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When setting up a wine and cheese pairing, the thing you have to know is: If it tastes yummy, do it! I’m sure you’ve heard all the most knowledgeable chefs sharing about what cheese works with your choice of wine; however, when it comes down to it, it’s all about personal taste. You may prefer one cheese with a particular wine while someone else may like an entirely different pairing. My recommendation is for you to be ready for for a fun afternoon. Choose several cheeses and several wines. You will find one pairing that is best for you and another for someone else. There are no wrong combinations. It will create conversation. It will be fun. It will be delightful. And it will be enjoyable.
Cheese and wine are related, and they have been enjoyed together since olden days. Both result from fermentation. Both may be consumed while fresh, simple, and young or in their more complex forms when they are mature.
When paired up, wine and cheese bring out the finest aspects of each other, and even the experts can’t agree on any guidelines for the wine and cheese pairing match game. Now apparently, if you’re looking into this, you’re a highbrow like the rest of us, and with snobs, there’s no worry about faux pas in wine and cheese pairings — say like snacking on Cheese Whiz while sipping boxed Blueberry Hill.
There are no hard and fast rules as to which wines should always be served with a particular} cheeses. There is a general guideline that cheeses of a certain country are best paired with wines of the same country. But, just as one bottle of zinfandel from the Temecula California is not like that of another vintage or another producer, neither is one Blue Benedictin exactly like another. Both are living and constantly changing. This is what makes pairing cheese and wine interesting as well as fun.
Even though it comes down to personal taste, certain general rules have been proven favorable by a majority of enthusiasts. Here are some of those general guidelines:
• White wines work favorably with soft cheeses and stronger flavors.
• Red wines work favorably with hard cheeses and milder flavors.
• Fruity and sweet white wines (not dry) and dessert wines work favorably with a extended range of cheeses.
• The more zesty the cheese you choose, the sweeter the wine should be.
• Rapport should always exist between the cheese and the wine. They should have similar intensities. There should always be a parity - strong and powerful cheeses should be paired with similar wines and delicate cheeses should be paired with lighter wines.
• A complete list of recommended wine and cheese groupings can be found at temecula-wine.net.
When offering several cheese selections in a wine and cheese pairing, white wines are better than reds. That’s because several cheeses, particularly soft and creamy ones, leave a after taste of fat on the palate that block the taste of reds, making them monotonous and bland.
Quite the opposite, most of those sweeter whites nicely complement most cheeses. The “sparkle” in a sparkling wine or champagne can help break through the fat in heavier cheeses.Therefore, the spicy zing of a Gewürztraminer or the peachy zip of a Riesling is perfect if you’re going for a wide appeal.
If you’re willing to try new things, pick a big wine to back it up. Try a French Bordeaux or a buxom California Cab. Ports and dessert wines are your best choice if you like mold-donned or blue-veined cheeses.
For a safer bet when offering several wines, choose Parmigiano or Romano cheeses. They go with most wines.
A Wine and Cheese Pairing Party to Remember
Here are several tips for setting up a memorable wine and cheese pairing function for your friends and family:
• Purchase your cheeses in large wedges for an ideal arrangement.
• Cheeses should be eated at room temperature. Pull them out of the refridgerator a couple hours before your function.
• Serve most wines cool — whites between 50-55 degrees and reds between 60-65 degrees.
• Open your reds 15-20 minutes before you want to serve them as they need to breath.
• Create handwritten name cards for all your cheeses.
• Display cheese on a cheese tray, a wood cheese board, or even a nice piece of china.
Ultimately, the perfect wine and cheese pairing is not a rule. It is a match made on the taste buds of each of your guests. Start with the basic guidelines above and then try the new pairings. You will be surprised which couple will end up to be your choice pairings.
David Cragg is an Internet marketing guru for the Temecula Valley with over 30 years of success. His work started with IBM and then was supported by Microsoft. Today he is retired and offers his time to winery managment to support with their Internet marketing to support expand their businesses. You can read more about his work for Temecula wineries at http://temecula-wineries.net/AboutUs.html.
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