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Easy Wine and Cheese Pairings

Of all the food and beverage pairings we can possibly think of, wine and cheese is definitely our favorite. Some things were just made for each other, and when paired properly, this duo can provide some out of this world gastronomical experiences.

However, not all pairings are created equal. While we are certainly advocates for drinking and eating what you love, abiding by these few simple rules will assure you that your pairings will be nothing less than stellar. Follow these few steps for a seriously spectacular wine and cheese spread!

Balance is Key:

When executing any food and wine pairing, be it with cheese or anything else, the golden rule is to keep everything in balance. Basically, you don't want one party overpowering the other. Choose too strong of a wine, and your food will be drowned by the weight of the vino; select too light of a wine, and your food will completely swallow the wine whole. Like a happy marriage, food and wine treat each other equally, with flavor profiles and power totally in check.

What Grows Together, Goes Together:
While this rule can apply to many regional pairings (think, red sauce and Chianti, truffles and Barolo, etc.) it definitely applies to wine and cheese pairings. One of the most popular illustrations of this concept is Loire Valley goat cheese and Sauvignon Blanc - seriously, if you haven't had Crottin de Chavignol and Sancerre yet, do yourself a favor and get on that immediately! Lambrusco with Parmigiano Reggiano (Emilia Romagna), Fontina with Gattinara or Dolcetto (Valle d'Aosta), and Manchego with Tempranillo are also great examples of superb regional pairings.

Sparkling and Soft are a Match Made in Heaven:
Higher acidity levels in sparkling wine are a perfect match for rich, creamy cheeses. Acidity in wine cuts through fat in cheeses and meats, making these two components come to life when paired together. Our particular favorite sparkling and soft pairing is Camembert and Champagne, though other cheeses (think Brie, Muenster, and Reblochon) work well with Cava, Crémants, and Franciacorta, too.

Stinky and Sweet for the Ultimate Treat:
For those who have never experienced a sweet wine and stinky cheese pairing, this may sound a little strange, though we assure you-- there is nothing quite as rich, savory, and mouthwatering as this pairing perfection. The residual sugar in dessert wine helps balance out (see rule number one!) the pungency of stinky cheese, bringing out the best in both components of the pairing. Try a late-harvest Riesling or Sauternes with Gorgonzola or Port with Roquefort for some seriously life changing pairings.
Versatility is Key: 

We know it can be difficult (and costly) to have a different wine on hand for every single cheese on your spread. That's why we recommend always having a few bottles of 'flexible wines' on hand, ready to be served with any food and wine pairing that may occur. Light, high acid reds, such as Gamay-based wines from Beaujolais and Old World Pinot Noir pair well with an array of foods and cheeses; in addition, the high acidity and crisp palate of sparkling wines also make for an extremely versatile food pairing component.

Whoever said sparkling wine was just for celebrations clearly hasn't found themselves in a food and wine pairing emergency… although, anytime we find a wine and cheese pairing in front of us, we consider that a celebration in itself. Pop, pair, and get to snacking!