Cheese tasting

For a simple, sophisticated party, pair artisan cheeses with wine

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Serve more white wines with cheese. Light, with a crispness that cleanses the palate after rich cheeses, they're often a better choice than reds.

Look for acidity in wines ― it's often an asset. Good choices include Sauvignon Blancs, sparkling wines, and dry Rieslings.

Lean toward richly fruity reds. They work well with cheese's salty flavors. Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, and Zinfandels are good bets.

Try different goat cheeses with wine. Overall, they are surprisingly versatile together. Goat cheeses offered the largest number of potential matches in our tasting. The toughest cheeses to pair (goat or otherwise) are earthy and pungent, flavors that can strip down a wine.

Avoid heavily oaked wines, such as super-oaky California Chardonnays. Their buttery richness can be overwhelming with similar qualities in the cheese.

Steer clear of excessively tannic reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignons. Salt and tannin are a train wreck in the mouth, so tannic reds don't work well with most cheeses.

Consider the effect of added flavorings on the wine match. If a cheese is coated in black pepper or herbs, for instance, that can throw off your pairing, so take the characteristics of any flavorings into account when choosing wines. ― Karen MacNeil-Fife


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