Wine and cheese are specialties of French culture that are great together. Both cheese are wine are similar in that really good varieties of both have multiple layers of taste and texture. You also get what you pay for. If you buy cheap cheese and cheap wine, they probably won’t taste very good. Here’s a guide for those who love cheese and wine together.
White wines are usually light and have a fruity aroma with complex fruit tastes that may combine pears, apples, and the occasional peach. The most famous and complicated white wine has got to be chardonnay, named for the green grape variety grown all over the world.
When chardonnay ferments in wine barrels, the oak flavor comes out in a kind of bitterness and acidity, and that combines with fruity and butter flavors to make a true chardonnay. A great cheddar cheese goes well with chardonnay. The complex milk and sharp smoky tastes of cheddar combine with rich oaky chardonnay to make a dynamite tasting experience.
Zinfandel is another classic wine known in California. Because of its complex sweet and fruity flavors, a saltier cheese goes better with this variety. High sugar contents yield greater alcohol content balanced with complicated fruit and spice flavors.
Bleu cheese is perfect for a zinfandel because of its higher salt content due to the complex fermentation and controlled temperatures used to make this cheese. Traditional bleu cheese comes from Europe and is aged in caves.
Merlot is a classic French red wine that hints of fruit (most commonly cherry) and chocolate flavors. Salty and sharp cheeses really don’t sit well with a good merlot, and a buttery tasting light cheese. Sheep’s milk or young cow’s milk that is already thick, rich, and creamy goes great with a heavier merlot wine. Roncal is cheese from sheep’s milk that will taste unlike any cheese you’ve ever tasted but you’ll love the buttery taste that goes with merlot.
Sherry is a heavy dessert wine infused with brandy to give it that distinctive sharp flavor. Again, lightweight cheese go best with a true sherry, so try a good goat’s milk cheese. There are many great American varieties of goat cheese, especially from Wisconsin that are light on taste and the budget and still of great quality.
Fruity wines are generally for dessert, but also go great with cheese. Blackberry is one of my favorite wines and the best kind of cheese that goes with it really isn’t cheese, but cheesecake. Cheese cake is made with cream cheese and heavy cream, so it is still technically a cheese pairing with a little dessert thrown in. Blackberry wine would also go with cream cheese spreads on crackers and bagels.