk cheese
  • Blue cheeses
  • Sheep’s milk Feta
  • Aged Cheddar
  • Stilton
  • Roquefort

A Fortified Dessert Wine Paired With Cheese

A fortified dessert wine refers to wines that are rich in tannins such as Port, Sherry and Madiera. These have dark fruit, chocolate, toffee and nutty flavors and go beset with very intense cheeses. The best cheese for fortified dessert wines need to balance out with cheese that are rich in salt and butterfat

Cheese to pair with these wines include:

  • Dry cheese, like Jack
  • Stilton
  • Cabrales
  • Blue cheese

Tips On Serving Cheese and Wine

The best way to serve cheese and wine is to pair up a minimal amount. Less is more in this case. Pick three to five cheeses that have varying textures and flavors that match up with the wine well. For example, pick a mild creamy cheese, a hard cheese, and a strong cheese if possible. Remove it from the refrigerator about an hour and a half before you serve it for the best flavor.

Provide other things besides the wine and cheese, like sliced fruit or nuts that hold flavors within the wine. For example, if the wine has overtones of pears, berries, raisins, walnuts, or grapes; serve them on the tray with the cheese.

Serve the cheese with some gourmet crackers or specialty bread.

These cheeses can be found at your local grocery store, along with the wines, fruit and bread. Serve everything up on a large wooden cutting board or platter and this can be an easy appetizer or dessert course for the evening. Help guests taste the different flavors that contrast with the wine if they are interested, by explaining how the flavors work together, or else just let the guests enjoy the ideal combinations on their own.

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