Matching Wine with Cheese, is it really that scarey?

cheese mouse

I have to admit that cheese and wine matching has always scared me a little.

I have a friend who has his own cheese stand at the local market in Libourne and he has just opened a shop in the Chartrons La Fromagerie (the epicureal centre of Bordeaux). His name is Pierre Rollet-Gerrard. He swears by white wine with cheese, all cheese. In fact he doesn’t sell anything else.

So I think it is time to bite the bullet and order a few different style cheeses (on Pierre’s recommendation) and do a tasting this weekend with a few different styles of wine.

I believe with food and wine matching, there are no really disastrous choices. Wines go with food (apologies to the bevy of MS that are appearing everywhere – that is Master Sommeliers! who tend to say the opposite). Wines were created for just this, to aid our digestion by encouraging our gastric juices to do their thing. Which wine to enjoy with which food comes down to personal choice. You cannot go wrong (or not very!).

All we are looking at are balancing strengths of flavours and complementing or contrasting the the 4 elements (acid, sweetness, bitterness (rare) and saltiness). Sounds complicated!?

The ‘nirvana’ is to elevate the flavour of both the food and wine. But at the end of the day as long as it tastes nice to you that is all that matters.

Here are a few things that I sort of know already about cheese and wine. Or are they myths? You will have to wait until next week to know the answer.

*Red or White wine can work but contrary to opinion fruity whites work best with a range of cheeses

*Mild young milky cheeses suit fruity delicate wines

*Hard cheeses (Comté, Beaufort, Gouda, Brebis) are better with red wine. The stronger the flavour the more full-bodied the wine

*Soft cheeses with white particularly when they have a waxy rind as with Brie or camembert that makes red wines taste metalic (due to some sort of reaction with the tannins in red wines) or soft tannin reds such as Gamay.

*The more pungent the cheese, the sweeter the wine needs to be.

*Cheese high in acidity such as goat’s cheese matches wines that are high in acidity (like Sauvignon Blanc)

*Salty blue cheeses such as Roquefort and Stilton work great with sweet wines and port.

*And if you are really lost remember that cheese and wine produced in the same region work well together



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