National Wine and Cheese Day is Saturday, July 25 so the cheese state – i.e. Wisconsin, the State of Cheese™ – is sharing tips from experts to help you avoid the most common pairing blunders.
“Even though pretty much every day is National Wine and Cheese Day in my house, I’m thrilled to be shining the spotlight on Wisconsin cheese on Saturday, the official day,” says Laura Werlin, a James Beard award-winning author. “After all, what better way to celebrate than with cheeses from the state of cheese? With so many cheese varieties to choose from, that means I can open up my wine fridge, choose almost any wine, and know I’ll find a great match.”
Avoid these three classic mistakes and you’ll be on your way to wine and cheese pairing bliss:
- Pairing Red Wine with Soft Cheese
Red wine typically has more tannins and low acidity which can cause soft cheeses to taste chalky. Instead, reach for an equally full-bodied, flavorful cheese such as an aged cheddar if you must drink a red wine. The tannins act as a palate cleanser, making each bite and sip just as delicious as the last.
- Mismatching Intensity and Flavors
The pairing rule of “like with like” rings true when pairing wine and cheese. In general, white wines pair best with lighter, milder cheeses. This allows the fresh, often fruity notes of the white wine to enhance the sweet creaminess of the cheese.
Werlin suggests pairing most cheeses with white wines. An unoaked Chardonnay pairs well with an alpine-style, butterkase or swiss cheese while Riesling goes with asiago or parmesan, and Sauvignon Blanc with cheddar or gouda.
- Playing It Safe
Pairing wine and cheese is all about finding new flavor combinations and having fun. “Try a Wisconsin original cheese, such as Sartori’s Merlot BellaVitano with Fantesca King Richards Reserve Pinot Noir 2018 and Crissante Barolo 2014,” says DLynn Proctor, Director at Fantesca Estate and Winery. “The style, the palate, the texture is simply amazing.”
Cheese should take you on an adventure of taste and texture. Get out of your comfort zone by trying something unique like Roelli’s Red Rock, a bright orange cheddar blue combination. Bubbles are very forgiving, so a sparkling wine is always a good choice for cheese wildcards.
Want another unique idea? Grab some bubbly and pair it with a blue cheese for an unexpected dessert pairing after dinner. The crisp carbonation of the sparkling wine will cut the creaminess of the bold, blue cheese.
Wisconsinites love wine pairings almost as much as cheese, and any wine certainly loves Wisconsin cheeses. That’s because Wisconsin artisan cheesemakers have been making cheese for more than 175 years, before Wisconsin was even a state. All that time spent mastering old world traditions and developing new innovations makes Wisconsin the State of Cheese™. More info needed? Head to full directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping.