Want some cheese to go with your wine? Dad jokes aside, cheese and wine are one of those famous food pairings you can’t beat. We’d put them ahead of beans and rice, peanut-butter and jelly, and chips and salsa! As a winery, we’re biased though.
Cheese and wine as a food pairing has a long history. From historical adages to scientific studies, cheese and wine were meant to be together. Maybe it’s the fruity, sweet notes of the wine and the savory taste of cheese that bring them together in such a beautiful way. However, not all cheese and wine pairings are created equal. Here are the reasons this food pairing goes so well together, plus the perfect cheese and wine combos for you to try.
You’ve heard the saying: white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat, right? There’s a science to that. Astringent foods are ones with slightly acidic or bitter tastes; wine definitely falls into this category. The more astringent a food is, like full-bodied, high-tannin red wine, the better it tastes with full-fat foods like cheese or red meat.
Scientists are still baffled by why this is. According to a 2016 study published in Institute of Food Technologies, cheese and other full fat foods can cut down on the astringency of stronger wines, bringing out the softer, fruitier notes in them more. The study even noted a significant change in wine preferences before and after participants ate cheese.
A 2012 study suggested that astringent foods acted as palate cleansers. These include pickles, tea, and of course, wines. This study showed that repeatedly alternating between a fatty food like cheese and an astringent palate cleanser like wine can make the tastes better and stronger over time.
The way it’s supposed to work has to do with mouthfeel, thew way a food or drink feels in your mouth. Astringent foods dry out your mouth and fatty foods make it wetter and fuller. So the constant go-between of wet and fatty and dry keeps the mouthfeel of the wine and cheese pairing more balanced. Yum!
What cheese goes with what wines?
From the common-sense adage to pair heavier foods with heavier wines, it’s safe to say that lighter wines go with lighter cheeses. White wines are more acidic, so they go better with most cheeses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy reds with a slice of aged cheese or softer cheeses.
Cabernet sauvignon pairs nicely with sharper cheeses like cheddar (try it with extra sharp cheddar for some extra zip), gouda, or Roquefort. Merlot, a lighter red, goes better with milder cheeses like Swiss or brie. Pinot noir also pairs nicely with brie and milder cheeses like Swiss, muenster, and Monterey Jack.
Cheese and wine party, anyone?
Surprise guests? Break out the cheese and wine! Cheese and wine parties are perfect for an impromptu get-together. All you have to do is grab some cheese from your fridge, slice it up, let it sit out for an hour so it warms up, and serve your wine when your guests arrive. In case you don’t know, whites should be served chilled at about 45 degrees and reds should be served warmer, at about 60.
If you want to serve other foods with your cheese and wine, we recommend a blend of salty and sweet finger foods, including olives, nuts, grapes, berries, and cold meats. Crackers with spreads and jam are also a nice touch. You can arrange your snacks on a charcuterie board or serve in small bowls.
Looking for the perfect wine to pair with your cheeses? We offer a wide selection of California wines that will surely please your guests at your next party. Peruse our wines, including our California vintage-inspired Tiger Lily collection before your next gathering.