Perfect Partners – Wine and cheese – what goes with what?
Wine and cheese – As far as I remember, wine and cheese have been together for a long time. However, with today’s wide options for both wines and cheeses, the pairing opportunities could be quite overwhelming. So to make your life a bit easier, I have made a resumé sheet to give you a reference point for pairing the wines you like with your favourite cheese. Remember that these are my personal recommendations and not set in stone. Practice with your own pairings and see if there is something you like , listed below or not, that amazes you!!
A good point to remember for the exercise: matching wines and cheeses from the same region is a safe start for a learning experience. For example, a good Italian Chianti with a good Parmesan will be a complex and interesting mix. Consider as well that a harder type of cheese (Cheddar or Manchego) can stand a tannic wine. On the other hand a creamy cheese, such as Brie, typically goes well with a wine that has more acidity, like a Chardonnay. In addition, give salty cheeses a sweet wine partner (i.e. Blue Cheese and Port).
Guidelines for wine and cheese pairing
- Cheeses with a high acidity pair well with acid wines.
- Fruity flavors like fruity wines.
- Balance the weight of the cheese with the structures of the wine.
- Sweetness in wine counter-balances and complements the acidity and saltiness of cheese.
- Visualize the taste and texture and experiment accordingly.
- The whiter and fresher the cheese, the whiter and crisper the wine.
- A bold and strong cheese goes well with a full body wine.
A fresh cheese marries well with a fresh, light, crisp white wine or a fruity rosé as it is light with diverse degrees of acidity. On the other hand, fresh curd cheese or goats’ cheese, with its nutty sharpness and acidity, go nicely with a wine that is fruit and not too much acid such as a New World Sauvignon Blanc.
To continue, a white mold cheese is perfect with a sparkling wine as it cuts through the creaminess on the palate. However, a brie with some age can handle a more full-bodied white wine such as a Californian or Burgundian Chardonnay, which brings out the buttery nature of both the cheese and the wine. A medium bodied red, such as Pinot Noir could also work as well.
What to drink with Cheddar style cheeses?. Remember, the stronger the cheese, the bigger the wine. A bold and creamy Chardonnay could do the job. Alternatively, dessert and fortified wines can also be a good match depending on the age and texture of the cheddar.
The saltiness and earthy aroma of a blue cheese displays a wonderful affinity with sweet dessert wines, Muscat or Botrytis. An effective pairing will point out the sweetness of the milk. The salt in the cheese often emphasizes the wine’s astringency (its tannin and acidity), so contrary to popular belief red wine is not always the best match, though some reds do work well with milder blues.
Wines for your cheese pairings:
Rivarose Brut ( Provence, France). SAQ # 13582839 – $18.95
Delicious aromas of lavender, tangerines and raspberry. Fragrant and light to medium body. Very refreshing bubble recalling flavours of Sicilian oranges, wild thyme and nectarines. Cheese Pairing: Camembert Le Petit Normand
Tawse Chardonnay 2015 ( Niagara, Canada). SAQ # 11039736 – $19.95
Ripe bartlett pear and green apple. Pleasant hint of dry cloves and star anise in the bouquet. On the palate, this Niagara Chardonnay is fresh and round with a delightful creamy texture. Quite elegant, displaying savoury notes of white pepper, yellow and white fruits. A gastronomical chardonnay. Cheese Pairing: Le Saint-Félicien Lac-Saint-Jean
Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ( Aconcagua Valley, Chile). SAQ # 11464345 – $15.95
Beautiful nose of tropical citrus fruits ( pineapple, lime, grapefruit) comes to mind. Nuances of anisette and green peppercorn as well. Round and fruit forward with a pleasant acidity. Long and elegant. Amazing quality for $15.95. Cheese Pairing: Chèvre des Neiges
MontGras Quatro 2017 ( Central Valley, Chile). SAQ # 11331737 – $17.35
Gorgeous aromas of ripe cassis and black cherry. On the mouth, structured with a silky mid palate and very satiny tannins. Delicious flavors of mocha, chocolate with hints of green pepper peppercorns. Very caressing finale. Cheese Pairing: Cheddar des Basques Vieilli 7 ans
Disclaimer: Wines for this article were given by their importers for review purposes. Cheeses suggested for the pairings are strictly from Quebec and were purchased by myself for tasting purposes as well. For more information on where to acquire the cheeses please visit: https://www.fromagesdici.com/fr/