This section will be regularly updated with favourite recipes, food matches and handy tips on picking the perfect wine for your favourite dishes.......
BASIC RULES OF MATCHING CHEESE AND WINE
This is the most important thing to consider when matching wine with cheese as all the other components have an effect on the intensity and is generally due to the AGE of the cheese.
White wine is a surprisingly good match with most cheeses despite many people’s perceptions. High acid wines are generally always food friendly as not only do they cut through fat but lift out the flavours (think of how a squeeze of lemon juice can transform a dish). Other whites with softer acid achieve this through a process called Malolactic fermentation. This converts the lactic acid in the wine (think green apple flavours) to malic acid (creamy flavours) and this creaminess can really compliment a rich buttery cheese such as Brie de Meaux.
One of the key components on matching cheese with red wines is the tannins. Tannin is extracted from grape skins and creates a ‘drying’ sensation in the mouth. Tannins vary depending on the thickness of the skin of the grape, how long the skins have been in contact with the wine and whether the wine has been aged in oak (which adds tannins but also softens them). Tannins bond with fat molecules and create a flavour sensation in your mouth by softening the tannins and cleansing your palate all at the same time.
For a fuller ‘techy’ article about tannins have a look at what Jamie Goode has to say about it.
Young cheeses tend to have a high water content which makes them light and airy – a heavy, tannic or aged wine would completely overwhelm the taste. For young fresh cheeses you need something with good acidity and low to no tannins such as sparkling wine, crisp whites, dry rosés or light fruity reds.
As the cheeses ages a process called affinage takes place in which the water evaporates leaving behind fats and proteins as well as the cheeses developing new flavours (depending on their style) from a nutty sweetness, such as in Emmental, or the more funky flavours you find in Blue Cheeses.
They go so beautifully with rich, aged cheeses because the tannins bind together with the fats and proteins, cleansing your palate for the next mouthful.
Big tannins with young cheeses really don’t work as they tie up what little fat is in the cheese leaving a chalky, metallic sensation.
TO MATCH OR CONTRAST
Cheese can vary hugely in texture. It can be creamy, fluffy, grainy, oily, springy, sticky, brittle, chalky (I could go on). The key is whether to go for something to compliment (i.e. a rich, buttery burgundy with creamy aged cheddar) or to go the polar opposite and try something contrasting like champagne that’s high acidity cuts through the richness of the cheddar.
Flavours can also compliment or oppose each other depending on what you prefer
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
As with all food and wine matching, the wine produced in a certain region has been developed over many years (sometimes centuries) alongside the local cuisine. It is almost universally true that what grows together goes together.
Which do you want to be the star of the show, the cheese or the wine?
DID YOU KNOW GROG HOST CHEESE AND WINE TASTINGS? GET IN TOUCH FOR US TO ORGANISE YOURS
First up are.....
Juan Gill Monastrell - perfect match for Simon's slow cooker venison stew
Chateau L'Ermitage Tradition Blanc - fantastic with smoked haddock omelette
Trout Valley Pinot Gris - a winner with chicken wanton soup
and 2 wines that work fabulously with Clare's mother in law's chicken curry
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