Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What a Cheesey Line!

Ah yes, cheese. My third favorite food group, just behind filet mignon and lasagna. I have been a cheese lover for quite some time, ranging from string cheese to 4 year old cave aged Gouda. Cheese is so wide ranging in flavors, types, and styles that it reminds me of wine, which is maybe why they pair so well together. My job as the cheese buyer for Liquor Direct is to sort through the multitude of cheeses and find the best ones for the price and bring them in for you to enjoy.

One of our top priorities is making sure that these cheeses can be paired up with some great wines. Which brings us to the main question on every one's minds. Which cheese pairs with what wine. With holiday parties in full swing I am going to give some basic guidelines for cheese and wine pairings. First, hard cheeses will go with big wines, usually red. For example hard cheeses like Parmesan or aged Cheddars have much more body and texture than a soft cheese and therefore need a wine which has some substance to it. Try pairing a nice aged white cheddar with a hearty red zin such as our Black Diamond 2 year white cheddar ($5.99)with the Castle Rock Dry Creek Zinfandel ($10.59). Second, Soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert have very delicate flavors and soft creamy textures. You will need to pair these cheeses with light bodied white wines or sparkling wines. A nice creamy Brie will will tone down the acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris.

Third, sharp or tangy cheeses such as goat cheese or Port Salut need a wine that has a creamy or sweet taste to balance out the acidity of the cheese like Chardonnay or Riesling. For example, our Soignon plain Couturier goat cheese ($4.99) with Dr. Loosen Dr. L Riesling. ($10.59) Lastly, dessert wines need cheeses that can stand up to the sweetness and higher alcohol. An easy surefire hit is to pair any port with a Blue Stilton or creamy blue cheese. The sharp acidic tang of a blue cheese brings out the sweet fruit and nutty flavors of a port.

Don't forget each month to pick up our Cheese of the Month. Each month I select a new cheese to feature and its always under $5 a piece. Its a great way to try some new cheeses and styles of cheese from all over the globe. And for your, convienece all of our cheeses include a taste description and wine pairing on every price sign. Please feel free to come in and ask me or any of our wine staff about our cheeses, and for some wine pairing suggestions.

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