The world offers plenty of perfect pairs, just ask your significant other… or perhaps don’t. Though I don’t give advice on dating, I can give some helpful hints when it comes to coupling cheese with wine. So if you are looking for an easy to follow guide for your next dinner party – one without peculiar partners – then stick to these tips for the right rendezvous of wine and cheese.
Getting started can seem overwhelming, don’t worry; there are many things to consider with wine and food pairings. Keep an open mind, and remember your personal taste pallet.
There are simple things to remember when pairing wine and cheese. Cheeses have a variety of characteristics to keep track of: fat content, texture, moisture content, and general flavor. Several factors for wine include: body, sweetness, variety in acidity, and structure. With these basics in mind, some more in depth conclusions can be made.
The Sweetness of Being Salty
No one said that being salty couldn’t come with a little sweetness. The balance of these two flavors creates a perfect marriage between wine and cheese. Salty cheeses like Gouda, bleu cheese, or feta will raise the sweetness of a wine. This combination enhances the flavors already evident within each treat.
Tannin with Age
Aged cheeses, rich in fats and proteins, go great with tannic red wines – Malbec, Merlot, and Cabernet for example – because of the cleansing sensation your receive after each drink. The tannins bind to the left-over material creating a clean taste before you next bite. Because of this process and interaction of tannins with fats and proteins, avoid pairing these wines with younger cheeses; often you can be left with a dry or chalky taste.
Opposites Attract or Savory in the Same
With a diverse range of wines and cheeses comes the option of whether you want to combine like flavors or build on contrasting sensations to create unique experiences. A creamy cheese will blend flawlessly with white wines that are more buttery. Sparkling wines, however, can be contrasting to a rich cheese. Consider the outcome; do you want synchronization or confrontation (pleasure and pleasant flavor confrontation).
Think of the Fruit When You Think of the Cheese
Often times when you see a cheese plate it is also holding an assortment of fruits. That’s because fruits pair well with cheese just like wines do. The same principles that apply to fruit and cheese pairings relate to wine and cheese: tangy fruits with young cheese or sweet fruits with salty cheeses. Consider the fruits in the wine when pairing with your cheeses; if you wouldn’t eat a particular fruit with a cheese, you probably won’t like a wine made from that fruit with the same cheese.
With these simple tips, you will be on your way to a delightful evening of enjoying wines and cheeses.