Saturday, July 25, is National Wine and Cheese Day! Wine and cheese are one of those pairings that have been around forever. It’s such a pleasant experience, and boy, don’t we need those right about now? When I was a kid, my mom turned us on to this classic combo (minus the wine, of course) with a can of Easy Cheese and buttery Ritz crackers. My brothers and I thought cheese in a can was so cool! Sometimes we didn’t even use the cracker and just sprayed the cheese right into our mouths. I’m so thankful that my taste buds have evolved and now I have more discriminating tastes.
When it comes to picking which wine goes with what kind of cheese, there is a ton of possibilities! It's quite overwhelming. You can read books, take seminars, watch You Tube videos and read countless articles online about how to go about it, but our suggestion is to turn to a professional. That’s exactly what I did when I went to Total Wine and met up with Erin, the wine supervisor, to go over some of her favorite pairings.
If you’re a lover of a soft cheese, like Brie, consider this Vennstone Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County, California. All of you Meomi lovers will enjoy this wine as well.
For a medium-bodied Spanish red wine like Uro’s Toro Finca La Rana, you can use a German Butterkase or a Havarti cheese with dill. The soft cheeses also pair well with sparkling wine. Erin likes the Pure Loire Vouvray Brut from France for its crisp citrus flavors.
These are just a few of the myriad of choices you can make, but if you want to try things on your own, here are some basic tips to consider according to
1) Pair by flavor intensity
2) Watch those tannins – tannic red wines are not for soft, young cheeses
3) Salt loves sweet
4) Cheese loves fruits and nuts – add those to the cheese plate
5) Texture: complement or contrast – rich, creamy cheeses go well with buttery, oaky white wines
6) What grows together goes together – wines and cheeses from the same region are safe choices
The main thing is to have fun, experiment and try new things! Pick a wine and cheese and spend some time learning about their area of origin. We may not be able to travel to France or Spain or Italy right now, but with delicious wines and cheeses we can bring a piece of those far-flung locales right into our own homes. Enjoy!