Cheese Plate Challenge: Pick Your Wine Style First and the Cheese Choice Will Follow
Finding the perfect wine for a cheese is a very noble pursuit, but far more useful as a dinner finale is finding cheeses to go with the dregs of whatever you happened to be drinking with the meal. With that challenge in mind, here are three templates that will help you make the best of those remaining sips.
The Bubbly Plate
Leftover bubbly is often hard to come by, but in the rare instances you have a couple of glasses left, you’re in for a treat: sparkling wine is the most refreshing companion to cheese available. Richer styles tend to be the most versatile, and Crémants from Alsace, often made from pinot blanc, tend to offer some of the best values out there; likewise, richer cheeses tend to be the best pairings, a balance to the high acidity inherent in sparkling wine and the cleansing effect of the bubbles.
Wolfberger Crémant d’Alsace Brut, Kysela Père et Fils ($14)
Renaissance Ricotta, Narraganset Creamery
Pierre Robert, Fromagerie Rouzaire
Red Hawk, Cowgirl Creamery
The Red Plate
Forget the naysayers who say only white with cheese. When there’s a bit of wine left in the bottom of the bottle, there is certainly cheese to go with it. Just think richer, denser, older. Fruitier reds such as Syrah or zinfandel have the upper hand over drier, more tannic wines such as cabernet sauvignon.
Boom Boom! syrah, Charles Smith Wines, Washington State ($15)
Rupert, Consider Bardwell
Clothbound Cheddar, Grafton Village Cheese
Invierno, Vermont Shepherd
The White Plate
It’s hard to go wrong with a savory white and cheese. Not only are the flavors transparent enough to let the cheese show off all its flavor detail, but whites also have little tannin to clash with the salt in cheese and enough acidity to counter its richness. Just keep in mind: the lighter the white, the lighter the cheese.
Calera, Central Coast Chardonnay ($18)
Camembert, Old Chatham Sheepherding Company
Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Uplands Cheese Company
Otentique, Juniper Grove