To achieve the perfect wine and cheese pairing, all you need is to be willing to play with your imagination and put your senses into action, to make of each step, a pleasing experience.
When it comes to wine and cheese pairing, it is best to start with the most delicate flavors, and gradually increase the intensity to avoid sensory overload and to perceive the more subtle notes. When selecting cheese, the pairing should start with fresh, young and soft cheeses, and later move on to harder cheeses that have more complex aromas.
Below, we provide a 5-step experience of wines and cheese, which will delight your guests.
Paired wines and cheeses in 5 steps
First step: Mozzarella Bocconcini and Sauvignon Blanc
These “small bites” are an excellent choice for this first step. The small and spherical mozzarella servings that create bocconcini, can be prepared with cow or buffalo milk, or with a mixture of both. For a suitable pairing, the wine should be light, dry and vibrant. Bodega Garzón’s Sauvignon Blanc fits this description, a great option to combine the spongy texture and softness of bocconcini with a wine with good acidity.
Tip: Serve cherry tomatoes with basil leaves and a few drops of olive oil. One of the pairing principles states that “what grows together, goes together”, and the best way to accompany this Italian cheese is with fresh ingredients of the caprese salad.
Second step: Goat cheese and Albariño Reserva 2017
While preparing a tasting menu, it is important to know that not only flavors matter, but also textures, colors and raw materials. When selecting cheese, different options can be included, for example, goat or sheep cheese, or any other exotic cheese you may have access to. This diversity adds complexity to the pairing.
A wine with citric and mineral notes would pair splendidly with a fresh, soft and slightly acid cheese such as goat cheese. Following the previous principle, Uruguay produces goat cheeses of excellent quality that perfectly pair with Albariño, a variety that achieves a magnificent expression in Garzón’s terroir.
Tip: Combine the goat cheese tasting with slices of fresh grapes and fennel, sprinkled with subtle honey strings.
Third step: Emmental and Pinot Noir
Following the previous steps, we shall now venture and increase the intensity of flavors and aromas. Starting with red wines, we chose a round and velvety wine, with an acidity that works as a transition from the previously tasted white wines and the next red wines with character.
Regarding cheese, Emmental is a semi-hard cheese, originated in Switzerland. Its firm texture and intense flavor together with its high fat content require a medium-bodied wine, with a good balance between fruit, tannins and acidity. In this case, Pinot Noir tannins will facilitate the tasting.
When consumed together, both products mutually emphasize their organoleptic qualities. The acidity, light body and tannins of the wine go well with the cheese, highlighting its properties, without overshadowing them.
Tip: The Emmental has aromas and flavors reminiscent of nuts, so dried fruits are the perfect accompaniment to this step.
Fourth step: Manchego and Tannat Reserva 2016
For our fourth step we chose a pairing that includes another classic principle: the complementarity. In this case, the more complex the food, the more complex the wine. Manchego is a Spanish cheese, elaborated with sheep milk. Its fat content requires a tannic wine that refreshes the mouth, after the compact unctuousness of the cheese. Manchego cheese can be aged up to two years, and as a result, it has complex aromas, described as toasted almonds and roasted mutton.
A cheese with such potential could easily weaken the wine it pairs with, so now, we shall add character. Garzón Tannat Reserva is a full-bodied wine with a long finish, which has complex notes that go from red and black fruits to tobacco, spices and chocolate. Even though Manchego cheese and Uruguayan Tannat come from very distant places, it is worth discovering their best representations, to combine them and enjoy this superb pairing.
Tip: Accompany this step with small pieces of quince paste.
Fifth step: Blue Stilton and Albariño Single Vineyard 2017
During this journey of flavors, we have travelled through Italy, Switzerland and Spain, learning about their cheeses. We are now arriving to our final destination: United Kingdom.
Stilton is a cheese elaborated in the heart of England, in a very small area, comprised by only three counties. It is known as the “King of English Cheeses” for its exclusivity and particularities. This cheese is produced in two varieties: Blue and the lesser-known White. Among blue cheeses, the Blue Stilton is the most caloric, as it has the highest concentration of fat content. It contains blue veins radiating from the center. The Blue Stilton has an intense aroma and flavor, and a crumbly but creamy texture on the palate. Interestingly, in the past few years, Blue Shilton has become a highly successful ingredient in the finest patisseries of the gastronomic capitals of the world.
There are only a few wines that would not surrender in the face of the powerful and well-defined character of these types of cheeses. To highlight the minerality and earthy notes of Blue Stilton, we chose an Albariño Single Vineyard 2017, an excellent combination that includes impetuous and long aromas, the sweetness and high alcoholic content of Oporto that melts the strong consistency of this cheese. Your guests will want to repeat this stunning experience.