Our 3 tips on how to increase your cheese and wine-matching prowess
One of life’s greatest pleasures is enjoying yummy food with an equally delicious bottle of wine, and getting it right is much easier than people make it out to be.
It’s very easy to fall back on the old – “white with fish, red with steak” adage – but even apart from the fact that “rule” is (mostly) an old wives’ tale, it doesn’t really help when it comes to everyone’s favourite wine match – cheese! Unless you’re eating fishy cheese… in which case, you’re probably a lost cause.
Try these 3 simple tips that will have you dinner party guests exclaiming in wonder at your cheese and wine-matching prowess in no time…
Tip #1: Pair wines and cheeses with equal intensity
Quite simply, if you have a rich cheese then you need a rich, intensely flavoured wine to match.
If you’re not super comfortable in your judgement of rich/heavy vs light/delicate wine flavours, use this general rule of thumb:
Wines over 14.5% ABV are more intense and taste better with more intensely flavored cheeses
Wines under 12% ABV are less intense and match nicely with more delicately flavored cheeses
For a real pro tip: Try to also consider the textures – there’s a reason why a little crunch adds so much to a risotto or creamy soup. Contrasting textures bring out the best in your food, and just so with your wine pairings! A rich creamy cheese may just be waiting for the contrast of an intense, crisp wine to really make it sing.
Tip #2: “Big” red wines pair best with aged cheeses
As cheese ages and loses water-content, the level of fat content increases and causes it to become richer in flavour.
These two attributes are ideal for matching bold red wines because the fat content in the cheese counteracts the high-tannins in the wine (this is also why the “bold reds with steak” adage survives – intense tannin can be hard to take on it’s own – but the fattiness in a steak with garlic butter binds to the tannins in your mouth and creates a flavour party!)
Try also adding a slice of prosciutto or other fatty, cured meat to the mix! Thank us later.
Tip #3: Match your extra funky cheeses with sweeter wines
Sweeter wines or dessert wines, pair wonderfully with stinky, washed-rind or blue-veined cheeses. Why? The sweetness in the wine helps balance out the funk in the cheese and enhances the creaminess! Also, the “stink” of the cheese will help balance the sweet taste of the wine and prevent it from become too sickly.
Case Study – 6ft6 Pinot Gris
Our 6ft6 Pinot Gris is bright and crisp, with intense pear flavours.
It pairs amazingly with anything rich and creamy – like a D’affinois (or the magic Aldi Le Pave that is apparently better than D’affinois), but will also go down a treat with a hard, nutty cheese like Gouda, Mild Cheddar or Gruyere.
Stop and think about the sort of foods that pair well (no pun intended) with ripe pears – buttery pie-crust, creamy custard, nuts and raisins – these are exactly the types of cheeses that will be perfectly complemented by our Pinot Gris.
Now it’s your turn! Go out into the world and channel your inner French woman.
Make sure to remember though - everyone’s palate is different and unique, and that’s part of what makes the world of wine so interesting! Always keep an open mind when pairing any food and wine together - check out different combinations, follow your instincts, be comfortable in saying you don’t like something! This is the key to unlocking those combinations that work perfectly for you.
Who knows? You might discover a new perfect pairing that others would love too, and if you do… please let us be the first to know!