Wine & Cheese Perfectly Paired!
With COVID-19 forcing us all to think outside the box when it comes to keeping busy and happy. Your Hunter Valley Magazine has come up with the perfect solution - a home tasting experience with two of life's great culinary pleasures - wine and cheese!
While there are no hard or fast rules to wine and cheese matching, the following “rules of thumb” tend to work well:
• Match white wines with soft cheeses and those with stronger flavours;
• Match red wines with hard cheeses and those with milder flavours;
• Fruity, sweet wines and dessert wines work well with a broad range of cheeses and therefore the safest option when presented with a cheese platter; and
• The more pungent the cheese, the sweeter the wine should be.Below is a rough guide to the most common cheese and wine pairings.
CREAM AND SOFT CHEESES (Brie, Camembert and Ricotta)
Because these cheeses can be very rich, they need to be paired with wine that is high in acidity. When it comes to the white wines, Chardonnay is a good bet, as is a Sparkling White Wine, Pinot Gris or a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. If you must do a red wine with these cheeses, try a Merlot or a Pinot Noir.
This cheese can be very tangy, quite salty and have an intense flavour. The tang of the cheese and the saltiness of it requires a high acid white wine as it would clash with red wine or another type of wine. The perfect wine for pairing with goat cheese is Riesling, Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc.
MILD CHEESES (Mozzarella, Monterey Jack and some milder Cheddar)
These cheeses have some flavour to them and go well with a variety of wines due to their texture and mild flavour. The best wines to serve with these cheeses are full bodied white wines such as Chardonnay,Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Viognier. If you'd like to match a red wine, make sure you stick to the lighter type of red wines because you don't want the red wine to overpower the cheese.
MEDIUM CHEESES (Cheddar, Colby, Edam, Gouda)
A dry white Riesling or even a Pinot Gris are a good match, as well as light and moderate red wines such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, and even Shiraz.
PUNGENT CHEESES (Blue Cheese, Parmesan, mature aged Cheddar) These cheeses have very distinct and intense flavours and demand a full, tannic red, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cabernet Merlot or Shiraz that will stand up to a strong flavoured cheese. Port is the classic accompaniment to most cheeses and goes particularly well with strongly flavoured ones.
The salty, bacon taste of smoked cheese is so distinctive that it is tough to find a wine that can live up to it, without altering the flavour of the wine. An Australian Shiraz would be the most preferred match here. A sweet dessert wine (Sauternes) will also withstand the smoky taste.
These are just a few examples of the hundreds of wonderful pairings between wine and cheese. Don't hesitate to experiment as there are plenty of exotic and interesting cheeses out there just waiting for a glass of wine and a palette to play with.■