Wine and Cheese Pairings 101

Wine and Cheese Pairings 101

Wine and Cheese Pairings 101


Do you remember those 101 classes you foolishly thought were going to be an easy A, but you still had to study and attend class? Well, here’s a way to ace cheese pairings and you don’t even have to go to class.

So last night, my lactose intolerant boyfriend helped me photograph cheese.  Now, that’s love.  As we all come to find our passion and dedication to a way of life, mine has been to write and to dearly love food and wine. For now, it will suffice to plate my food on pretty plates on my dining room table.  But, who knows, maybe next week I’ll be leaning against the side of the golden gate bridge with a piece of Asiago cheese in one hand and a bottle of red in the other just because  the color of the bridge is a good backdrop for my pairing photo.

And yet, here I am not telling you the first thing about cheese. But yet, I am. Pairings are the merging of things you love.  You find something you fancy and you make it as spectacular as possible by pairing it with something else you love. And if you truly paid attention to my above anecdotal story, you’d also know that Asiago cheese pairs well with red wine.

Let’s start with a simple cheese plate you can make anytime that really will impress your guests.

Selecting Cheeses

Start with three basic cheeses such as Brie, Roquefort, and Goat Cheese.  Brie is creamy and nutty. You can serve it with almost any white wine, including champagne. Roquefort is robust and earthy, which can be very suitable with a Pinot Noir.  Lastly, the semi soft texture of Goat cheese pairs nicely with a Chardonnay.  With the options of wines out there, there can be a multitude of pairings for each of these cheeses.

Serving the Cheese

For the best flavor and texture, serve the cheese at room temperature.  Remove 30 minutes to an hour before serving.  Serve the cheese with sliced baguette bread or crackers.  You can also serve with olives, toasted nuts, cured meats and dried or fresh fruit.

Which wines will go with any cheese?

Try serving at least one red and one white wine. A good rule of thumb is the creamier the cheese the better it will pair with a higher acidic wine.  Most white wines have a stronger acidity level than reds. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are both good choices for creamier cheeses. Pinot Noir usually pairs well with a variety of cheeses.  Very salty cheeses like blue cheese pair excellent with dessert wines like port.

Another good rule of thumb is to try and pair the region of the cheese with the region of the wine. For example, serving good Chianti with a strong parmesan cheese.

Wine Recommendations

Can be found at your local grocery store or wine shop

Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay Sonoma County 2008 $12.99

Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2008 $9.99

Rodney Strong Merlot 2007 $12.99

DeLoach Pinot Noir 2009 $16.99

Photo Credits:  Thanks to the amazing photography of Joe Ercoli,which have made my stories and wine and food pairings come to life.

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