What is your perfect pairing of these delicacies? Wine and cheese are two of life’s great culinary pleasures, and finding the perfect match can be a delicious endeavour. As with any wine and food pairing, there are a number of considerations, such as texture, acidity, fat and tannin. Rather than complicating the topic with exotic matches like Garrotxa and Meursault, we have broken the art of wine and cheese pairing down, so you can create your own.
The wine-cheese pairing possibilities are endless, but to simplify the strategy, we can divide cheese into four major categories:
Bloomy: Creamy, decadent cheeses, with a soft rind.
Hard: Stiff cheeses, which are often sharp and/or salty. They can also be aged.
Blue: Pungent, often salty cheeses, with a blue tinge.
Fresh: Soft, often spreadable cheeses that can be tangy or mild. They are not usually aged.
If you have a specific cheese in mind, first contemplate the category it belongs to. You can then consult our wine and cheese pairing examples for ideas.
Just as with any food pairing, it helps to think of either complementary or contrasting flavours. A lush wine works well with a triple-cream cheese, while an acidic wine will cut the cheese's sweetness. As you begin to experiment, taste the cheese first by itself, to get a sense of its character, and then put another bite into your mouth with some wine to see how they mingle. Many experts say that white tends to pair better with cheese, but a light-bodied red and cheese pairing is still possible.
A great wine and cheese party offers pairing selections with varied flavour profiles. Display the options in a circle and have your guests start with lighter wines and fresher cheeses and move clockwise toward the ones that have sharpness and depth. To simplify, you could also choose a flexible wine that pairs with a wide range of cheeses. A lean red, such as Gamay or Pinot Noir, could serve as a perfect starting point. Your guests can taste that wine with each cheese and then rank the pairings.