So you’re snuggling up on the couch, the kids (or pets) are tucked up for the night and you’re ready to indulge in a little wine and cheese.
You’ve got a few half-eaten chunks of god-knows-what entombed in dog-eared plastic wrappers that you’re planning to rescue from the depths of the fridge. And there’s a nice bottle of something that got left at your place on Saturday night.
Generally, it’s hard to have a bad wine and cheese experience. Quite frankly, some days I’d be prepared to sprinkle a few herbs and top and declare the whole thing a complete meal.
But if you’re going to indulge, and you want to do it “right” then here’s our top five tips for fabulous wine and cheese pairings.
1. Shun red. Go white.
Gasp! You mean, not the Shiraz? Or the Cab Sav? Well, actually…no. It’s weird, I know, but white wines do tend to go better with cheese. The tannins in red wine become harsh and bitter when combined with creamy foods like cheese, while the lively acids in white wines cut through the creaminess, and bring a brightness to the palate, making them a better match all round.
Right now we’re loving… See Saw Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2011 $18.00, with Tasmanian Red Square Washed Rind
2. But you want red? Okay, lighten up.
If it must be red (and we DO understand, we love it too) then find a red that’s really low on the tannins. Pinot Noirs are a great bet (aren’t they always?), as are Sangiovese, Grenache, Gamay or if you want an international choice, pick a young French Beaujolais (which is made from the Gamay grape).
For everyday cheese and wine love we keep turning to… De Bortoli Windy Peak Pinot Noir $14.00 with Margaret River Cheddar and Jatz.
3. Think pink
If you’re about to devour a fresh, or semi-aged goats cheese, or a salty fetta, then now’s the time to pour the Rosé. It’s often neglected as a wine to serve with cheese, but it’s brilliant with so many options – including a mellow, nutty Gruyere or other Swiss style semi-hard cheese.
We’re pinking it up with… Dominique Portet Fontaine Rosé (Yarra Valley) $20 with Ash Coated Chevre & Baguette
4. Go ahead and have the Shiraz.
If that’s what you want, then have it! We’re all for breaking those silly rules anyway, and it’s hard to have a bad wine and cheese moment. But if you do, go for a fruity, soft Shiraz, or for one that’s been well aged and had its tannins soften. Or match it with a hard, salty cheese, like a sheep’s milk Pecorino or Manchego.
5. Hey sweets, why so blue?
If there’s one thing most wine buffs agree upon it’s the perfect matching of sweet wines with blue cheese. Whether it be the classic combo of Stilton and Port, or a more modern pairing of Moscato with King Island Blue and Fresh Pears, you can play around with this until the….ahem…dairy cows come home, and always end up with a winning formula.
Our current perfect match… Stella Bella Pink Muscat $19.00 with Byron Bay Blue from the Bangalow Cheese Company
What’s your favourite wine and cheese pairing?