The pairing of wine with food is an art. Together they bring out new flavors to tantalize your tastebuds. Wine coupled with cheese is a hallmark of any soirée. In many cultures around the world, wine and cheese is a common appetizer or even a meal in itself.
However, it is unwise to just grab a red or white off the mini-mart shelf and pair it with whatever cheese you have lying around in your refrigerator. A perfect pairing of wine and cheese requires a delicate flavor balance and an understanding of the relationship each cheese has with a specific type of wine.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a wine snob or cheese aficionado to craft a wine and cheese pairing for your next get-together. Having a bit of knowledge about wine and cheese never hurts, but with some painless research, you can create a wine selection and cheese board your friends and family will love. Let’s take a look at a few crowd pleasers that will make your weekend soirée a savory success.
Wine and cheese pairings for your next soirée
Sauvignon blanc and chèvre. Our first wine and cheese pairing is one of my all-time favorites, Sauvignon blanc and chèvre (goat cheese). Sauvignon blanc is from the Bordeaux region of France and boasts primary fruit flavors coupled with herbaceous flavors, making it different from other white wines. Chèvre has a rich history and a robust, tangy aroma. The aged spiciness of chèvre pairs wonderfully with the accents of fruit in Sauvignon blanc. Chèvre is also a delightful alternative for guests who have a low tolerance to cow’s milk. Nutritionally, it boasts vitamin A and potassium, and contains less fat than other cheeses.
Pinot noir and Gruyère. Pinot noir is a delicious, light red that is grown all over the world, and is aged in French oak barrels. The flavor often has hints of cherry, raspberry, vanilla, tobacco, and caramel, among others. Gruyère is named after a village in Switzerland and offers a nutty flavor. Pinot noir’s berry hints match perfectly with the flavor of Gruyère. Gruyère contains high daily values (DV) of phosphorus, zinc, protein, vitamin B12 and riboflavin.
Syrah and smoked Gouda. Syrahs are normally full-bodied with hints of blackberry, mint and tobacco. Syrahs with tobacco hints are exceptional when paired with smoked Gouda. Gouda is one of the most popular cheeses in the world. It offers antioxidants, protein, B-vitamins, calcium, and the much sought-after vitamin K2.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Avonlea clothbound cheddar. Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful, full-bodied wine with dark fruit flavors and hints of tobacco and black pepper. It is produced in France, Chile and the U.S. Avonlea clothbound cheddar is a traditional Scottish cheese from the Orkney Islands. This unpasteurized, firm cheese has an earthy taste with accents of fruit. This cheese is high in fat, but is also high in calcium.
Chardonnay and creamy Brie. Oak-aged Chardonnay has fruit and floral accents with hints of vanilla. It pairs perfectly with Brie, especially a creamy Brie with a nutty, tangy flavor. This pairing is a sweet and soft addition that will please all of your guests. Brie is high in protein, calcium, zinc, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.
Putting together a pleasing wine list and cheese board doesn’t need to be complicated. Providing your guests with some background information on the wine and cheese you serve can also add a touch of sophistication to your evening. You can even note the health benefits that each cheese offers, as well as the healing powers of wine — decreasing risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension and cancer — in moderation of course. Take your inner sommelier to the next level and impress your friends at your next wine and cheese soirée.
—The Alternative Daily