“I like on the table, when we’re speaking, the light of a bottle of intelligent wine.” – Pablo Neruda
Few things in the world can complement dinner with such grace and perfection like wine and cheese. Moreover, these two great culinary pleasures have always gone hand in hand, their perfect match being a form of art, but also a tricky endeavor.
With such a rich variety of wines existent and so many cheese textures and tangs, it’s no wonder the wine-cheese pairing opportunities are endless. Nevertheless, there are no rules in matching them with skill, only suggestions, thus I will just try to inspire you with some valuable advice from the connoisseurs.
Usually, wines and cheeses from the same region tend to feature similar characteristics making a good pairing. For instance, a medium-bodied Chianti Classico will blend beautifully with a strong parmesan or a Tuscan pecorino while a soft creamy Camembert will perfectly complete a Chardonnay from the Burgundy region. However, don’t take this as a rule, for example, no wine in Provence fuse better with Roquefort’s sophisticated taste than a bottle of Sauternes, so after all the region gives us a clue, but does not solve the case.
It’s always easier to match a white wine
Experts say that due to their versatility, freshness, acidity and low tannin, white wines go well with almost any kind of cheese. The combination between mild cheeses and light white wines is absolutely gorgeous while pungent cheeses go better with robust wines. The secret however is not to overpower the savor of one with the other, but to let them complement each other and to bring out something newfangled in either the wine or cheese. Whether you opt to match the acidity level, which is a sort of a ground rule or to wager on the attraction of the opposites, it’s hard to go wrong with a white wine. Besides, if you choose Champagne or other sparkling wine, things are even simpler as nothing goes better with a creamy cheese than bubbles.
Blue cheese goes wonderfully with sweet wine
Blue Cheese has a deep flavor and a rich texture and one of the best ways to match its complexity is to serve it with a sweet wine. The sweeteners will perfectly balance the salty, rich and spicy savor of blue cheese. Thus wines like Port, Roquefort or late harvest Riesling are always great choices when it comes to full-flavored blues.
Aged Cheese and bold wine are always a winning combination
If you prefer hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano or aged Manchogo for example, you should know than only a medium or full-bodied red like Cabernet Sauvignon can handle the intensity of its flavor without being overwhelmed. To put it briefly, a strong cheese always requires a big powerful red.
In the end, it’s all about finding the harmony
It is commonly known that wine brings sophistication and distinction to the moment, but the wrong wine can ruin a good cheese just like the proper one can make it taste like a piece of heaven, so it would be a shame to miss that. Hopefully, the suggestions above will help you find the ideal match between wine and cheese, although this does not deprive you from trying new combinations because like most things in life, my idea of perfection for this matter could not match yours. The key is to highlight the best of each other and this can only be achieved by using wines and cheeses of similar intensity. Now, be creative, play with the flavors and let yourself get lost in the moment.