Delectable Duos

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The Wine and Cheese Pairings to Bring to Your Holiday Table

There will undoubtedly be many festive gatherings on your social calendar in the coming months—from office holiday parties and family dinners to impromptu nights huddled around the kitchen island with friends. If you’ve been charged with meal planning for any or all of those events, we’ve taken the stress and guesswork out of it for you.

The brilliant team at Everyday Sommelier walked us through wine pairing guidelines for four base cheeses, with wine at varying price points to meet any budget. Keep this reference guide—meticulously created by the professionals who know wine the best—handy as you plan your holiday parties this season.


The Cheese

Chevre
“Chevre is a fresh goat’s milk cheese. This treat is tart, tangy, and bright with a smooth, creamy texture. The longer goat cheese ages, the more robust the flavors become and will deepen to a golden yellow color.”

The Wine

Sauvignon Blanc
“This varietal can be a chameleon in the bottle depending on where the grapes are grown and how the winemaker chooses to use them. We suggest an old-world Sauvignon Blanc that boasts refreshing citrus and balanced minerality.

The acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc will cut through the thickness of the goat cheese and bring out the nutty flavors. While many goat cheeses come smoked or flavored, we recommend plain for the best pairing.”

May We Suggest

$: Château De Fontenille Grand Bordeaux, Entre-deux-Mers France
Varietal: 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sauvignon Gris, 20% Semillon, 20% Muscadelle
Fermentation: Stainless steel with sur-lie aging for 4 months
Tasting Notes: Acidity and freshness coupled with exotic fruits and citrus flavors

$$: Cantina Kellerei Tramin, Alto Adige Italy
Varietal: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Fermentation: Stainless steel
Tasting Notes: Racy aromas of grapefruit, melon, and fresh cut grass in addition to classic notes of gooseberry.

$$$: Patient Cottat Sancerre, Loire France
Varietal: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Fermentation: Stainless steel with maturation on fine lees
Tasting Notes: Prevailing aromas of acacia blossoms with a muscat-like nose of passion fruit. Full and fat, very well balanced with a touch of honey on the finish.


The Cheese

Pecorino Romano
“Hard, salty Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. Pecorino means “ovine” or “from sheep” in Italian. This cheese dates to Roman times when it was a common staple of the soldier’s diet.”

The Wine

Sangiovese
“The name originally translates as ‘Blood of Jupiter,’ (roman king of the gods). Whether we are talking about Brunello, Chianti, or Montepulciano, the main grape is Sangiovese. It is one of the most common varietals planted in Italy. It’s first mentioned in the mid eighteenth century and gained popularity in the 1900’s.

This wine and cheese pairing is a classic representation of ‘what grows together, goes together’. The salty and umami flavors of the Pecorino balance the medium tannins of the wine and bring out the light herbal flavors. Make sure to pair your Sangiovese with something higher in fat to bond with the acid and if there’s tomato in your dish, you might find the fruitier components of the wine come out to play.”

May We Suggest

$: Bibi Graetz Casamatta (Crazy House), Tuscany Italy
Varietal: 100% Sangiovese
Fermentation: Vineyard blending, stainless steel
Tasting Notes: Cherry and raspberry with nice acidity. Medium body with low tannins and a vibrant aftertaste.

$$: Poggio Rubino La Sorgente, Rosso Di Montalcino Italy
Varietal: 100% Sangiovese
Fermentation: Long maceration with pump over, short passage through oak barrels. Bottle aging.
Tasting Notes: Small red fruit, berry, and cherry. Beautiful fruit expression which lingers in the aftertaste. Round and balanced tannins.

$$$: Andrea Cortonesi Azienda Uccelliera, Brunello di Montalcino Italy
Varietal: 100% Sangiovese
Fermentation: 8 months in oak barrels
Tasting Notes: Aromas of tart cherry, red currant,
and almond. Firm and lively on the palate with
present acidity and well-structured tannins.


The Cheese

Aged Cheddar
“Pasteurized, grass-fed cow’s milk that ages for at least one year to 10 years and beyond. During the aging process, lactic acid combining with the calcium may create small, desirable crystals to form in some styles. Cheddar will change flavor as the months pass, becoming increasingly sharp and tangy.”

The Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon
“This love child of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world’s most popular varietals, with over 200 million hectoliters consumed a year. The bold tannins, bramble fruit, and integrated depth of Cabernet Sauvignon will stand up to even the biggest flavor combinations.

Wines with a long finish, desire cheeses that are complex. Salt tends to exaggerate tannins, so the lack of brine on the aged cheddar is perfect. We have chosen three Napa cabs to pair with a sharp cheddar due to the full fruit flavor, hint of graphite, and the balanced smooth vanilla of the new world oak.”

May We Suggest

$: Noah River Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa California
Tasting Notes: Complex nose brimming with bramble berry, rhubarb pie and orange peel. Bright cassis, and plum with hints of tobacco on the finish.

$$: Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa California
Varietal: Predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, small percentage of other red Bordeaux grapes
Tasting Notes: Balanced, medium body that offers a lot of red and black currant. Traditional elegance of Bordeaux flavors of cedar pencil, tobacco leaf and loamy soil.

$$$: Staglin Family Vineyard, Salus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa California
Varietal: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot
Tasting Notes: Nose is driven by dark fruits and earthy, herbaceous undertones. Palate of crystalline and concentrated ripe cherries, peppercorns, cocoa nibs, and a touch of espresso.


The Cheese

Blue Stilton
“Blue Stilton is considered ‘The King of Cheeses.’ It’s the same as White Stilton, but with cultivated blue mold veins. Creamy and pungent with a subtle sweetness. True Stilton is protected by a certification and designation and is only made in three counties in England: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Leicestershire

The Wine

Port
“A sweet, fortified (addition of distilled spirits) wine from Portugal. Recommended serving size is 3 ounces. Port is a very sweet and rich after dinner digestif. It was created to preserve red wine for the journey between vineyards in the Douro valley, ending in a town called Porto. Tawny Port, considered the whiskey of the Port world, is aged in wooden casks, and has a deep caramel, chocolate, nutty flavor.

The rule of thumb for this pairing is: The smellier the cheese, the sweeter the wine. The sweetness of the wine balances the pungent saltiness of the creamy blue cheese. In traditional English dinner customs, this would be served as the capstone to the meal. Drizzle with honey or add accompanying dried fruits.”

May We Suggest

$: Noval Black Reserve
Varietal: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cão, Sezão
Fermentation: 2-3 years in wooden and stainless-steel vats.
Tasting Notes: Elegant and intense, displaying notes of wild fruits and nuances of balsamic and dark chocolate.

$$: Noval 10 Year Tawny Porto
Varietal: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Cão, Sezão, Tinta Roriz
Fermentation: Blend of old Ports from different vintages, matured in oak casks for an average of 10 years.
Tasting Notes: Complex aromas, young and lively fruits accompanied by hazelnut. Rich and smooth on the palate.

$$$: Maynard’s 30-year aged Porto
Varietal: Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cão, Tinta Barroca
Fermentation: Stainless steel fermentation and at least thirty years in-bottle aging.
Tasting Notes: Deep amber and copper hues, aromas of hazelnut and vanilla. Smooth as silk with flavors of honey, chocolate, and toffee.

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