Guidelines

  • When selecting the pairing, first decide which side of the table is taking the lead: the wine or the cheese? Then, you'll know whether you are choosing the cheese to complement the wine or the wine to complement the cheese.
     
  • It's not a black and white world. The art of wine and cheese pairing is largely scientific - and subjective - so don't feel constrained by "rules" you've heard. If you want to pair a blue cheese with red wine, go for it! You might be surprised just as much by how often this pairing works as not.  
     
  • That said, aim for balance in your pairing, putting softer wines with mild cheeses and strong wines with strong cheeses. 
     
  • In general, fruitier wines pair easier with cheeses. For whites, try a Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Gewurztraminer. With red, aim for Zinfindel or fruity Syrahs. 
     
  • Start your tasting with the mild wines and cheeses, progressing to the stronger pairings at the end. Mild flavors often equate with a younger wine and cheese, so when in doubt, go by age.
     
  • Before tasting your wines and cheeses together, taste them first separately so that you can get an idea on their individual characteristics. When you're ready to try them together, taste them with a wine-cheese-wine pattern. First, taste the wine to cleanse the palate. Then, take a small bite of cheese and mash it around your mouth with your tongue. Finally, add a splash of wine on top the cheese, giving you a taste of the intersection of the two together.
     
 

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