Have you ever wanted to host a wine tasting evening with a selection of cheeses but did not know where to start? I am about to share with you some basics you can use to guide your next wine and cheese tasting event.
The reason we pair wine and cheese is to create a pleasant mouthfeel experience and to complement and bring out the complex flavours.
1. Create a perfect balance
It is crucial to match the intensity of the wine and cheese in order to create a perfect balance. A strong red wine with a high ABV percentage would not pair well with a delicate cheese since the wine would overpower the cheese. Hence, a bold wine with a high ABV percentage would pair preferably with a more intense flavoured cheese. As a rule of thumb, we suggest pairing light with light and heavy with heavy. This means that a lighter wine would go well with a lighter and more delicate cheese and vice versa.
2. Aged pairs with aged
A good way to go when pairing an aged red wine is to stick to an aged cheese. As cheeses mature, their fat content increases as they lose their water content and become drier. This is ideal for bold red wines since the higher fat content of the cheese counteracts the high levels of tannins in the bold red wine. Tannins are natural components in wine that create a bitter taste or drying sensation on the tongue and are quite common in bold red wines.
3. Blue Cheese & sweet white wines
In general, white wines that are sweet, for example an ice wine, Moscato or a gewürztraminer are great pairing options for blue cheeses. It is best to avoid pairing blue cheeses with red wines as the blue cheese tends to silence the aromas and flavour profiles of the red. Furthermore, the acidity and piquant flavour of the blue cheese intensifies the tannins in red wines.
4.If they grow together, they likely go together
Another general rule of thumb is to pair wines and cheeses that grow within the same region. Records dating back centuries indicate that wine and cheese from the same locations have often been served together. This close proximity rule of pairing has been passed down for years and it is a good rule to go by when you are unsure about what to pair your wine with.
5. Sparkling wine & creamy cheese
Because sparkling wines tend to have high levels of acidity and carbonation, they are great options for creamy cheeses like; Brie, Camembert and Château de Bourgogne. The creamy cheese is usually rich and buttery which leaves a coat on your mouth that balances the acidity of the sparkling wine perfectly. The bubbly wine also serves as a palate cleanser to these creamier soft cheeses.
The practice of pairing wine and cheese has been around for centuries. At first, it seems a bit intimidating but with these basic guiding principles, you can create some great pairing experiences. Remember to remove your cheeses from the fridge 30 minutes prior to tasting them! This small change can make a huge difference in your tasting experience. Please note that pairings are always subjective so you may not agree with all these rules but it is a great starting point. Please reach out to us with your comments and suggestions, we love hearing from you!