Wine and cheese. It’s an age-old pairing, yet, is as alive and well as ever. What is it about the duo that never gets boring? It could have something to do with the fact that countless new wines and cheeses are introduced every year, therefore, there is always something new to try, even for the most experienced of palates. Plus, cheeses from around the world are now available to nearly everyone. Just check out a well-stocked supermarkets cheese section: what were once sections for little more than cheddar, Monterey Jack and domestic parmesan cheese are now meccas for Spanish Manchego, French Roquefort, Indian Paneer and on and on.
But with so many choices, how does one choose the perfect wine for a particular cheese? These tips may come in handy. But, remember, when it comes to pairing any kind of food with wine, trust your own palate. Think of these as ‘tips,’ never ‘rules.’
- Pair creamy with acidic. Very creamy cheeses such as brie will be better with wines with a little acidity, such as Chardonnay.
- Pair hard with tannin. Think Parmesan with Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Pair salty with sweet. A robust gorgonzola is wonderful with port or even a sparkling Moscato.
Thinking of building a cheese board but don’t know where to begin? A basic, well rounded cheese board doesn’t have to be complicated or loaded down with cheese. Three or four choices of different flavors and textures can be very impressive. Here is a good rule, er, ‘tip’ of thumb to go by in building a 4-cheese board:
- A goat cheese, such as Humboldt Fog from California. Pair with Fume Blanc.
- A soft cheese, such as Grayson, a cow’s milk cheese from Virginia. Pair with sparkling Moscato.
- A hard cheese, such as cave-aged Gruyere or Parmigiano Reggiano. Pair Gruyere with Chardonnay and Parmigiano with Super T.
- A blue cheese, such as English Stilton. Stilton practically begs to be paired with Port.
Experiment, be adventurous and don’t forget to write things down! It will definitely help you out when you’re looking for a particular cheese among the hundreds displayed at your local market.
On your next visit to Ponte, don’t miss the cheese trio at the Restaurant. Chef Vincent Logan pairs three incredible artisanal cheeses with honey, apples and pecans. Believe me, it’s enough to inspire you.
What are your favorite wine and cheese pairings?