Wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Batman and Robin, like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler… okay, you get the gist–these things are meant for each other! In celebration of National Cheese Lover’s Day, we teamed up with local Boston-area cheese expert and author, Adam Centamore, to help us out with seven wine and cheese pairings we know you’ll love.
Check them out below… then go check out Adam’s book Tasting Wine & Cheese: An Insiders Guide to Mastering the Principles of Pairing to dig even deeper into the world of wine and cheese pairings.
MENDOCINO CHARDONNAY AND GRUYERE
A high-class wine from blue-collar sensibilities, the Lot 122 Chardonnay shows lots of body and roundness with a lovely, creamy texture. Use that suppleness to your advantage and pick a cheese that compliments the wine’s curves. Alpine-style cheeses come to mind – their bigger mouthfeel and fattier texture works great with the wine’s broader shoulders. The savory, nutty tones of Gruyére Vieux is at the top of our list. Aged for around 18 months, this cheese is smooth and complex. Just the thing an elegant Chardonnay needs. Add in a baguette, a little saucisson and a spot of well-made Dijon mustard and lunch is served!
RUSSIAN RIVER PINOT NOIR AND EPOISSES
A wine of such complexity and bold expression calls for an equally noble cheese! For a truly opulent experience serve this wine with Epoisses. Hailing from Pinot Noir’s French birthplace, Burgundy, this washed rind cheese is aromatic and intense on the outside, but milky-sweet inside. Make sure the wine is cool and the cheese is room-temperature to get the most out of this magnificent combination. Add a dried cherry or two to bring out the dark fruit tones in the wine. If you’re not up for quite that much adventure, a mild clothbound cheddar will more than do the trick.
PROSECCO AND ROBIOLA DUE LATTI
Sassy and loaded with energy, this eager-to-please sparkler from Northern Italy is just as comfortable with soft and creamy cheeses as it is with the sharper, saltier tones of an aged cheese. For sheer pleasure, pair a glass (or two) of the 90+ Cellars Lot 50 Prosecco with a Robiola due Latti – the crisp, lively bubbles and fresh fruit flavors are a great contrast to the cheese’s silky, creamy mouthfeel. Add a dollop of peach jam and let it all sing!
Looking for a bolder experience? Sip on this between bites of Piave Vecchio, one of the Veneto’s superstar cheeses. Delightfully nutty and ever-so-slightly salty, this firm cheese really shows off the wine’s liveliness.
NEW ZEALAND SAUVIGNON BLANC AND FRESH GOAT CHEESES
At once cheerful and elegant, the Lot 2 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is happiest with a cheese that shares the same zest for life. Think fresh goat cheeses, especially from the Loire Valley in France. The ash-rinded Valençay is not only gorgeous to look at – the truncated pyramid deeply speckled with vegetable ash – but has a teensy bit of chalkiness that accents the wine’s fruitiness wonderfully.
Care to step it up a notch? Serve this combination with some dried guava and watch the wine’s aromas perk up even more.
ARGENTINA OLD VINE MALBEC AND PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO
Loaded with black fruit and spice, the Lot 23 Malbec is just begging for a big cheese with lots of personality. Cheeses with some age will really bring out the structure of the wine. Parmigiano-Reggiano, with its noble texture and flavor, is a great choice.
Feeling a bit more fiery? Go for a Manchego Añejo. This sheep-milk cheese from Spain is full of flavor and has a bit of an attitude itself, making it a great dance partner for the wine. Add in a few fresh blackberries to tie it all together – the fruit’s natural sweetness and acidity lock everything in place.
NAPA CABERNET SAUVIGNON AND AGED PECORINO
Lavish in flavor and finish, the Lot 94 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa’s Rutherford appellation is looking for serious cheese relationships only. Anything less would only waste this bold and lush wine’s time. Aged Pecorino from Italy makes for an apt companion. Made from sheep milk (“pecora” in Italian), pecorino brings a peppery, fruity tone to the pairing. Aim for the Gran Riserva cheeses – the extra aging adds layer after layer of complexity and emphasizes the wine’s tobacco and vanilla notes.
IRON SIDE RED AND BREBIS ABBAYE DE BELLOC
Iron Side Red – a red blend from California – packs quite a punch, and needs a cheese that can handle it. Powerful yet silky, the Iron Side Red’s dark fruit and earth profile calls for a cheese with thick, rich tones. Southern France’s Brebis Abbaye de Belloc is more than up for the task. Made from sheep milk (“brebis” is ‘sheep’ in French), this cheese is big and sweet with a gorgeous finish. The wine’s tannins and structure will get along with the cheese’s weight and flavors just fine.
If you have a little wine to spare, soak some prunes for an hour or so in it to serve alongside the combination. The thick, sweet fruit has the weight of the cheese and the strength of the wine. Delicious.
Thanks to Adam Centamore for putting together these FANTASTIC pairings! Pick up a copy of Adam’s new book, Tasting Wine & Cheese: An Insiders Guide to Mastering the Principles of Pairing, on Amazon….