• Matt Day

Corkscrew on: Wine and cheese

People assume that all #wineandcheeses work together, but actually some wine/cheese combinations are awful. Red wine is to blame for most unsuccessful pairings as cream, soft, goat and blue cheese simply don’t work with red wine and may work better with white, sweet or fortified wines or beers and ciders. For starters red wines don't have enough acidity to cut through the richness of these styles. Secondly red wines have astringent tannins (that mouth

drying sensation) which clash particularly badly with bloomy rinded cheeses (like Brie) giving a 'metallic' aftertaste in the mouth.

When you get the pairing right the cheese

is improved by the drink and the drink is improved by the cheese giving a wonderful #harmony. Here are a few simple steps to cheese heaven!

Goat's Cheese

Goat's cheese is both extremely dense in texture (needing high acidity to cut through the cream) and strongly flavoured. #SauvignonBlanc, with its searing acidity and pungent gooseberry and citrus flavours, is an unexpectedly good match. As a general rule of thumb Old World wines, which are higher in acidity and lower in alcohol, are generally better with cheese than their New World equivalents. #LoireSauvignons (Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé) which are higher in acidity and less overtly fruity than their New World equivalents are particularly successful.

Soft Cheese

Soft cheeses like Brie de Meaux or Castello Creamy White work well with creamy wines. Aging in barrels gives #Chardonnay a rich, creamy texture that works amazingly with these styles. Try a #Macon or a #Meursault or #Puligny-Montrachet if your budget allows! An unoaked Chardonnay from #Chablis is an equally good choice as the racier acidity cuts rapier-like through the double cream.

Hard Cheese

Hard cheeses are great with red wine as the protein in the cheese softens the tannins of the red making it seem richer and softer. For mountain cheeses like Gruyere a young vibrant #PinotNoir from Burgundy, a Loire #CabernetFranc or even a pale ale will work well. With mature cheeses try serving a mature wine (5-10 years old): an aged #Rioja, #Bordeaux or #Barolo with a mature Parmesan is a great match which brings out the complexity of the wine.

Blue Cheese

Blue cheese is the strongest in flavour terms and will overpower most white and red wines. Sweet wines have more concentration and the sweetness works with the distinctive blue mould character. Lightly moulded cheeses such as Dolcelatte or Blue Brie work amazingly well with #BelgianCherryBeer. Medium weight blues like St. Agur or Danish Blue will work well with red or white passito styles made by drying grapes in the sun which intensifies the sweetness such as #ReciotodiValpolicella. For stronger blues like Roquefort try a botrytised wine like #Sauternes or a #HungarianTokaji or #Port and #Stilton is an absolute classic. This is perhaps the ultimate wine and cheese combination - the intense sweet wine balanced by the tangy, salty cheese. On its own the cheese is too intense and salty. On its own the wine is too sweet. But together the combination is breathtaking. This pairing will convert even the most ardent blue cheese-phobes!

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