Suveg Cellars Wine and Cheese Pairing Guide: How to Pair Wine and Cheese
The practice of pairing wine and cheese in a harmonious manner has been around for quite a long time. For many Europeans where wine is a part of daily life from a very young age and for others who have been fortunate to visit gastronomically rich countries such as Italy, France and Spain, the notion of pairing wine and cheese is a rather familiar one. In my experience, I have found that most individuals want useful information and guidance about pairing wine and cheese without having to take a class or peruse a reference book before embarking on a trip to their local market to shop for wine and cheese.
While wine and cheese appreciation and enjoyment are certainly personal, the synergy between wine and cheese makes it nearly impossible to decide on pairings about either one in isolation. The primary considerations for successful wine and cheese marriages are based on their respective organoleptic profiles, or the array of sensory impressions they leave behind.
The organoleptic profile of a wine or cheese begins and ends with its aromas. First smell the cheese and then the wine in order to create a preview of what their respective aromatics will offer.
The first relationship we notice on the palate is one between sweet (fruit/wine) and savory (salty/cheese). The saltier the cheese, the sweeter the wine should be.
The next key pairing factor is the relative acidity or pH levels of the wine and cheese. The higher the acidity of a wine, the more favorable it pairs with acidic cheeses.
This characteristic represents the fullness, the persistence and the length of flavors in a cheese and is analogous to the finish of a wine. A bold assertive cheese demands a bold assertive wine.
A complex cheese is best paired with a simple straightforward wine and vice versa. Two multifaceted partners will most likely be incompatible as they both demand center stage attention.
This may be contrasting or harmonious but in all cases must serve as a complement to the other.
Before pairing, I recommend first answering the question: What is the primary focus; the wine or the cheese? Both cannot take center stage. The following guide suggests that you may make your decision from either direction after making this determination. I encourage you to consider these recommendations as guidelines rather than prescriptions and to use your imagination and creativity in the spirit of culinary anarchy!