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Pairing Wine and Cheese
 by: David Cragg

When designing 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 a 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 best recommendation is for you to be ready for for experimenting. Choose several cheeses and several wines. each person will find what combination is best for themselves. You will enjoy yourself more if you are open to all combinations. wine and cheese pairing parties will create conversation. It will be a great time. It will be yummy. And it will be enjoyable.

Cheese and wine are often matched, and they have been enjoyed together since olden days. Both are foods of fermentation. Both may be consumed while fresh, simple, and young or in their more complicated forms when they are mature.

When paired up, wine and cheese do their part to bring out the best in each other, and even the wine snobes 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 snob like the rest of us, and with snobs, there’s no worry about bloopers in wine and cheese pairings — say like dining on Velveeta while sipping boxed Ripple.

There are no hard and fast rules as to which wines should typically be served with a distinct} cheeses. There is a general guideline that cheeses of a certain region are best enjoyed with wines of the same region. But, just as one bottle of pinot gregio from the France is not like that of another vintage or another producer, neither is one goat cheese exactly like another. Both are living and constantly changing. This is what makes pairing cheese and wine fascinating as well as delicious.

Even though it comes down to personal taste, certain general rules have been approved by a majority of chefs. Here are some of those basic truths:

• White wines pairs well with soft cheeses and stronger flavors.

• Red wines pairs well with hard cheeses and milder flavors.

• Fruity and sweet white wines (not dry) and dessert wines pairs well with a extended group of cheeses.

• The more snappy the cheese you choose, the sweeter the wine should be.

• Harmony should always exist between the cheese and the wine. They should have similar intensities. There should always be a balance - strong and powerful cheeses should be paired with similar wines and light cheeses should be paired with lighter wines.

• A complete list of recommended wine and cheese groupings can be found at

When offering several cheese brands in a wine and cheese pairing spread, white wines are recieved better than reds. That’s because several cheeses, particularly soft and creamy ones, leave a after taste of fat on your tongue that interferes with the taste of reds, rendering them monotonous and bland.

Just the opposite, most of those sweeter whites complement most cheeses. Additionally, the “sparkle” in a sparkling wine or champagne can help break up the fat in heavier cheeses.Therefore, the spicy zing of a Gewürztraminer or the peachy zip of a Riesling is ideal if you’re going for a wide appeal.

If you’re an adventurist and willing to try the stinkiest of cheese, pick a big wine to back it up. Try a French Bordeaux or a buxom California Cab. Ports and dessert wines are your best combination if you like mold-donned or blue-veined cheeses.

For a safer bet when having several wines, choose Parmigiano or Romano cheeses. They go with most wines.

A Wine and Cheese Pairing Party to Remember

Here are my ideas for setting up a fun wine and cheese pairing affair for your friends and family:

• Purchase your cheeses in large chunks for an ideal presentation.

• Cheeses should be presented at room temperature. Pull them out of the fridge a couple hours before your affair.

• Serve most wines refridgerated — whites between 50-55 degrees and reds between 60-65 degrees.

• Reds need to breath 15 to 20 minutes before you server them.

• Make handwritten name cards for all your cheeses.

• Display cheese on a wood chopping block, a slab of marble or even a cheese tray.

Ultimately, the perfect wine and cheese pairing is not a rule. It is a match made on the palates of each person individually. Start with the basic guidelines above and then experiment with the new pairings. You may be surprised which couple will be your choice.

About The Author

David Cragg is an Web marketing guru for the Temecula Valley with over 30 years of work experiance. His work started with IBM and then was funded by Microsoft. Today he is retired and offers his time to winery managment to help with their Web marketing to help expand their businesses. You can read more about his work for Temecula wineries at


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