You have some folks coming over for wine Wednesday and you are looking to put on a bit of a spread. Some nice salami and some cheeses. Salami and cured meats is easy. Visit our friends at Alle Pia. A great selection of cured meat products to go with your favorite wine and any cheese. But what type of cheeses should you get to go with the wine? Well put the can of cheese wiz back on the shelf as there are a lot of choices, and of course that is the biggest part of the problem. What to choose? How do you figure out what to get without being a cheese ponce and getting the most off the wall cheeses that, well, most wont like very much. With the overwhelming number of cheeses available, lets keep it simple, and limit the choices to a grouping of somewhat mainstream options and some advice on how to make the proper pairings..
If you are having a lot of different kinds of wine, the firmer, sharper cheeses tend to work better with everything. Soft cheeses are little harder to match with wine but can be worth the effort. A good example would be a regular Brie. This will go well with a lot of white wines. Good solid bets for a wine tasting are three or five year aged cheddar, a cave-aged gruyère or other mountain-style cheese.
Usually one drinks red wine with hard cheese, and white wine with soft cheeses but that’s just a rule of thumb. Wine and cheese combinations, much like all other aspects of wine, are a purely personal decision. That said, there are some combinations that are naturally more pleasing to the vast majority, and a good source of that information is the place you purchase the wine or better yet, where you purchase the cheese. There you can taste the suggested cheese and at least make a somewhat taste assisted guess. Better yet find a cheese shop that has someone on staff that is a Sommelier, or at least has a vast experience with wine and cheese pairings as we did.
The good folks at Star Market in Salinas have you covered. We are sure there are a couple of others in the area but that's who has helped us out so far. We recently were directed to a lovely pairing for a citrus style Chardonnay. A yummy ossau iraty sheep cheese that was a big hit with the group.
Enjoy the possibilities and be a bit adventurous, because with a little help it can be a situation where the sum of the parts exceeds the whole (or something like that).
Happy Tasting Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala