Wine and cheese are one of the most iconic food pairings, right up there with peanut butter and jelly. But many people are unaware of which cheeses to pair with which wines to get the best out of both. Wine and cheese tasting parties are all the rage, so it can be embarrassing to get it wrong.
Pairing the right wine with the right cheese can make all the difference in the world. In fact, choosing the perfect cheese can even make lower end and cheaper wines taste like they are higher quality. The proper method for wine and cheese tasting is to first taste the wine, then the cheese, and then the wine again. The cheese will coat the mouth, making the second taste of wine even better.
Here are a few guidelines for wine and cheese pairings:
Chianti is a red wine from Tuscany, perfect for Italian cheeses such as Fontina, Parmesan, Provolone, or Mozzarella.
Merlot is a very popular wine from Bordeaux, France. A fairly versatile wine, try pairing it with Brie, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, or Gouda.
Port is a strongly flavored wine and needs a strong cheese to pair with it. Both Blue and Gorgonzola cheeses are up to the challenge.
Riesling is a popular dessert wine with a sweet flavor. It pairs well with Brie, Blue, Edam, Gouda, or Monterey Jack cheeses.
Chardonnay is another classic wine that is popular with many people. It pairs well with goat cheese, Gruyere, Camembert, and Brie.
Champagne is not only popular for celebrations, it is also a great choice for a wine and cheese tasting. Pair it with Brie, Cheddar, Colby, Edam, Gouda, or Parmesan.
Pinot Noir is one of the finest wines, known for how difficult the grape is to grow. Try pairing it with strong cheeses like Brie, Camembert, Feta, Muenster, or Port Salut.
Sauvignon Blanc is a popular white wine. Its dry flavor profile goes well with Asiago, Cheddar, Feta, and Parmesan.
Zinfandel is one of the most popular of the California wines and often has a slightly higher alcohol content than other wines. Try pairing it with Blue, Feta, Gouda, Muenster, or Asiago cheeses.
Shiraz, sometimes called Syrah, is from a grape native to France. If the bottle says Syrah, it is likely a French wine, while wines with the Shiraz label are often from Australia or South Africa. Enjoy this wine with Cheddar, Edam, Parmesan, or Gouda.
In addition to the wines and cheeses, make sure you have plenty of other snacks available. Breads are a good choice, cut into bite size pieces. Other great choices include nuts, olives, and crackers. These can also serve as palate cleansers in between each wine and cheese plate.
Hosting a wine and cheese tasting party is a great way to enjoy great food and great company. In addition, it provides the perfect way to sample a wide variety of wines and cheeses, so that favorites can be remembered for later meals or simply to be enjoyed on their own.