How to Pair Wine With Cheese

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From the Editor: Please welcome Janet, CFH Content Contributor and Cultured Kitchen Keeper.

I like to eat what tells good stories. Standing traditions exist in our family that revolve around food – good food that creates memories and starts conversations.

People since, well, forever, have communed together with good food, and cheese has had a long-standing place at these tables. Depending on the cheese and it’s presentation, it can often be a great conversation starter.  With good food follows good drink.  Here we will explore how to pair wine with homemade artisan cheeses.

There are a few things to consider when matching wine with cheese and here is a short, easy list to keep in mind.

1. If there is any question as to what to serve, a white wine is best.  It is a good all around choice that will not hinder the taste of most cheese and will enhance the taste of most.  The more mellow whites are a good place to start, like Pinot Grigio, Savaugion Blanc, or a varietal blend.

2. Strength equals strength.  If a cheese is mellow, choose a mellow wine.  If taste of cheese is more robust, choose a more flavorful wine such as a Chardonnay or Cabernet.

3. Consider geography. If you have an Italian cheese, choose an Italian wine, a Spanish Manchego with Spanish wine–you get the idea.

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4. An easy trick is to read the descriptors on the back of a wine bottle.  Often the tasting “notes” that are used will also describe the cheese characteristics that you are pairing it with.

5. Hard and semi-hard cheeses like Parmesan or Gouda pair well with red wines since typically they are aged longer and have more complex flavors.

6. The dense, fatty cheeses such as the triple crèmes often bode well with effervescent wines like champagne.  The bubbles cleanse your palate between bites and enliven the food tasting experience.

Consider have a cheese party where each guest brings a cheese to try, possibly even a homemade one created by supplies from Cultures for Health. I call mine a “Pallette Development” party!  Revel in the joy of eating and create your own stories to tell.

In a future post, I will explore other beverages including beer, Kombucha cocktails and even teas that can enhance cheese characteristics. If you have any ideas around these topics, please share them in the comments.

Janet Creasy

Janet Creasy

Janet is primarily a proud mama of two tween girls and is married to a stellar man wired for engineering. She spends a great deal of time in the kitchen and garden. She enjoys the full life cycle of real food as primal fuel for our body; which she feels is critical to how we approach the world around us. She finds immense joy in seeing how many food culture ‘science’ projects she can keep going at one time! Her favorites are kombucha, yogurt and tempeh and she is delving currently into rice flour sourdough and water kefir.

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