Discover the secret to perfectly pairing wine and cheese and make your guests feel like they’re experiencing their very own personal wine tasting event.
There is nothing more satisfying, and delicious, than ending a meal with a good selection of cheese and a glass of wine. For generations, the two things have gone together as naturally as, well… wine and cheese.
But while this favourite pairing may seem effortless when presented to you in tasting sessions or on wine tours, there are actually a complex list of rules which need to be adhered to in order to create the optimum cheese and wine pairing.
Consider Flavour Intensity
It sounds obvious, but always think carefully about the flavours you are putting together and how they will work with or against each other. If the flavour of the cheese is rich and intense, then it will balance well with a wine which is equally robust. On the other hand, a light, crisp wine will complement a fresh, young cheese as the flavours will enhance rather than overpower.
Try to really imagine the flavours as you consider them and you’ll soon realise that you wouldn’t want to taste a pungent Gorgonzola with a fresh Chenin Blanc or a creamy goat’s cheese with a Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Clue is in the Age
Although there are no hard and fast rules to creating combinations, a good rule of thumb is to think about the age of the cheese and the age of the wine.
Young, soft cheeses tend to be fresh and light and therefore work well with the young wines which tend to offer bright, fruity flavours. On the other hand, older cheeses which have had time to mature often offer intense nutty or pungent flavours which work well with wines which have been given time to generate more complex flavours and fuller bodies.
Following the rules above, there are some classic pairings which will always go down well and are a good starting point for your exploration into cheese and wine pairing.• Chèvre with Chablis• Tomme d’Alsace with an off-dry Riesling• Époisses with a Pinot Noir• Roquefort with a Sauternes
If in Doubt, Break Out the Bubbly
If you return from your wine tours of Europe and forget everything you’ve learned instantaneously, don’t despair. There is one last fool-proof rule that will save any situation: Champagne and other sparkling wines work wonderfully with most cheeses. The perfect excuse to crack open the bubbly!
Now that you know the basic rules for the kind of delicious pairings you will find on luxury wine tours, feel free to chuck them out and go with your instincts instead. Remember: wine tasting is about your personal preference, so don’t be afraid to take risks and, above all else, have some fun.