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
2017 Wine Gift Giving Guide: Jaw Dropping Gifts
“What do you want for Christmas?” are the six words that always stop me in my tracks. Not because I am a scrooge or I do not like exchanging gifts. On the contrary, I love the holidays and giving gifts to friends and family. I love the look of joy and the smiles a perfectly selected gift brings. Well then, why does “What do you want for Christmas?” bring on temporary paralyze? It is stuff. The thought of having more stuff. I don’t want more stuff. Stuff adds clutter to my overly generous furnished home. I prefer to give experiences to people. Something they hopefully enjoy doing, which will create lasting memories. The jaw dropping gifts list is composed of items or experiences that will create memories for your wine lover.
WineCream is homemade ice cream and wine. The WineCream creators did the impossible. They made dessert better. They improved everyone’s frozen dessert by adding wine. Located in Baltimore City, WineCream has a tasting room where you witness their unique process of making the ice cream and delight in tasting their fruity wine ice cream. You can schedule private tastings. Your visit includes a tour of the historical industrial building, ice demonstration and a tasting. They have seasonal flavors like Apple Pie, Caramel Pie and Peach Cobbler. You taste between 4 and 6 ice creams. If you not interested in the onsite tasting, WineCream does ship locally. $15 for tasting fees, $14.99 pint of ice cream (Shipping not included) purchased online WineCream
Make Your Own Wine
While sipping a glass of Pinot Noir do you ever say to yourself, “I could make this”? We found a place that allows you to get your wish. The Urban Winery (Silver Spring, MD) offers wine making classes. Here is your chance to show off your inner winemaker. You can geek out over the whole wine making experience. The wine classes are small… you and 5 of your favorite people are the average size group. It is a two part experience. During your first visit, you select the varietal and make the wine with the resident winemaker. About 10 – 14 weeks later, you go back to The Urban Winery to bottle, cork and label your wine. When it is all said and done, you make approximately six gallons or 3 cases of wine. Call or email The Urban Winery to book your event $500 – $700 per group
29 Bottle Wine Cooler
A couple years ago my brother gave me a wine chiller refrigerator for Christmas. He immediately became my favorite brother. (By the way, he is my only sibling). It has the dual temperature settings for white and red wines. It is conveniently stored in my basement where I cellar my wine. The chiller’s compressor cycles, as a result it can be a little loud and expends a lot of energy are the only draw backs. I heard similar concerns expressed by other chiller owners. So, when NewAir contacted me about testing their 29-Bottle Black Stainless Wine Cooler, I had reservations. How could this be different then my current wine frig? In the name of wine, I gave it a try.
Immediately, I noticed NewAir 29 wine bottle cooler is a fourth slimmer than mine. Interesting. It holds the same number of bottles, but it is slimmer. The cooler is a sleek black stainless-steel model. It is perfect for people who do not have a lot of space, but need to accommodate at least two cases of wine. It has similar functionality, like dual temperature controls and adjustable wood rack trays, as in my current one. However, it is noticeably quieter. I did not hear the compressor cycling. NewAir is energy efficient. An unexpected surprise, was the lock. I can secure the cooler. This feature is great for people with kids and keeping wine in the “right” hands. I hope I do not lock myself out. I look forward to filling my new wine cooler and the new experiences each wine bottle will bring. The nice people at NewAir is offering a discount to Vino 301 followers. Use code VINO for 20% off the NewAir AWR-290DB-B Black Stainless Wine Cooler when you are purchasing online. $829.95 NewAir.com
Wine & Cheese Tour
Cheese frequently comes to mind when you think of serving wine. So why not have cheese during your wine tour? Vino 301 is offering a Wine and Cheese tour in 2018. Your adventure begins with a cheese and wine pairing, where Romano’s finest wines will be paired with P.A. Bowen Farmstead (Brandywine, MD) award-winning raw milk artisan cheeses. Romano Vineyard and Winery produces handcrafted award-winning wines from their estate grown grapes and grapes from custom growers. PA Bowen make award-winning raw milk artisan cheeses, and we are a pasture-based sustainable farm. Your next destination will take you to one of southern Prince George’s County local vineyards (Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards, JaneMark Winery &Vineyard, or Gemeny Winery & Vineyard). $115 per person. Wine & Cheese Tour