For hundreds of years, wine drinkers have been enjoying wine with cheese. The process of pairing the perfect wine with the perfect cheese has become an art that continues to evolve as wine and cheese experts continue to create new combinations.
The Early Pairings
The earliest pairings involve wine and cheese choices from similar regions. The grapes and cows that produce the wine and cheese were often grown and raised on the same farms, so they offer some flavor similarities. For example, French Beaujolais is often paired with Brie, while Italian Chiantis is often paired with asiago cheeses.
The Science Behind Wine and Cheese
Scientifically, there are several reasons why wine and cheese taste so good together. Wine offers an astringent flavoring in the mouth and the fat from cheese cleans the palate for the next flavor or another sip of wine. Wine and cheese have opposite flavor profiles, making them a pleasant combination – almost like opposite colors on a color wheel. Consider how salty and sweet go so well together, it’s the same type of concept for wine and cheese – but with acid and fat.
Another scientific reason that people appreciate wine and cheese together comes from the experience of drinking a sip of wine then eating a piece of cheese. The cheese actually improves the wine-drinking experience. Researchers have looked at the sensations involved in drinking wine, and when subjects combined wine and cheese, the wine-drinking sensations improved.
The science behind this study involves cheese coating the taste receptors. Wines with polyphenols can dry out the mouth, but not if you are eating cheese while you drink wine. Red wine tends to have more polyphenol, which is why so many people eat cheese while drinking it. Cheese also reduces the sourness that overwhelms some wines. So, by eating cheese while drinking wine, you’ll be able to taste the notes and flavors over the sour, dry feeling you might get from some bottles. Chewing on your cheese activates your saliva which also helps reduce the dryness and polyphenols.
If you are looking for suggestions on wine and cheese pairings, consider attending a seminar at your local winery or gourmet food store. Otherwise, sommelier and cheese experts have some simple recommendations. They include
- Pair intense cheese with intensely flavored wines
- Look for wines and cheeses with similar addresses.
- Red wines and aged cheese compliment each other.
- Sweet wines and stinky, veined cheeses taste great together.
- Bubbly goes well with creamy cheeses.
- Nutty cheeses like Swiss, Gruyere, and Gouda go with any wine.
Serving Cheese with Traditional Cheese Accessories
Wine and cheese delight the senses. But to fully appreciate the experience, it is important to eat cheese with beautiful tools and to drink wine out of lovely stemware. At wine-n-gear, we offer a beautiful collection of cheeseware, including a wooden cheese board and a four-piece cheese knife set with wooden handles. We also offer a full cheese board set as well as steel cheese knives, a friendly cheese knife set, and a cheese knife set complete with a corkscrew.
We can custom print the handles and cheese boards, and we offer them in numbers that help tasting rooms and cheese shops sell them to their customers. They make great gifts and point-of-sale items at gourmet shops and wineries. If you have any questions about our cheeseware, feel free to contact us at wine-n-gear. Our customer service representatives can help you choose the set that best meets your needs.