Bring a touch a class to your Holiday gathering this year by serving up a wine and cheese platter. Pairing select wines with specific cheeses and fruits to create complementary flavor profiles can add a bit of sophistication to any party and learning to truly coordinate these tempting culinary duo’s like a pro will impress your guests for years to come.
Late Harvest Vidal & Brie or Roquefort – Late harvest Vidals are a thick, sweet glass of wine, with strong flavors. They pair well with creamy and salty cheeses, like a nice brie or Roquefort. Serve along with a lightly salted cracker or spread on a hard biscuit for an extremely classy appetizer.
Riesling Icewine & Blue Cheese – Much like the Vidal, Icewines are very sweet, full-flavored wines, and as such, they go well with a strongly flavored cheese. The powerful taste and aroma of blue cheese will bring out the full depth of flavor of the Icewine. Serving this selection along with fruit also makes for an excellent light dessert.
Champagne & Mild Cheddars – Always a tradition around the Holiday season, there are boundless varieties of Champagne on the market. The type of cheese that you pair it with will depend greatly on the specific variety of Champagne served, but for the holidays, where a sharp, bright Champagne is traditional, hard cheeses are best. A mild English cheddar, minimally aged, will greatly enhance the natural flavors of the wine.
Pino Noir & Camembert – Pino Noir is a dark wine, with a distinct flavor that is considered to be fruit forward. A light, creamy cheese makes for a good pairing, as it will not overwhelm the subtle hints of flavor present in the wine. Camembert is a soft, spreadable cow cheese with a mild flavor that is best served on a mild cracker to add a light crunch.
Zinfandel & Jarlsberg – Zinfandel wines are well known for their smooth taste and strong notes of citrus and anise, giving them an excellent balance of bitter and sweet flavorings. This balance pairs nicely with the buttery notes of Jarlsberg and the sweet nut flavoring of the cheese will bring out the full range of the wine’s flavor. For a bit of a twist, try pairing your Jarlsberg with a Rose Zinfandel, rather than the more traditional red. This will lead to a sweeter palate better suited to an after dinner treat than an appetizer.