vin et fromage

Wine / Cheese (& Bread) Pairing

In all countries of the world, good food and drink is often a story of fermentation and yeast. With wine, cheese and bread, France is a good example, and is doing quite well in these areas. However, even if France excels, finding the right harmony between these three everyday foods is not always natural. This article is a good way to know and / or review the basics of a wine & cheese pairing, and without forgetting bread!

The aromas families in cheese

Before doing a wine & cheese pairing, it’s better to know the families of aromas in the cheese. For those of wine, check our article “Aromas and tastes in wine“.

  • Lactic aromas: Yogurt, melted butter, sour cream, tangy …
  • Plant aromas: Grass, humus, celery, garlic, onion …
  • Floral aromas: Honey, rose, violet …
  • Fruity aromas: Walnut, hazelnut, chestnut, almond, orange, lemon, dried fruit, green apple, olive oil …
  • Roasted aromas: Smoked, coffee, brioche …
  • Animal aromas: Leather, stable, manure …
  • Spicy aromas: Pepper, mint, nutmeg, cloves …

Wine & cheese pairing

A simple way and to be sure not to make a mistake when pairing wine & cheese, is to recognize the cheese family, then to choose the good wine accordingly. This is why we are going to describe the 7 families of cheeses, then the suitable wine.

– Fresh cheeses:

These are cheeses that are neither fermented nor matured. These are the only cheeses that are tasted after their manufacture. They are soft with a nice acidity and a milky side.

Example of cheese: Mozzarella, Ricotta, …

  • Wine pairing:
    For a salty pairing, you need a simple, lively and fruity white wine (Loire).
    For a sweet accord, you need a slightly sweet white wine.

– Soft cheeses with a bloomy rind:

The rind is noble mold that grows during a refining period of 2 to 6 weeks. It is this mold that gives cheese its characteristic taste.

Example of cheese: Camembert, Brie, …

  • Wine pairing:
    You need a lively white wine made from Chardonnay, or a dry sparkling white wine depending on the creamy character of the cheese.If you want to drink with red wine, you have to choose a supple and light one but above all not tannic and powerful. The image of the French with his Camembert and his bottle of red remains anchored, yet red wines are often a very bad pairing with cheese. The tannins give a ferrous and unpleasant side on the palate.

Soft cheeses with a washed rind:

These are cheeses with a rind of yellow and orange color. They are refined for several months, and they are washed with salt water and red ferments (bacteria). They are often made by monks, and their taste is finer than the smell.

Example of cheese: Maroilles, Mont d’or, …

  • Wine pairing:
    You need a powerful white wine, aromatic but with good acidity. You can also choose wines with a little residual sugar (Gewurztraminer, Jurançon, Mont louis).

– Blue cheese :

Unlike other cheeses, mold growth occurs from the inside out. Their ripening lasts from 3 months to 1 year. There are two main categories:
-Strong blue (Roquefort, Bleu d’Auvergne)
-Soft blue (Gorgonzola)

  • Wine pairing:
    For this family of cheese, you need a natural sweet red wine for the strongest, white for the less strong, or a dry red wine from the south of France, powerful and fruity.

– Uncooked pressed cheeses:

These are cheeses that are pressed while draining, but do not heat so their dough is not cooked. There is a ripening from 2 weeks to several years.

Example of cheese: Tomme de Savoie, Reblochon, Mimolette

  • Wine pairing:
    Slightly spicy red wines (Syrah, Fronton, Gaillac) or a Gamay for the fruity side, are a good pairing. For the most mature cheeses, you can choose a fatty and aromatic white wine.

– Cooked pressed cheese:

These are cheeses undergoing intense draining, and heating between 52 and 55 ° for 30 to 60 minutes.

Example of cheese: Comté, Gruyère, Emmental, Beaufort

  • Wine pairing:
    Choose a fatty white wine, with a little aging in wood (hazelnut and toasted). Example: a Chardonnay from Burgundy.
    With an old Comté, you need a yellow wine or veil. The oxidative match with the dry fruit notes of the cheese.

– Goat cheese:

Goats were introduced to France in the 8th century by the Arabs. There are many varieties of goat cheese.

  • Wine pairing:
    For fresh cheeses, you need a lively and fruity wine (Example: Sauvignon).
    For semi-mature or creamy cheeses, a slightly rounder wine is needed.
    For very mature cheeses, more aromatic and sunny wines are needed.
    For southern goat cheeses, you need an aromatic and warm white wine (Clairette, Vermentino, etc.).

Bread & Cheese pairing

Let’s not forget the bread! Like wine, there are more suitable breads with certain cheeses.

  • A Baguette will be perfect for soft flowery cheeses.

  • A “campagne” bread will be more suitable for cooked pressed cheeses.

  • Wholemeal breads will be very good with soft cheeses and washed rinds.

  • A rye bread will go well with uncooked pressed cheeses.

  • A sweet bread will be perfect for blue cheese.

  • A nut bread will be a perfect match with Comté.

  • And cereal breads will be more suitable with Maroilles and strong cheeses.