18.06.17

All about... pairing cheese and wine

All about... pairing cheese and wine
For this week's wine our expert has suggested pairing it with the local cheese, Munster.
 
It makes sense that wines and food from a given region should go well together, as they'll have been made, and consumed, that way for generations. It's particularly the case with wine and cheese as both have been made for thousands of years.
 
Is there a more famous culinary pairing than wine with cheese? Most people know they bring the best out of each other - but why?
 
Cheese is mostly fat and protein and it's the fat content that will balance the acid taste in any wine, making it seem smoother and rounder. The proteins as well as the fat balance out tannin in wine, making it taste velvety and soft (this is also one of the reasons we Brits add milk to tea!).
 
Going the other way, the acid and tannin in wine cleanses the palate, allowing the full flavour of the cheese to shine through.
 
While wine and cheese are made for each other, there is such diversity in both worlds that some rules apply.
 
On the whole, white wines are easier to match with cheese than red because they are often higher in acidity. You'll perceive acidity as a bright, mouthwatering sensation, and it can hit you at the start or the finish of a sip of wine. But reds can work as well if you choose ones high in acidity. These type of red wines tend to come from producers in high altitudes and cooler climates.
 
  • Hard cheeses are often sharp and/or salty, and can also be aged. This style of cheese is often the best match with red wine.
  • Blue cheeses are pungent, often salty cheeses, with a blue tinge (which is a mould). These types of cheese match well with sweet and fortified wines.
  • Soft cheese can be tangy or mild and not usually aged. They are looking for bright fresh white wines with high acidity.
  • Bloomy (washed-rind) cheese is creamy and decadent, with a soft rind. These go well with crisp fruity white wines.
As always, the final analysis is down to personal tastes and preferences. But a good rule-of-thumb is to match the intensity of the cheese with that of the wine - otherwise one will dominate the other.

Happy pairing!

Paul


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