I am not going to do an exhaustive email about every wine and every cheese. I will share some of my favorites, and some unwritten rules that will help you through many (too many) choices in both wine and cheese.
Start with this basic information from Food and Wine:
- There are hundreds of great artisanal cheeses sold in the U.S. these days, and thousands and thousands of different wines available on store shelves. And cheese and wine do love one another—just not always.
2. Cheeses vary widely in flavor and texture.
3. There are also different families of cheese: soft, creamy cheeses; pungent washed-rinds; firm, aged cheeses; mold-veined blues.
Michaela Weitzer at NYC’s Murray’s Cheese says: “With wine, I think the family actually matters more than the milk. A washed-rind sheep cheese won’t go with the same wine as a young Manchego, even though they’re both made from sheep’s milk.” She adds, “Tannins in wine matter a lot, too,” which is why big reds can overpower many cheeses.
Cheese and wine basics:
Creamy cheeses (brie, camembert, triple creams) pair with: Sparkling wine (of course)
Semi-firm cheese (cheddar, comte, Manchego) pair with: Chardonnay
Aged, dry, hard cheeses (parm, Gouda) pair with: Syrah
Washed rind cheeses (you know which ones) pair with: Riesling
Funky blue cheeses pair with: Port
The right cheese and the right wine together are delightful, but sometimes the right accompaniment adds that little bit of sweetness or tanginess or crunch that will lift the partnership right up into the flavor stratosphere. Not all condiments are created equal, though. Look to these seven for your holiday cheese-plate planning.
- Fruit conserve with washed rind cheeses
- Spicy honey (Mike’s hot honey, a personal favorite) with some ricotta
- Some balsamic with salty cheeses
- Nuts with creamy blue and a dessert wine
- Fruit, with almost any cheese
- Tomatoes, end up tasting like a pizza?
- Blue cheeses with fruit jam
Speaking of pizza, I have found wine pairings to be rather curious. Here is what I found regarding this conundrum:
- White pizza with sparking rose’
- Pepperoni with bold, spicy reds
- Classic cheese with Pinot or Chianti
- Veggie with chillable reds
Do you want my number one and only rule regarding cheese and wine? Just pick the ones you enjoy the most, and forget what the experts say!!!