How to pair wine and cheese

How To Pair Wine And Cheese

Long has history enjoyed a good wine and cheese pairing. From the mediaeval to the Tudor era, and now reaching into the modern age, the joint consumption of cheese and wine has been a staple at countless gatherings. The brilliant thing about wine and cheese these days is that it’s no longer an extravagance only the wealthy can afford, and knowing how to pair food and wine is an interest that’s accessible to everyone. Beautiful wines and cheeses can be bought every day, and there are many dining experiences centred around pairing particular foods with particular wines that are affordable, and delicious! The Meat & Wine Co offers several of these such experiences, and tables are easily booked.

However, if you’re coming to The Meat & Wine Co (as you definitely should), we assume you’re going to be trying some wine. If that’s the case, it can be fun to know what you’re drinking, and what goes well with it. The study of what nibbles go with what plonk is as extensive as it is ancient, and finding where to start can be quite daunting for first-timers. Nevertheless, it is an interesting practice and if you’re keen on a foot in the door, then this blog is a fine place to start.

Pairing Wine And Cheese: The Basic Method

How to pair wine and cheese

Photo credit: Matching food and wine

Although pairing cheese and wine is an in-depth study, there is an overall basic thought pattern you should have when starting out. This is just stuff to look out for, such as terminology and what to pay attention to.

Pair Wines And Cheeses With Equal Intensity

The first thing you want to know about is “Intensity”. In the context of wine, intensity is given by its colour and scent. A more saturated, opaque-coloured wine is more intense, with more easily distinguishable scents. Wines with an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of 14.5% and higher are more intense, while a wine with an ABV of 12% or less has a gentler intensity. Intense cheeses have stronger flavours and can be found by scent. The more concentrated a cheese’s odour, the more intense it will be. 

Bold Red Wines Pair Best With Aged Cheeses

Next to consider is the boldness of the wine and the age of the cheese. A “bold” wine has a higher saturation of flavour. These are the wines that will knock you for six with their flavour and are less subtle than their elegant counterparts. Aged cheese goes through a bacterial process that breaks down its water content and increases its fat content. This concentrates the general flavour profile of the cheese, making it stronger and more distinct.

Match Super Funky Cheeses With Sweeter Wines

The third thing to consider is the aroma of the cheese and the sweetness of the wine. A cheese’s aroma (or stench depending on your viewpoint) is key in analysing its flavour profile. Sweeter wines have more sugar content left over after fermentation, making them a little fruitier and easier for beginner wine connoisseurs to enjoy. 

Sparkling Wines Are Incredible With Soft, Creamy Cheeses

Sparkling wines go best with soft and creamy cheeses. This is due to the palate-cleansing effect of the carbonation in the wine, offering a reprieve from the stickiness of the cheese.

Which Wines Pair Best With What Cheeses?

How to pair wine and cheese

Photo credit: JJ Buckley

As well as the generalist information above, there are a couple of broader concepts that it would help to be mindful of. When pairing cheese and wine, try to get items from the same geographic area. This is because foods and drinks made within the same location share the same basic ecological conditions. This means their flavours will be affected in similar ways and therefore more suited to one another. 

Finally, if you’re at a place like The Meat & Wine Co and have several red and white wines, look for a cheese that is reputed to be firm and nutty. These cheeses provide an excellent intermediary. They have enough fat content to counter the tannins in red wine but retain a certain delicacy that lends them well to pairing with white wine.

What Wine Pairs With Mild Cheese?

When pairing wines and cheeses by intensity, you want to try and get something that is on the same level as its counterpart. For example, a mild cheese like Mozzarella would be easily overwhelmed by a strong wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, but a gentler wine with more room for the cheese to show through such as a Pinot Grigio will go perfectly with such a modest cheese. However, the aforementioned Cabernet Sauvignon would go perfectly with a sharp cheddar or gouda.

What Wine Pairs With Aged Cheese?

As with intensity, bolder wine pairs better with an aged cheese. The increased fat content in aged cheese does well to counteract the tannins of bolder wines. You want to be looking at cheeses that are typically aged for a year or more, minimum of a year. Provolone, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and other cheeses like these pair best with wines such as a Bordeaux Blend, or Petit Verdot.

What Wine Pairs With Sweet Cheese?

Cheeses with a more pungent aroma pair well with sweet wines because they counteract each other. The sweetness of the wine will mitigate the force of the cheese’s odour and make it taste creamier, while the cheese serves to cut through and balance the brazen sweetness of the wine. We recommend wines like Port or Moscato with cheeses such as the Papillon Roquefort available at The Meat & Wine Co.

What Wine Pairs With Goats Cheese?

Because of its unique flavour profile, goats cheese presents a particular challenge in pairing because of its grassy, deep flavour. However, as a rule of thumb, the mild creaminess of goats cheese does well with Cabernet Sauvignon and other reds, serving to cut down the astringency and accentuate the fruity flavours of these wines. Yet there’s a place for white wines too. A Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is known to impart herbal qualities on the more earthy tones of goat’s cheese.

Enjoy Cheese And Wine The Meat & Wine Co

How to pair wine and cheese

Since 2000, The Meat & Wine Co has been offering gorgeous wining and dining experiences to Melbourne, intending to bring home-away-from-home comfort, coupled with excellent food and wines to the good people of Melbourne.

While meat may be our speciality, our cheeses are nothing to slouch at either, and you may find that booking a table with us is one of the most rewarding, and delicious, dining adventures you’ll ever have.

Why not book now, and put your newfound cheese and wine knowledge to the test?

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