Wine and cheese are two ingredients that go well together. Wine, by nature, is acidic. Cheese, on the other hand, is fatty and creamy. When the acids (in white wine) or the tannins (in red wine) mix with the cheese, the fat and proteins in the cheese begin to break down. The cheese then coats your palate to soften the bitterness of the tannin. The result is an initial creamy sensation followed by acidity that cuts through the richness and cleanses your palate.
If you’re going to host a get-together and serve wine and cheese at your place, you’ll need to know how to effectively pair these two ingredients together. Simply popping open a bottle of champagne you got from a gift delivery service and serving it with any cheese isn’t going to cut it. At the end of the day, you want a pairing that creates a delightful balance of textures and flavours.
Here are some wine and cheese matching suggestions that can bring some sophistication to your next gathering:
Match Cheeses and Wines of Equal or Similar Intensity
Don’t let the taste of one ingredient overpower the other. As much as possible, choose a wine that complements the intensity of the cheese.
Generally, wines that contain more than 14 per cent alcohol come with a more intense flavour. They taste better when you match them with intensely flavoured cheeses. A big and bold Cabernet Sauvignon, for instance, works well with gouda, cheddar, and aged cow cheeses.
On the other hand, wines with less than 12 percent alcohol are less intense. They go well with delicately flavoured cheeses. A Pinot Noir, for example, pairs well with gruyère and cow cheeses with a nutty flavour.
Choose Wine and Cheese Coming from the Same Region
The saying ‘What grows together, goes together’ applies to wine and cheese combinations. If you have a bottle of Pinot Noir from France’s Burgundy region, consider pairing it with Camembert or brie cheese. Both of these cheeses originate from France.
Pair Aged Cheeses with Red Wines
When cheese ages, its water content decreases and the fat content increases. On top of that, the lactose in the cheese turns into lactic acid. Over time, the flavour becomes richer and sharper. If you have aged cheeses lying around in your cabinet, pair them with a bold, red wine. The high tannin content in the wine counteracts with the increased fat content and rich flavour in the aged cheese. A Sangioviese, for instance, pairs well with aged asiago and Grana Padano cheeses.
Complement the Wine and Cheese Pairing with Additional Ingredients
Although the cheese and wine are the heroes of the dish, you may add ‘supporting characters’ to build a bridge between the two flavours. Serve apples, crackers, fruit (fresh or dried), jam, cold meats, olives or nuts to enhance the wine-cheese pairing and enhance the overall taste.
These suggestions will help you choose the best wine and cheese pairing for your guests. If you’re a beginner in matching these two ingredients, train your palate by purchasing and tasting a wide range of cheeses and wines.