How to Pair Wine & Cheese
With the upcoming Wine & Cheese Night at the Community Center approaching we asked Gina Marcione of the Blue Table in Calabasas to give her thoughts on inspired parings. Enjoy!
How to Pair Wine & Cheese
I love cheese almost as much as I love wine! My customers always ask me “Gina what’s the right wine to pair with cheese?” Well, it’s actually a pretty complex question…. When I make a cheese platter I love variety – a creamy French washed rind like Langres , a nutty, sharp Pecorino Toscano, a velvety goat cheese like Humbolt Fog, an intense blue cheese like Spanish Cabrales, and maybe a milky truffle cheese. Of course I will not just finish with the cheese, there are nuts, grapes, dried fruit and some times even dark chocolate on my cheese platter. If I was trying to pair a specific wine to this decadent divine feast I would need at least 5 bottles of wine! What is one to do?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Go White! When in doubt go white. The acidity balance between cheeses and unoaked whites seem to pair so naturally – from brie, to goat cheese, and creamy unaged sheep’s milk. Try a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, or a White Blend. Most all of these whites are crisp and also tend to have a taste of apple, pear, peach with hints of honey or an earthy tone that compliments the cheese. * Always go white with a creamy brie or raw cheese if possible, Tannins in red wine tend to kill the flavor unless you are serving it with a rich nutty crackers!
2. Go Red! If you must go red forget suggestion number one when eating aged, hard cheeses like Pecorino, Piave, Manchego, Caccio Cavallo, Compte, Mimolette, and Aged Monterey Jack. The aged salty cheese tend to pair great with reds like Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Sangiovese. *Unless it’s a super aged caramel tasting gouda that tends to pair great with a dark beer, but that’s a whole other story!
3. Go with the Country! The old world has been making cheese as long as they have been making wine. The wine usually emulates the cheese they make! France for example both the cheese and wine are complex, rich, velvety, and full of flavor. This is an almost no fail tip, unless it’s an Italian creamy cow’s milk with truffles? Do you go with white wine because it’s creamy or red because it’s a truffle? Mama Mia!
4. Go Sweet! When pairing blue cheese, even if you don’t like dessert wine, try it with blue cheese. The salty intense blues for some reason pair perfect with dessert wine. Try some Roquefort or Fourme D’ Ambert with Sancerre. Gorganzola with a late harvest zinfandel or Cabrales with an aged Port. It’s makes for an ultimate after dinner treat!
5. It’s all Good! If you are like me you will be eating your cheese with pairing jams, nuts, fruit, tasty crackers filled with ginger and carrot amongst friends and family! There are so many flavors and joyful bites! So I say when enjoying food and wine ultimately there are no rules.
Gina Marcione, owner Blue Table
Blue Table Calabasas offers a wide selection of hand picked wine as well as a walk in cheese closet. She will be opening a wine and cheese bar located in Agoura Hills located at the Whizin Center in mid November.
4774 Park Granada
Calabasas, CA 91302
Tel 818 222 5195