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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With the Holiday Season approaching and entertaining schedules about to kick into high gear, it’s prime time to perfect your wine and cheese pairing prowess! Creamy, comforting and delicious, cheese is synonymous with the Fall and Winter months, and wine can arguably be the perfect accompaniment. But what wine to serve with that wedge of triple cream Brie, charming Cheddar,... Read More
The post Homage to Fromage: 3 Key Wine & Cheese Pairing Principles! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.
With the Holiday Season approaching and entertaining schedules about to kick into high gear, it’s prime time to perfect your wine and cheese pairing prowess! Creamy, comforting and delicious, cheese is synonymous with the Fall and Winter months, and wine can arguably be the perfect accompaniment. But what wine to serve with that wedge of triple cream Brie, charming Cheddar, or fragrant Epoisses? Here are a few basic tips for creating the perfect duo.
Principle #1: Pair wines and cheeses with similar flavor profiles: The same principle that works for food and wine also works for wine and cheese. If you enjoy particular flavors in a cheese, opt for a wine that mirrors those delicious qualities. For instance, a tangy, acidic fresh goat cheese would be well matched with a zesty, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc. Similar flavors create this fabulous flavor synergy! In addition to fresh goat cheese with Sauvignon Blanc, other examples of this principle include Camembert or Brie with Chardonnay, aged sheep’s milk cheese with sherry, and Emmentaler with Merlot.
Try the 2014 Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc ($14) from South Africa paired with fresh goat’s milk Fromage Blanc
Principle #2: Pair the texture and weight of wine and cheese: The texture of a cheese is an important window into its flavor and can aid in finding a great wine to match it. For instance, if a cheese is creamy and viscous, like Brie, you would want to match it with a wine with similar qualities, say a creamy, buttery Chardonnay. Or, if you’re in the mood for a semi-hard cheese like cheddar, a medium-bodied Zinfandel would probably work best. Some classic examples of this principle include Manchego and Rioja, Gruyère and Gewürztraminer and washed-rind cheese and Cabernet Franc.
Try the 2010 Cune Rioja Crianza ($14) from Spain paired with a nutty Manchego cheese
Principle #3: Pair wines and cheeses with opposite flavors: This may appear contrary to the first pairing tip, however, if you are a fan of sweet and salty or sweet and savory flavors together, this might be the principle for you! Choosing opposing flavors in wine and cheese can make for some delicious flavor combinations. If you have a salty cheese, then it will generally pair well with a sweet wine – as long as the saltiness and sweetness are in balance. Classic “opposite” cheese and wine pairings include Roquefort and Sauternes and Stilton and Port.
Try the 2013 Anne Amie Cuvée A Müller-Thurgau ($16) from Oregon’s Yamhill-Carlton district paired with an aged blue cheese
While these pairing principles can serve as a guide for establishing some wonderful wine and cheese pairings, the best practice is to experiment and discover what truly pleases your palate! What are some of your favorite wine and cheese pairings?
The post Homage to Fromage: 3 Key Wine & Cheese Pairing Principles! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.
Last month’s installment of “The Art of Wine & Food” featured one of my favorite topics: wine and cheese! Dubbed an “Homage to Fromage” we focused on wine and cheese pairings perfect for entertaining.
In addition to our three Wine & Cheese Pairing Principles, I also like to follow these three Glamorous Guidelines when entertaining guests at home: 1.) always greet your guests with a sparkling wine, 2.) introduce your guests to a wine that’s a little off the beaten path and/or 3.) treat your guests to a decadent dessert wine.
