Food for Thought

I’ll have that glass, with that cheese . . .

Back in college (wow, I am old enough to say that!), wine night was a staple our senior year. Every Thursday, the message went out for you to bring your wine and favorite cheese and cracker to “so and so”‘s apartment. Some nights there were ten of us, and most nights there were three of us, but we were able to rewind and talk about our week. There were plenty of memories made over a good bottle of wine and a delicious cheese.

You could really tell we were in college with those brands.
You could really tell we were in college with those brands.

Most of the time, (actually majority of the time) we just picked out a cheese and the cheapest bottle of wine. Never once thinking about how to pair the two, so for today’s post I thought I would share those best wine and cheese pairings for your next wine night. I’ve done some research, and using some of my own experience, to help you figure out what to serve.

First, majority of the experts say to use white wines, or a light or old red wine. The tannins found in wines can combine with cheese, and are particularly rough on soft cheeses; white wines contain fewer tannins, therefore providing that “mouthfeel” we are looking for when pairing with a cheese.

winePhoto Source 

Then when figuring our your cheese, The Wine Enthusiast Magazine, suggest separating your cheese into four categories to choose from:

  1. Bloomy – This includes a creamy cheese surrounded by a soft rind. Examples include Brie, Camembert, Robiola, or a Taleggio. 
  2. Hard – Cheeses that are salty and/or sharp are included in this group. Hard cheeses include Gouda, Cheddar, or Parmesan.
  3. Blue – I think we can all guess what goes in this category. Blue cheeses will have that blue tinge, but be pungent and salty in taste.
  4. Fresh – This includes cheeses that are soft and spreadable. Think Mozzarella, Feta, Goat, and Ricotta.

cheesePhoto Source

So, how do you pair our favorite cheeses with those wines?

Most experts suggest pairing blue cheeses with a sweet wine such as a Riesling or Zinfindal. The sweet, desert taste helps to enhance the salty taste from the cheese.

blue cheese pairPhoto Source 

With the bloomy cheeses, such as Brie, go with a more sparkling wine, such as Champagne with a Camembert cheese, or a Chardonnay with the Brie. I personally enjoy pairing a Brie with a glass of Moscato, which is a sweet, fruity wine.

brie pairsPhoto Sources (1), (2), (3), (4)

The hard cheeses is where you can break out that red wine you have been dying to share! Gouda goes best with a light red wine, such as Pinot Noir, and cheddar is best paired with a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.

pinotPhoto Sources (1), (2), (3), (4)

For the fresh cheeses, you want to pair it with a crisp and light wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Goat cheese taste great with either of those, or if you prefer a red wine, go with a Pinot Noir.

goat pairsPhoto Source (1), (2), (3)

Of course, this what the experts and food enthusiasts suggest. You may however, find you like different pairings with your favorite cheese or wines. Just remember to find what you love and enjoy the time spent with family and friends. I can’t wait for my new place so I can start hosting wine and cheese night again!

What are some of you favorite wine and cheese pairings?

**Note: More information can be found at websites such as The Wine Enthusiast Magazine, The Wine Bar, and the The Cheese Course, plus many more! I am not endorsed by any of the companies, just sharing knowledge I have found through my own research. 

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