How to pair wine and cheese 9-13-2023

You know wine and cheese were made for each other. You also know not all wine pairs with all cheese. What is a person to do?

Relax. Most wine you purchase at your store will pair with most cheese you purchase at your store. Perfect pairing? Maybe not. But an abomination unto the Lord? No.

Remember: it is better to pair wine with the diner than wine with the dinner. If you like cheese X and wine Y, it is likely to be a good pairing no matter what “experts” opine. But, if you want guidance, here goes:

• Pick one star, either the wine or the cheese. In the wine-food-cheese pairing arena, when you have two or more elements competing for attention you have a food fight, not a congenial, delicious experience.

• If your are into cheese, go with subtle whites or lighter-bodied reds.

• If you are into wines, go with mild-to-medium cheeses that will not strive to overpower your wine.

• Sparkling wines and light, acidic wines pair with almost everything. Bubbly always lifts the mood.

• What grows together goes together. Italian wine—Italian cheese. Spanish wine—Spanish cheese. You get the idea. This also is true for food, BTW.

• Match intensity of the wine with intensity of the cheese. Brie, soft goat cheese, emmental, cream havarti will not hang well with hearty reds. Long-aged cheddars, stinky cheese, gorgonzola, stilton will maul your delicate Provence rosé.

• Oaked, low acid, high alcohol, tannic wines are hard to pair. Sip your bombastic Napa cab by itself, maybe with some neutral crackers. Or your grilled ribeye. Eschew cheese.

Tasting notes

• Fresh Vine Sauvignon Blanc, California 2021: Clean, fresh, strong emphasis on low calorie, low sugar, low carb. Very light on the palate; succeeds in delivering credible sauv blanc experience. $15-18 Link to my review

• Château Mourgues du Grès Galets Dorés Costières de Nîmes 2022: Fresh, citrus-flavorful, well-made biodynamic wine from southern Rhône. Opulent, luscious. $16-18 Link to my review

• Château La Rame, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont 2021: Lilting caresses on the palate. Delicate, flutteringly bashful fruit. Clean, refreshing with sharply defined fruits is this effort’s calling card. $21-29 Link to my review

• Rutherford Hill Rosé of Merlot, Napa Valley Appellation 2021: Light, crisp, flavorful expression of free run merlot. If you are a merlot fan—you should be—this is delightful. $22 Link to my review

• Lake Sonoma Winery Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2020: Vivid-fruit pour delivers some tartness without overbearing, confected fruit you can encounter with lower-shelf pinots. $26-30 Link to my review

Last round: After 24 hours, three scientists got bored watching the Earth spin. So they called it a day. Wine time.