Entertaining tonight with a great bottle of wine? Learn how to pair wine and cheese in this article from Sweet Oaks Wine.
Wine and cheese pairings are often a matter of taste. The experienced consumer will know just which types complement the other. But if you are just getting started on your home entertaining, there’s nothing easier than providing a good bottle of wine and a selection of cheese.
There are classic pairings, and there are times when you might have your personal preference. Just remember that one flavor should not overwhelm the other. The wine and the cheese are there to complement and balance each other perfectly. But which wines pair best with which cheeses?
Here are a few tips to help you get started, including tips on the best Sweet Oaks bottles to select for your special evening.
1. Pair According to Intensity
To create your wine and cheese pairing, try to balance the wine with a cheese that matches its intensity. If the wine is 13% ABV or more, this is a wine to be savored slowly. So the cheese that you eat with it can have more intense flavors. In this regard, because of the cheese’s strong aromas and taste, it is also consumed in moderation.
2. Pair More Intense Wines With Aged Cheeses
The older the cheese, the richer and more intense the flavor. It may also have a sharper scent due to the decrease in water content and increase in fat. So, if you have the option for older cheeses, choose a bolder red wine. Hard slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano would go well with a bold wine such as the Sol De Luz 2017 Syrah, known for its intensity. Before finding new growth in Southern California, this small, thick-skinned grape originated in France as a crossbreed between the Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche varieties. Its soft tannic edge leaves you with a velvety and peppery mouthfeel so that it can handle the more robust cheese flavors.
3. Try Strong, Funkier Cheeses With Lighter or Sweeter Wines
Not everyone will crave sweet wine with cheese. Sometimes, sweet wines are best saved for dessert. But if you have the occasional guest who prefers a sip of sweetness, try offering a funkier cheese alongside it. A light white with notes of sweetness such as the carefully oak-matured Sweet Oaks 2016 Chardonnay has rich, golden hues with notes of apple, spice, and French oak. While it is best paired with nuts and cream cheese, you can also serve this bottle with slices of stronger blue cheese or an aged sheep’s cheese. A truffle-infused cheese such as the variety from Amatrice in Italy is a favorite. This Pecorino cheese with black truffles has a unique, delightful taste. It requires pairing with a light wine, and the Sweet Oaks 2016 Chardonnay is perfect.
4. Sparkling Wines Go Well With Soft Cheese Varieties
Sparkling wine is generally consumed as a starter before the more full-bodied wines. It is preferred in the summer or warmer months when you crave a light refreshment. So, think charcuterie boards filled with nuts, fruits, and either grilled brie or camembert cheese for a sparkling wine bottle.
5. Nutty Cheeses and Reserve Wines Are a Match Made in Gourmet Heaven
A firm, nutty cheese is a safe bet to counterbalance the strong tannins in high-quality red wines. Go for Swiss cheeses, Gruyère, Abbaye de Belloc, or Emmental. The Reserve wines have aged for longer in a particular kind of barrel and require pairing with a cheese that can match its intensity. A good example is this Sweet Oaks 2016 Malbec, crafted in a very French style. It lingers on the tongue with notes of fresh cherries and spices, dominating the palate.
6. When in Doubt, Pair by Region
Often, you may find that you can go the traditional local route, pairing wines and cheeses from the same region of a country. For example, when serving a French Sauvignon Blanc, try a goat cheese from the Loire Valley in France. If slicing Manchego from Spain, serve it with a bottle of crisp Grenache rosé to remind your guests of warm holidays by the sea or a sun-kissed afternoon.
Elevate Your Meal With Fantastic Wines From Sweet Oaks
Remember that a good wine experience is also about the memories you make. When entertaining friends, family, or loved ones, don’t over-think the pairings. Trust your tastebuds to guide you on what works best for your palate, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Be open and versatile and have fun. You’ll find that when you allow your senses to guide you, the flexibility and variety of options for pleasure are endless. After all, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
For more wine varieties, try our quality selection on the Sweet Oaks wine online shop. We also have a blog to guide you through pairing wine with other foods, occasions, and moods.