Adam M wrote:Nice article, but I strongly disagree with its fundamental rule of thumb that red wine doesn't go with soft cheeses such as Brie or blue cheese.
I patronize a very high-end artisanal cheese shop close to my home just a few blocks away from the UN and, from time to time, will purchase artisanal cheese made with vegetable rennet and take them home and nibble on them with several bottles of diffent wine. The owners of the shop, who live, breath, eat and smell like cheese, are just as much wine pairing pros as artisanal cheese pros. They believe firmly that a traditional red Bordeaux is a perfect pair for a traditional blue cheese. I have tried this and can attest that it indeed is true, at least to my palate. I would encourage people to try this for themselves.
I also have had amazing experiences pairing full-bodied reds, including Bordeaux and Cabernet, with soft cheese including those made from cow's milk, goat's milk, and yes, stinky sheep's milk. A simple google search will uncover numerous articles that maintain this same proposition.
I think that cheese and wine pairing does adhere to some very basic general rules of thumb such as that
-sharp, hard cheeses pair well with very acidic whites such as Sauvignon Blanc and dry Riesling and
-aged firm to soft cheeses can pair well with full bodied reds,
And then there is an entire universe in between these two maxims that completely depends on one's own individual palate and the very specific wine being used. For example, a full bodied cab with generous tannis and oak may pairmuch differently relative to a more mature cab with less tannins and more chocolate, vanilla and/or smokey notes.
The article goes on to say that only lightly oak chardonnay's tend to pair well with soft cheeses. If this is true, how does it explain the near out of body experience I had at the Castel winery in which, during the tasting session, Ruth served St. maure, which is a soft aged goat's milk cheese, with the Castel C. The wine and cheese in mouth together created a synergistic buttery sensation that set off fireworks in my mouth. Now to say the Castel C is "lightly Oaked" is, I think, a slight understatement.
If I were to write an article regarding pairing wine with cheese, I would use very specific examples of specific wines and specific cheeses. Even cheeses change flavor as they age. The last time I was in the cheese shop, I asked about some Californian aged semi-soft goat cheese. It was sitting out on the counter top along with about 50 other cheeses. The shop owner remarked that this particular cheese was "showing really well right now," as if there is an evolution and aging process that cheese goes through similar to that of wine. This makes total sense when you think about it, but I hadn't really appreciated it until then.
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