By Henry Klein III
Few things go together as beautifully as wine and cheese. Why does this couple compliment each other so well? It’s the tannin — the chalky, dry taste experienced when drinking wine. Quite simply, cheese cuts the tannin. So, which cheese should you serve with which wine? Read on to find your wine’s perfect mate.
• There will always be exceptions, so experiment.
• The harder the cheese, the higher degree of tannin a wine can have (Red wines have more tannins than white wines).
• Cheeses that are creamy need a higher acidity wine.
• Whiter and fresher cheeses require crispier and fruiter wines.
• Heavy rich cheeses pair with light reds and Chardonnays.
• Strong veined cheeses partner well with a sweeter wine. (The grand finale to any wine and cheese pairing is a blue-veined cheese paired with Port!).
• Soft cheeses with bloomy white or red dotted rinds demand full bodied whites or younger reds with lower tannins.
• Orange-red rind soft cheeses need full-bodied reds with lower tannins or heavy whites.
• Semi-soft cheeses with pink-gray rinds pair well with strong powerful whites and mature whites
Dry white wines, light to medium bodied
Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Pinot Grigio, Muscadet, Chardonnay (no oak), Riesling, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois, Semillon, Gruner Vetliner, Chenin Blanc (dry), Pouilly Fume, Light er champagne or Sparkling wines
Cream based fresh, no rind, most Goat’s cheeses, and bluish-grey natural rind
Cream cheese, mozzarella, feta, fontina, Ricotta, Montery Jack, chevre, créme fraiche, crottin, Barbu, Bouleau, Emmental
Dry white wines, full bodied
Chardonnay (with oak), Dry Riesling, Full Flavored Champagne or Sparkling Wines, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Fume Blanc, Bordeaux whites
Semi-soft cheeses, grey-pink thick rind & soft cheeses with bloomy white or red dotted rind
Brie, Bougon, Oka, St. Nectarine, St. Andre, Camembert, Dunberra, Livarot, Port-Salut, Chaource, Pont I’Eveque, Reblochon, Dunberra, Tomme de Savole
Dry red wines, light to medium bodied, fruity
Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Beaujolas or gamay Noir, Dry Rose, Valpolicella,Zweigelt, Chinon, Barbaresco, Bourguil
Fresh with no rind, soft cheeses with bloomy rind, and some colored thick rinds
Brie, Mozzarella, Montery Jack, Munster, Gouda, Gruyere, Oka, Wensleydale, Jarlsberg, Coolea, Migneron
Dry red wines, medium-full bodied, complex and rustic
Chianti, New World Pinot Noir or Complex Burgundian Red, Barbera, Barbaresco, Cru Beaujolais, Pinotage, Valpolicella
Older Rustic styles with softer tannins: Caberner Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, syrah, Chianti Classico, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Ribera del Duero, Malbec, Super Tuscans,
Soft cheeses with washed and sticky orange-red, brownish rinds
Brie d’Mieux, raw milk Brie, Munster, Limburger, Langres, Vacherin, Pied-de-Vent, Reblochon, Sir Laurier d’Arthabaska, Pouligny-Saint-Pierre, Gubbeen
Dry red wines, full-bodied
Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Bordeaux Reds, Merlot, Shiraz or Syrah, Meritage, Barolo, Rioja, Brunello di Montaicino, Super Tuscans, Chianti Classico, Amarone, Malbec, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Ribera del Duero, Grenache
Hard cheeses, waxed or oiled
Parmigiano Reggiano, Romano, Asiago, Ricotta Salata, Gruyere, Old Gouda, Old Cheddar, Aged Chesire, Chevre Noir, Cantal, Mahon
Port, Sweet Rieslings, Sweet Vouvray, Sauternes or Barsac, Monbazillac
Blue veined cheeses and some cream cheeses
Gorgonzola, Saga, Cambonzola, Blue Ermite, Bleu de la Moutonniere, Bleubry Cayer, Mascarpone, devon Cream, Torta
Wine of the Month: Wynns Shiraz Coonawarra Estates 2004. $15/bottle.
Henry Klein III is owner of Cabernet Café, 1814 Western Avenue, Guilderland. For more information call 452.5670 or visit www.cabernetcafe.com.