Wine and cheese can make a wonderful pair when done right. When pairing wine with cheese, it is important to consider the acidity, character and texture of the cheese as well as the acidity and character of the wine. A fruity wine tends to do well with a younger, more salty cheese. A deep, robust wine can be a better match with a more mature cheese. Pairing wine and cheese is really a personal consideration. This is important when pairing, as personal preference will play a large part in the overall experience, and experimentation is often acceptable.
Pairing Of Soft & Mature Cheeses
Soft cheeses are typically young and salty, lending themselves to a nice pairing with a young, fruity wine. These wines contain lower levels of tannin, the chemical which provides the sharp, robust flavor in more mature wines. Brie cheese, for example is usually served very young. It becomes mature and may even turn black when left to age from just six months to a year. Brie is tangy and salty, making a nice pairing with dessert wines such as sweet Riesling or young American fruit wines like pear, peach, sweet red or Dessert Port. For a different experience, Chardonnay, Brute Champagne or Pinot Noir can also match beautifully. Similarly, soft young cheeses such as Blue, Goat or Sheep cheese lend themselves nicely to these pairings.
More mature cheeses tend to complement more mature wines. As cheeses age, they evaporate moisture. This consolidates flavor, leaving proteins and fats while removing some of the delicate aromatics that young cheeses present. Aged wines tend to have deeper flavors, taking on notes such as oak from the cask and developing tannins. A more mature cheese holds a robust texture and deep flavors that pair nicely with robust wines. Pairing an aged Cheddar with Cabernet Sauvignon or a mature Gouda with Merlot can be a perfect match. The sharp tannins and notes of oak, earth, dark fruit and high acidity in a mature wine stand up well against the nutty, bold taste of these cheeses. Fontina and Gruyere are also hard, mature cheeses that benefit from a deeper wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
Old World Pairings Of Tangy Cheeses
A more old world pairing can be enjoyed with Gewurztraminer wine matched with Chevre, Muenster or Swiss cheese. These tangy cheeses are perfectly prepared to meld with the sweet pineapple and grapefruit notes to be found in this time tested big brother of Moscato, which can be undone by these cheeses. Gorgonzola cheese is a better match for that sweet Italian treat. Chianti, another beautiful Italian wine is complemented nicely with Prolovone or Mozarella.
The pairing of cheese and wine will always be a personal preference for each individual. It can be noted that some things just do not go well together. A pairing should be a complement, where the character of the wine is enhanced by the character of the cheese. Most people will not appreciate a delicate cheese paired with a deep, robust wine like Malbec because the taste of the cheese will be lost. Similarly, a fruity, young wine will seldom pair nicely with a sharp, mature cheese. The delicate flavors in the wine present a light, aromatic experience that is overwhelmed by the sharp fats and proteins of cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano. Experimentation is the key to success and you can certainly experiment at our wine and cheese Thursdays.