Get ready – January 20th is National Cheese Lover’s Day – that perfect day devoted to cheese lovers. But if you’re anything like us here at GiftTree, the word “love” doesn’t quite suffice for our passion and devotion to the dairy delicacy. In the United States, Americans eat an average amount of 30 pounds of cheese a year (can you believe that? I can.), but of course the French have us beat at 50 pounds per year. We love cheese oozing out of a grilled cheese sandwich, piled high on pizza, melted on the perfect nacho… but today we’re setting the bar higher and talking about cheese’s ultimate companion – wine. The worlds of both wine and cheese are intricate, complex and storied, to say the least. There are so many varieties of wine, and even more types of cheese out there, so it can be tough to know what wine is going to be the best companion to this or that particular type of cheese. Behold The GiftTree Guide to Wine and Cheese Pairing! Using this simple guide, you too can match the flavors on your cheeseboard to the wine in your glass and make some palate magic. We’ll start with popular varietals of wine and build from there – keep checking this blog post as more pairing ideas are added. Onward!
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Riesling – the creamy vanilla and buttered toast aromas and flavors of Chardonnay pair perfectly with light-colored, surface-ripened soft cheeses. Even if your Chardonnay is unoaked and possesses more brightness than that of the oaked varietal, it’s good to know that virtually all white wines are still the ideal mate for Gruyeré, Brie and Camembert. Tangy cheese like goat cheese is the perfect companion for wines on the sweet side such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer. The acidity of Sauvignon Blanc goes great with goat cheese, ricotta and Feta as well.
Champagne, Prosecco and New World Sparkling Wine – Brie is another cheese that pairs well with bubbles – in fact, any triple crème cheese will do. The buttery, earthy and almost mushroom-y flavors of soft ripened cheeses is a great match for sparkling, and we also recommend Baby Swiss cheese! More buttery than aged Swiss, Baby Swiss also has a nutty flavor that’s perfect with Champagne. Nutty cheeses on the soft side like Gouda, Edamand Tete de Moine are great options, too.
While some have argued that cheese should almost exclusively be paired with only white wine, we find that many reds have proved themselves absolutely delicious when paired with the right hunk of cheese.
Cabernet Sauvignon – Aged cheddar, without a doubt. The sharpness of Aged Cheddar, whether English, Irish or American, makes for the perfect companion to silky smooth Cabernet.
Merlot, Zinfandel and Chianti – Pair with hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Asiago, Pecorino and Double Gloucester. Strong flavors of hard aged cheeses taste wonderful with the velvet smoothness of old vine red wines.
Port – Port wine is the best friend of the stinky cheeses that are often served after dinner such as Gorgonzola, Blue, Stilton and others. The sweetness of Port balances the pungency of blue-veined cheeses in a way you won’t believe!
HAPPY NATIONAL CHEESE DAY!
What’s your favorite cheese and wine combination?