Whether you are hosting a soiree or a casual get-together this holiday, your mission is to provide your guests with warm hospitality, lively conversation and a delectable spread of food and drink. Serving a sumptuous gourmet cheese course is perfect as a starter or centerpiece of the meal. Not only is the preparation simple (no cooking!) but more importantly, your guests will enjoy discovering and savoring new favorites. As a wine lover, you want to impress with the right pairings but the overwhelming selections of wine and cheese can make your head spin. Relax. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing the right combinations of cheese and wine. Just keep in mind a few simple considerations.
A cheese course is about observing and enjoying contrasting and complementary flavors. For a foolproof gourmet cheese course, select 3 – 5 cheeses that vary in texture and flavor. Add some crusty bread, fresh or dried fruit, olives and nuts and voila! Take a look at our top 5 seasonal wine and cheese pairings for easy yet elegant entertaining.
Champagne and Bloomy Cheese
Pop the cork and pour the bubbly when serving bloomy cheeses such as Brie, Pierre Robert, Brillat Savarin and Camembert. The carbonation and yeasty qualities of Champagne cleanse the palate of the rich taste and texture of these creamy cheeses.
Rioja and Drunken Goat Cheese
Always the hit of the party, Murcia al Vino (aka Drunken Goat) is a Spanish goat cheese marinated in red wine. Its purple rind contrasts beautifully with the snowy white paste. Guests always gravitate to Drunken Goat and are eager to give it a try. Pair it with a spicy and juicy red Rioja and yours will be a party to remember.
Sauvignon Blanc and Aged Goat Cheese
Aged goat cheese can be tangy, sweet and earthy - in a word, complex. Certainly one of the most versatile wines that marry well with a variety of gourmet cheese, Sauvignon Blanc has the body and depth to handle aged goat cheese and the layers of flavors.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Robust Cheese
When it's cold outside and nothing is more warming than a glass of hearty red wine. Be sure to match the intensity with a gourmet cheese that's aged for bold flavor such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Piave and mature Gouda.
Port and Blue Cheese
It's time to dust off those tiny little cordial glasses and put them to good use. With flavors of honeyed dried fruit and a nutty finish, Tawny Port is smooth and sweet. It tames the power of blue cheese such as Gorgonzola, Stilton and Roquefort for the perfect study in contrasts. Try it for dessert!