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wine and cheeses

mochikpl Feb 2, 2009 01:02 PM

i'm not too educated when it comes to cheese. i would like to be though. i am planning on preparing a cheese and wine platter at home for 2 people. since it's for 2 people i would not like to down more than a bottle of wine. i was wondering if anyone can help give any suggestions to a few cheeses that would work together with just one bottle of wine either red or white. thank you very much.

  1. mochikpl Feb 3, 2009 04:36 PM

    o wow you guys are so knowledgeable and helpful. i really appreciate this. i like the country idea. it would make things so much easier. i'm going to take all you guys have given and do a little bit of research so i wont be so clueless. mmmm i'm so excited. i've never been a big fan a cheese but this sounds so much more fun. thank you very much!!

    1. SteveTimko Feb 3, 2009 09:18 AM

      Can't go wrong with a good Gouda.
      One you haven't mentioned is a Basque goat's milk cheese. It would go with a wide variety of more acidic whites.

      1. Caralien Feb 3, 2009 07:15 AM

        Considering what everyone else has posted, why not do a country-specific tasting, both for the wines and cheeses?

        Start with a country, and a wine, then find the cheeses.

        Spanish example:
        Marques de Caceres (recent vintage or a gran reserva) with Manchego, drunken goat, Mahon (my favourite), Cabrales (blue)...add in some chorizo and jamon, some olives with a touch of orange rind, and some good bread. Add in tortilla (Spanish onion-omelette), or not, and you have a meal. Some marcona almonds, slices of apple, and a drizzle of honey. Maybe some quince jelly. If you can find it, a half-bottle of both red and white from the country would work too.
        (everything but the half bottles I know you can find at Wegman's)

        I usually limit tastings to country/regions or type of cheese or wines (cheddars, soft goats, blues, wines from same region and vintage, etc.). Otherwise, it can get complicated pairing wise.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Caralien
          Bill Hunt Feb 3, 2009 05:29 PM

          That is a very good idea. One usually finds that the wines and cheeses of a region are often perfect fits.


        2. carswell Feb 2, 2009 09:25 PM

          It's hard to give specific reccos without knowing what's available to you. If your cheesemonger is trustworthy, put yourself in his or her hands.

          Since you're new to cheese, your best bet might be to choose cheeses in three to five different styles to see which you like. For example: a soft bloomy-rind cheese (like Brie or Camembert); a goat milk cheese (various French chèvres, Laura Chenel or Capriole from the US, etc.); a hard cheese (Manchego, Gruyère, aged Cheddar, etc.); a pungent washed-rind cheese (Maroilles, French Munster, Tallegio, etc.); and a blue (Stilton, Roquefort, Bleu d'Auvergne, Maytag, Gorgonzola, etc.).

          As for wine, a dry white is the closest thing to a passe-partout. A Chardonnay from southern Burgundy (Mâcon, Pouilly-Fuissé, Beaujolais blanc, etc.) would be my first pick. That said, I wouldn't expect it to sing with every cheese. If you have access to half bottles, a half of dry white and a half of another wine (a different dry white like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Gewurztraminer, a sweet white, a rich red like a Merlot, or maybe a ruby or LBV port) could be the basis for a fun food and wine-matching experiment.

          2 Replies
          1. re: carswell
            Bill Hunt Feb 3, 2009 05:28 PM

            Along with Carswell's points, a couple of Vacu-Vins, or similar, can *help* preserve open bottles of both whites and reds. Just pump them, and place them in the 'fridge, until the next day. Half-bottles are usually a better choice, should they be available with an adequate selection.

            Enjoy, and please share what you served and what you liked.


            1. re: Bill Hunt
              ibstatguy Feb 3, 2009 05:40 PM

              to that end, check out the selection at halfwitwines.com

          2. mochikpl Feb 2, 2009 06:02 PM

            i'm actually pretty clueless when it comes to cheeses. i've only had mozzarella, gouda, swiss, american which i dont like, and provolone. i prefer white over red so that works out well. should i go for a more dry white than sweet? or sweet instead with the three cheeses you recommended? also what's considered a light blue cheese?
            sorry with all the questions .. it's just the area i'm currently in doesn't have a cheese shop i can go to. the closest i have is a wegmans and i would like some kind of knowledge when i ask the guy behind the counter.

            thank you both for your suggestions!

            1. m
              Maximilien Feb 2, 2009 03:27 PM

              agreed with the above answer; white is a good start.

              I'd go for a white from Jura (but it might be too "weird" or typical for uninitiated) and get a good Comté cheese.

              With that, a good brie and a blue cheese ( get a "light" one)

              3 cheeses is enough, compliment with some nuts, some honey or other "sweets", you could also add some good "charcuterie".

              1. SteveTimko Feb 2, 2009 01:33 PM

                Rule of thumb is that white wine generally goes better with cheeses than red.
                It's usually easier to decide what cheese you like or what wine you like and then match the other based on your preference.

                4 Replies
                1. re: SteveTimko
                  Bill Hunt Feb 2, 2009 06:32 PM

                  I strongly agree. A nice FR Chard would go well with a half-dozen crearmy cheeses.

                  If one wishes to go with a red, a Rioja with some harder cheeses, especially from Spain, would be nice, as well. Manchego, dry-aged jack, etc., can be great. I normally think hard-cheeses with most reds.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                    bclevy Feb 2, 2009 08:31 PM

                    While it is perhaps true whites go better with Brie, there are a lot
                    of soft French cheeses which pair better with reds, such as:
                    Langres, Livarot, Pont-Leveque, Maroilles, Munster. For all of these
                    a merlot or perhaps a pinot noir would do better than a white.

                    1. re: bclevy
                      carswell Feb 2, 2009 08:47 PM

                      «For all of these a merlot or perhaps a pinot noir would do better than a white.»

                      Perhaps to your palate but it's hardly a universal truth. I'd never pair any of them with a red. And, not that it or any other guide is the last word, but the generally reliable Encycolpédie des Fromages (among others) mostly agrees:
                      - Langres: marc de Champagne
                      - Livarot: Tokay, Pinot Gris d'Alsace vendanges tardives, Pomerol jeune
                      - Maroilles: Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc
                      - Munster: Gewurztraminer, Tokay, Pinot Gris d'Alsace
                      - Pont-L'Évêque: Condrieu, cidre

                  2. re: SteveTimko
                    ibstatguy Feb 3, 2009 09:27 AM

                    Steve - while that might be generally true, in my personal experience, I've found pinot noir (gosh that's a broad generalization!) goes exceptionally well with cheeses like brillat savarin.

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