Wine and Cheese…The Perfect Pair

Nov 6th 2014

The perfect Wendell August party spread. As often as they are served together, wine and cheese have to be among the most perfect pairings the world has to offer. We wanted to explore which cheeses work best with which wines, but we first had to wonder: What makes wine and cheese go together so well in the first place? The simple answer to the question is that cheese and wine have a complementary relationship with respect to both texture and taste.   Wine has astringent properties that cause a slight puckering of the mouth, whereas the fats in cheeses make your mouth feel smooth and slippery.  Those two sensations blend well to create balance on your palate.  In addition, foods high in fat and high in protein, such as cheeses, balance the taste of tannins in wine.   It’s then the specific flavors in particular wines and cheeses that create subtle differences in pairs, allowing some wines to be go more favorably with certain cheeses – and vice versa. Before we get our specific, recommended wine and cheese combinations, here are a few easy rules for pairing. Pair:
  • By flavor intensity (lighter cheese goes with lighter wine)
  • Aged cheeses with tannic wines
  • Sweeter wines with saltier and stinkier cheeses
  • Highly acidic wines with creamier cheeses
  • Rich cheeses with champagne or sparkling wines (the bubbly helps clear the palate, getting it ready for the next bite!)
You can gather from those rules (as you’ll also see in the chart below), combining wines and cheeses is not an exact science. No single perfect match exists between a given cheese and a specific wine.  This is good news, as it simplifies the planning of a wine and cheese party.  Choose wisely from the chart below by looking for the overlap among wine and cheese pairs.  By selecting two or three wines to pair with a handful of different cheeses, you’ll offer your guests a wide variety of flavor combinations to sip and savor! wine-and-cheese-pairing-guide As a final rule of thumb, if you would like to serve wine and cheese to your guests but you want to keep it as simple as possible, select white wines, as they blend more readily with a variety of cheeses than red wines do. And if you wish to uncork just one wine to serve with a plate of cheeses, select an off-dry Riesling.  It possesses the right balance of fruitiness, acidity, sweetness, and alcohol level (relatively low) to pleasingly partner with a broad range of cheeses. For wine and cheese accessories and serving pieces to elevate your next party, visit www.wendellaugust.com.