To me, nothing says “festive” like a glass of bubbly and what better way to greet friends and welcome them into your home? Whether it’s Champagne, Prosecco or Cava, there’s just something about the feel of a flute in your hand and bubbles tickling your nose that are simply smile-inducing. This month we featured the Domaine Carneros Cuvee Brut, 2008, a sparkling wine from California which, at $28 a bottle, proves you don’t have to break the bank with a French Champagne to get your bubbly fix! Located in California, Domaine Carneros actually does have ties to France’s Champagne region: it’s parent company is Champagne Taittinger, one of the most well-known Champagne Houses in the world. Claude Taittinger recognized California’s potential to produce world class sparkling wine and found the perfect place in Carneros. He also hand-selected President and Winemaker, Eileen Crane, and with over thirty years of experience making sparkling wine in the US, she is known today as America’s Doyenne of Sparkling Wine.
Our first Wine & Cheese Pairing Principle of the evening was: “Pair Sparkling Wines with Cheese.” Most people automatically think red wine when pairing wine with cheese but sparkling wines pair deliciously well with many cheeses, especially decadent, creamy ones. The acidity and bubbles of the sparkling wine create a beautiful contrast of texture and also cleanse and refresh the palate after each delicious bite of the cheese. To demonstrate this theory, we enjoyed a Triple-Creme Brie paired with the Domaine Carneros Brut, a fruity blend of 48% Pinot Noir, 41% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Blanc. In addition to the contrasting textures, the fruitiness and creaminess of the sparkler actually enhanced the saltiness and creaminess of the Brie. What’s not to love about that?
When entertaining at home, I also like to introduce guests to a new wine or one I suspect they haven’t tried before. To demonstrate my point, we served the Clos de Nouys Vouvray Sec, 2009, a wine made from 100% Chenin Blanc done in a “sec” or dry style. The delicious Chenin Blanc grape is indigenous to France and has thrived in the Loire Valley since the 9th century. It was first believed to have been cultivated at the Abbey of Glanfeuil in Anjou. It was transported in 1445 to the Squire of Chenonceau at Mount Chenin where the grape derived its name. Clos de Nouys is a 25 acre estate located in the Vouvray appellation of the Loire and consists of vines averaging 35 years old. This is one of the oldest wine-making estates in the AOC area: its wines were served on the Normandie transatlantic liner in 1936 and its vineyards were listed among the best sites on 1907 geological maps.
Wine & Cheese Pairing Principle #2 of our evening was “Pair Wine and Cheese with Similar Flavors.” Chenin Blanc is known for its high levels of acidity and minerality so in keeping with our principle I paired the Clos de Nouys Vouvray Sec with a tangy, fresh goat cheese. The bright acidity in the wine mirrored the acidity and tangy flavors in the goat cheese creating a delicious synergy.
My third personal entertaining guideline is perhaps my favorite: treat your guests to a dessert wine! When entertaining at home many people forget about dessert wines. They may think it’s “wrong” or even “uncool” to like sweet wine of any kind which couldn’t be further from the truth! To demonstrate this paring, we sampled the Fonseca Ruby Port, NV a tasty introductory level Port with fruity notes of cherries and black currants. Port is actually a fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal using five main grapes: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cao, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesca and Touriga Nacional. As the still wine is fermenting, a neutral grape spirit (aguardente) is added to prematurely halt the fermentation process which leaves residual sugar in the wine and boosts alcohol content.
In order to demonstrate Wine & Cheese Pairing Principle #3: “Pair Cheese with Dessert Wine” we sampled a classic pairing: Port & Stilton. The reason this pairing works so well is because the sweetness of a dessert wine enhances the saltiness of the cheese which creates a mouth-watering synergy even though the two things individually have somewhat opposite flavors. If you are a fan of Kettle Corn, popcorn that has both salty and sweet flavors, you understand how the combination of salty and sweet can be so incredibly delicious!
A big thank you to Republic National Distributing Company for sponsoring our “Homage to Fromage” at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. All wines are available through The Wine Atelier. Hope you can join us later this month for “Sultry Summer Sippers” featuring wines that are perfect for enjoying during the Summer months. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.moafl.org or call Gail Vilone at 954.262.0249. Hope to see you there!