This week’s installment of “Wines of the Week” on Facebook LIVE, entitled an “Homage to Fromage,” features four essential wine and cheese pairings guaranteed to delight your palate and inspire you to explore new ways of combining these two imminently enjoyable elements. I thought this was also the perfect topic to feature as we’re officially kicking off “Entertaining Season,” since pairing wine and cheese is definitely one of my favorite, no-stress means of entertaining.
I mean, who wants to be slaving over a hot stove while hosting an elaborate dinner party? Why not simply set out some thoughtfully paired wines and cheeses and enjoy a delightful evening with your friends and family? You actually get to mix and mingle with your guests while watching them happily explore some truly delightful pairings.
In addition to the wine and cheese, round out your offerings with some fun accoutrements such as grapes, marcona almonds, figs, honey and even red pepper jelly (it pairs especially well with Brie!) and you’re sure to look like the Host or Hostess with the Mostess! I’ve even included some key Pairing Principles to help you create some of your own delicious personalized pairings.
PAIRING PRINCIPLE #1: PAIR WINE & CHEESE WITH SIMILAR FLAVORS
Wine #1 – Michel Redde Pouilly-Fumé La Moynerie, Loire Valley, France, 2011 ($30): Crisp, tangy and refreshing, this single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley demonstrates this wine’s beautiful hallmark acidity and minerality.
Cheese #1 – Chèvre: the tangy acidity of this fresh goat’s milk cheese creates a delightful synergy as it mirrors the identical flavors found in the Pouilly-Fumé.
PAIRING PRINCIPLE #2: PAIR WINE & CHEESE WITH SIMILAR WEIGHT
Wine #2 – Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, Sonoma, California, 2013 ($70): Winemaker Jeff Stewart has transformed beautiful, exceptional fruit which hails from one of the coldest vineyards in all of Northern California into a wine of amazing complexity and elegance. On the palate, the fuller-bodied white wine coats the palate with its viscosity and exhibits layer upon layer of delicious flavor including spiced pear, apple, citrus and orange blossom with a kiss of toasty oak.
Cheese Pairing #2 – Brie: This soft-ripened, bloomy rind, cow’s milk cheese was dubbed the “Queen of Cheeses” at the 1815 Congress of Vienna for reason! Immensely popular even to this day, it’s luxurious decadent mouthfeel makes it the perfect pairing for this opulent Chardonnay, creating a 1 + 1 = 3 experience.
PAIRING PRINCIPLES #3: IF IT GROWS TOGETHER IT GOES TOGETHER
Wine #3 – Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy, 2013 ($18): This tasty red, a blend of Sangiovese with a dollop of Canaiolo, is characteristic Chianti with notes of sour cherry, pomegranate, earth and spice accompanied by the hallmark acidity that makes these wines so immensely food-friendly.
Cheese #3 – Parmigiano-Reggiano: This hard, cow’s milk cheese is aged for 24 months, until the moisture evaporates. This process leaves the cheese delightfully toothsome with its hallmark granular texture which perfectly complements the acid and tannin in the red wine. Food and wine which hail from the same country or region often complement each other remarkably well, making it one of my favorite pairing tenets!
PAIRING PRINCIPLES #4: PAIR HARD CHEESES WITH RED WINE
Wine #4 – Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Unfiltered, Rioja, Spain, 2012 ($15): This blend of classic Spanish grapes including Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano exhibits delightful, savory notes of cherry, plum, leather, earth and minerals.
Cheese #4 – Manchego: There’s something magical about the way the concentrated flavors and textures of hard cheese in which the moisture has been evaporated through extended aging, which complement similar components in red wine. And because this pairing also hails from similar geography, the grows together, goes together tenet also holds true.
For ALL the details on our “Homage to Fromage,” please watch the Facebook LIVE video above and to view past episodes of “Wines of the Week” on Facebook LIVE, please click here. And if YOU have any favorite wine and cheese pairings I’d LOVE to hear about the in the Comments section below!
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