Sometimes the most basic combinations are by far the best. Have you ever had a bad peanut butter and jelly sandwich? That salty peanut butter that melts in your mouth balanced by the sweet and juicy fruit of the jelly – every taste bud in your mouth gets a little action. The same rules apply to wine. Nothing highlights the personality and character of a wine like a well matched cheese.
With Artisanal and Murray’s Cheeses at our doorstep - we New Yorkers have a gastronomical obligation to seek out the creamiest, stinkiest and most complex cheeses available. You have to love a place with over 24 varieties of goat cheese. While selection of cheeses can get overwhelming (or is that just the smell of the Roquefort), there are some basic combinations of wine and cheese that are unforgettable.
Gothamist took a trip to Artisanal Cheeses and Winfield-Flynn, Ltd Wine and Spirits to try our hand at a little wine and cheese pairing…
Triple Crème and Sparkling wine: It’s hard not to feel fabulous when sipping champagne and indulging in a triple crème cheese. The little bubbles and fruit in a sparkling wine will cut through the butteriness of the cheese and accent its creamy texture.
Cheese recommendation: Brillat Savarin (Cows Milk, soft, France)
Wine recommendation: Cava, Freixnet Bruit, $10.99
Goat Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre): The high acidity in goat cheese can make many wines seem flabby or bland. Sancerre, a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France has a great balance of acidity and a herbaceous quality to bring out the earthiness of the cheese.
Cheese recommendation: Cabecou Feuille (Goats milk, soft, France).
Wine recommendation: 2002 Cherrier & Fils Sancerre, $12.99
Parmigiano-Reggiano with Amarone: Hard cheeses with a little bite tend to pair well with red wines, and this combination is a great example of this. Amarone, a unique Italian wine, is made from semi-dried grapes which give the wine an intense long finish with a hint of bitterness. This wine will cut through the sharpness of Parmigiano-Reggiano and bring out the fig notes in the wine.
Cheese recommendation: Parmigiano-Reggiano (Cows milk, hard, Italy)
Wine recommendation: Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Serègo Alighieri Vaio Armaron 1999, $55
Stilton and Port: For blue cheese fans, pairing this slightly salty pungent cheese with a sweet fortified wine like port is a transcending experience. This combination is the peanut butter and jelly of wine and cheese.
Cheese recommendation: Stilton, Colston Basset (Cows Milk, blue, England)
Wine recommendation: Presidentia Porto LBV, 1998, $22.49
Wine and cheese tasting is ultimately a matter of personal taste, so experiment and see what you like best. The beautiful thing is you don’t have to be a chef or a wine expert to create unbelievable pairs – simplicity often tastes better.