Wine and cheese may be two of life’s greatest joys (if not the healthiest), but there’s more to them than just packing your picnic basket with your favorite spreads for a day of fun in the sun. There are a number of considerations such as texture, acidity, fat, and tannin that will blow your mind once you’ve come up with the right combinations.
And while National Wine and Cheese Day may have passed (7/25), that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to perfect your pairings the next time you go outside for a socially detached picnic. With the right information, you can create amazing wine and cheese pairings yourself. Laura Werlin, an award-winning cheese writer for James Beard and Wisconsin, a State of Cheese ™ partner, shares three classic mistakes to avoid packing your picnic basket next time so you are well on your way to pairing wine and cheese Bliss.
Combine red wine with soft cheese.
Have you ever wondered why some types of cheese naturally taste better with your favorite wine? Well that’s a science. When cheese ages and loses water, it becomes more flavorful with its increased fat content and is therefore ideal for strong red wines. Why exactly? The fat content in cheese counteracts the high tannins in wine. According to Werlin, “Red wine usually has more tannins and a low acid content, which can make soft cheese taste chalky. Instead, when you need to drink a red wine, reach for an equally full-bodied, flavorful cheese as an aged cheddar. The tannins act as a palate cleanser and make every bite and sip just as tasty as the last. “
Mismatch intensity and flavors.
This tip is the main piece of advice for creating your own pairings. “The pairing rule“ same with same ”applies when wine and cheese are paired,” says Welin. Typically, wines with more than 14.5% ABV are more intense and taste better with more flavored cheeses, while wines with less than 12% ABV are less intense and go well with cheeses with a finer flavor. She says, “In general, white wines go best with lighter, milder cheeses. This allows the fresh, often fruity notes of the white wine to enhance the sweet creaminess of the cheese. Werlin suggests combining most types of cheese with white wines. An unimpregnated Chardonnay goes well with an Alpine butter cheese or Swiss cheese, while Riesling goes well with Asiago or Parmesan and Sauvignon Blanc goes well with Cheddar or Gouda. “
Play it safe.
While it may seem complicated at first, once you’ve learned a few tips and tricks, you’ll become a wine and cheese connoisseur in no time. According to Werlin, pairing wine and cheese is “about finding new flavor combinations and having fun”. Cheese should take you on an adventure of taste and texture. Get out of your comfort zone by trying something unique like Roelli’s Red Rock, a bright orange cheddar blue combo. Bubbles are very forgiving, so sparkling wine is always a good choice for cheese wildcards. Do you want another unique idea? Grab some sparkling wine and pair it with a blue cheese for an unexpected dessert after dinner. The crispy carbon dioxide of the sparkling wine reduces the creaminess of the strong blue cheese.
Would you like to delve deeper into your knowledge of wine and cheese in order to impress your friends for your next dinner party as soon as “outside” opens again? Fortunately, you can also have cheese delivered straight to your door by searching the full directory of Wisconsin cheese makers and retailers offering online cheese purchases.