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A comprehensive guide to wine and cheese pairing

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We’ve often heard of mac and cheese. We’re also used to having a cheese burger or cheese in our favourite sandwiches. In fact, cheese is a popular feature on the dining table. Many cheese lovers now include a slice of cheese to their meals to create something special. But there’s a trend that isn’t so popular; wine and cheese pairing. Pairing wine and cheese is all about experimenting to produce the perfect combination that will provide a satisfying experience.

Historically, going back hundreds of years, certain records indicate that wine and cheese gotten from the same region are typically served together. Although this act of pairing cheese and wine is over a century old, it still can become challenging and requires a little extra skill in achieving a perfect pair. When it comes to pairing wine with cheese, you cannot just place a particular wine with cheese and pair them together. The steps are much more complicated. The wine and cheese generally have to be from the same place; they must’ve been sourced from the same origin.

Creating an amazing cheese and wine pair has become more of a science as there are several points to consider when pairing wine and cheese. These tips below will guide you on your way to experiencing some pleasing cheese and wine pair.

Pairing wine and cheese that have equal intensity is paramount. This is perhaps the most important guide for creating a new pair. Some mild flavours like the Gruyére will not match well with strong flavours like Cabernet Sauvignon. Milder flavours like a Pinot Noir will go excellently well with Gruyére. Generally, wines with over 14.5 percent ABV are more intense and would go best with cheese with intense flavours, while wines with less than 12 percent ABV have lower intensity and can be enjoyed with cheese of lower intensity also.

Cheese loses its water content as it gets older. This aging cheese becomes richer in flavour and has a higher fat content. This particular information is important in matching bold red wines due to the fact that fat content present in the cheese counteracts the increased tannin concentration in the wine. Optimally, cheese that have aged for a year are the best to be selected. Some of them include; Gruyère, Cheddar, Manchego, Provolone, Gouda. Also, Parmesan style varieties like Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano are also good choices.

Very “funky” cheeses are also meant to be matched with sweeter wines. Sweeter wines like Gewürztraminer Moscato, Port and Late Harvest dessert wines match quite amazingly with washed rind, stinky and blue veined cheeses. This is because the wonderful sweetness in the wine helps balance the extra funk in the cheese and gives it an even creamier taste. The stink of the cheese also complements quite accurately the sweet taste of the wine.

A comprehensive guide to wine and cheese pairing, VibesMojo
Cheese board (Getty)

For funky cheese lovers, a perfect pairing would be Sauternes with Roquefort and Port taken with Stilton. These combinations are absolutely spectacular. It is important to note that sparkling wines go exceptionally well with soft creamy cheese. Sparkling wines have a high level of carbonation and acidity which offer a pleasing experience when taken with sticky, creamy cheese like Brie, Muenster, Cremont, Camembert or Époisses de Bourgogne.

Cheese and wines got from the same place pair very well together. Very commonly, cheese and wines that are matched from the same region are perfect complements for each other. Some examples includes Chardonnay with Époisses de Bourgogne (both from Burgundy, France), Sauvignon Blanc with Goat Cheese (from the Loire Valley in France), and Garnacha with Manchego (from Spain).

In the case of uncertainty or indecision as to what cheese to use, you might want to go for firm and extra nutty cheese. When dealing with different varieties of wines and the uncertainty that follows selecting cheese to pair with the wine, one of the safest and most common options to select that will go with a broad variety of wine is firm nutty cheese. This firm, nutty cheese possesses enough fat to counterbalance the tannins in red wine, but delicate enough to compliment white wine. A few examples include Gruyére, Swiss, Comté Extra, Emmental, Abbaye de Belloc, and Gouda.

To get the best results pairing cheese and wine, it is important to note these points and experiment with different tastes to find the one that is just what you are looking for. After mastering the art of pairing wine and cheese, you can now enjoy a side slice of cheese with wine at lunch or dinner. And, of course, you can thank me later.

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