Wine and Cheese… Tips to Having an Awesome Pairing
Recently Vino 301 launched a Wine and Cheese tour with two amazing partners, Romano Vineyard and Winery (Brandywine, MD) and PA Bowen Farmstead (Brandywine, MD). Obviously, we are pairing Romano’s finest wines with PA Bowen award-winning raw milk artisan cheeses. When we were selecting which cheeses and wines to pair we started with the cheeses. Yes, the cheese not the wine! Most people assume you should start with the wine and build the meal around the wine. Well, you would be wrong. Any good food and wine pairing starts with the food. Food has more impact on how a wine will taste. This is especially true with cheeses. It is more than likely cheese will have a negative impact on the taste of wine. Here are some tips to have an awesome wine and cheese pairing.
Cheese is fatty
Your taste buds immediately perceive levels of sugar, salt and acid when you taste food. And, this is great to apply general tasting principals like sweet food with sweet wine, acidic food with high acid white wines, or salty food with tannic red wines. These rules do not always apply to cheese pairings. Cheese can confuse your taste buds. Cheese is fatty and will coat your tongue, like a thin coat of pollen on your car in the beginning of spring. The mouth coating effect may impair your sense of taste especially with wine.
Go for intensity
Gauge the cheese flavor intensity when you are matching it to wine. You want to make sure the wine or cheese does not overpower the other. For example, an intense blue cheese can be paired with a light flavored Riesling. This pairing is balanced. The Riesling will not overshadow the cheese. Pairing a bold, rich Cabernet Sauvignon with Gorgonzola is a battle of flavors. It is like watching the Ali-Frazier fight, down goes Frazier. The Cabernet and Gorgonzola flavors are competing with each other.
Acid can be fat best friend
Acid and fat combinations are an unlikely pair, but many people enjoy the combo. Acidic wines like Pinot Gris, Albariño, and Grüner Veltliner cut through the fat. Remember the fatty coat we discussed earlier, these wines will cut through that coat. They are the Edward Scissorhands of the wine world. Try mozzarella, feta and goat cheese with these wines.
Fruity with savory flavors
There is a component in food known as umami. Umami is the savory taste. People often refer to mushrooms when describing it. This flavor is found in hard cheeses. Hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan and gruyere should be paired with fruit forward wines, such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Look for wines with mild tannin but have a lot of fruity character.
If this is overwhelming, no worries. Below is a 2015 Wine Enthusiast Magazine wine and cheese guide you can use to have an awesome pairing. Share your favorite cheese and wine pairing with us. Leave your wine and cheese pairing in the blog comment section.
Wine and Cheese Pairing Examples
Credit: WINE ENTHUSIAST, 2015