we think of a wine and cheese party we automatically think of red wine, but in
fact white wine is actually a much better partner for many types of cheese.
Read on to find out more about perfect cheese and wine pairings.
for most people red wine is the go-to partner for cheese. However, the issue
with red wine, especially a full-bodied red, is that it can overpower
all but the most robust of cheeses. White wine, fortified wines and lighter red
wines are often a much better match.
What about Port and Stilton?
might rightly point out that Port is a red wine and has long been considered
the ideal wine with Stilton, an English blue veined cheese. The reason
that Port pairs so well with blue cheese is because it is sweet and fortified.
It is not because it is red. The sweetness provides a perfect foil for the tangy
saltiness of blue cheese.
alternative to Port, try blue veined cheeses with other sweet wines such as
Sauternes, Tokaji, Icewine as well as any German or Austrian late harvest wine.
Chardonnay with Creamy Camembert and Brie Style Cheeses
Camembert, Brie or other soft, surface ripened cheeses pair so much better with
white wine. Chardonnay shines with these types of cheeses. Anything from
a steely Burgundian Chablis to an unoaked or moderately oaked style works. And,
preferably one from a cooler climate with bright acidity usually works. Think New Zealand, Sonoma Coast, Russian
River Valley or Carneros. The more subtle flavors of Chardonnay allow the
flavors of the cheese to shine and the acidity in the wine cuts through the
Prosecco or any good quality New World sparkling wine are other great options with
Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese
To me goat
cheese and Sauvignon Blanc is a match made in heaven. It is no
coincidence that the Loire Valley, home to Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé is also
home to some of the most delicious goat cheeses you can find. Here the acidity
and upfront fruity and grassy flavors of the Sauvignon Blanc are the perfect
foil for the sourness and dryness of goat cheese.
Blanc, dry Riesling or Semillon are other good alternatives to Sauvignon Blanc
with goat cheese.
Gewürztraminer with Stinky Cheese
strong floral and spicy aromas and flavors of Gewürztraminer are just the foil
for strong smelling cheeses such as Munster, Livarot or Stinking Bishop. The
strong floral, spice and fruitiness of the wine balances the strong flavors of
the cheese. Viognier and off-dry Riesling also work well here.
Red Wines with Strong, Firm Cheese
best cheeses to pair with red wine are hearty ones - semi-firm, firm and aged
hard cheese. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Tempranillo and
Sangiovese are but a few of the red wines that pair well with aged Gouda and
Cheddar, aged Manchego or Pecorino and other similar cow, goat or sheep milk
younger, lighter and more fruity firm or semi-firm cheese I would either go
back to serving a white wine or a very light red such as an old world Pinot
Noir, Schiava from Alto Adige, or Beaujolais.
Madeira and Sheep Cheese
a fortified wine from the Portuguese island of Madeira is delicious with sheep
milk - brebis cheese, particularly full-fat firm styles such as Cabrales,
Etorki. The smoky, toffee, tangy nuttiness and fruit-cake aromas and flavors of
Madeira as well as its high acidity both cut through the richness of these
cheeses and enhances the tangy sheep milk flavors.
Wine and Cheese: Perfection vs. Practicality
most of us it is not practical to have an array of wines on offer, one to match
each cheese type served, but at most dinner gatherings, there is usually still
some white wine left over, which can be brought back to the table to offer as
well as any remaining red wine. This could also be the time to bring out the
bottle of Port or Madeira that you've had for some time, but never had the
occasion to open.
most cheese courses are served with a selection of dried fruit, nuts, bread or
crackers that can help bridge any imperfections in the wine and cheese pairing.
I say all the time – experiment and work out which pairings you prefer and work
best for you.
This post was requested by Angela! for Reader Request Week 2013.
(Image: Faith Durand)