The most important thing when it comes to pairing wine with any type of food is finding a pairing partner which brings harmony and a touch of flattery to the table. In all senses. Be it food in general or something more specific like chocolate or cheese pairing, the food in question should simply make the wine taste better. Luckily, in the world of cheese and wine pairing, the connoisseurs out there have given us a few simple rules to follow in order to avoid choosing a cheese which will take away from the wine instead of complementing it. The cheese has the power to drastically change the fruity aromas,
Luckily, in the world of cheese and wine pairing, the connoisseurs out there have given us a few simple rules to follow in order to avoid choosing a cheese which will take away from the wine instead of complementing it. The cheese has the power to drastically change the fruity aromas, acidity, and tannins in the wine, so getting the pairing right is essential.
One wine in particular, which pairs well only with specific cheeses, is Cabernet Sauvignon.
The following cheeses are a Cabernet Sauvignon’s best friend:
Semi-hard cow’s milk cheese:
Cheese pairing with Cabernet such as mature cheddar and Gouda is the first which comes to mind. These two varieties are readily available and easy to find. They flatter the wine by accentuating its fruity aromas and do something beautiful to the acidity of the cabernet sauvignon.
Semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese:
Examples of this kind of cheese are Pecorino, Ossau-iraty, Zamorano, and Etorki. Sheep’s cheese brings happiness to people of the world who are not fortunate enough to be able to digest lactose. Thanks to sheep’s milk cheese and goats cheese, cheese and wine is not only for people who are able to enjoy eating cow’s milk cheese. These cheeses, pecorino, in particular, pair wonderfully with cabernet sauvignon.
(A few varieties of) Soft-ripened cheese:
Soft-ripened cheese pairing with Cabernet Sauvignon can be tricky, but there are varieties which will work. The important thing is that they have really earthy or nutty flavours. Flavors such as truffles or walnut can form a positive addition to the wine’s structure, but if the flavors are too overwhelming, they will diminish the wine’s aromas and be detrimental to the pairing experience rather than beneficial.
Although they may be amazing on their own, or when paired with other wine varieties, the following cheeses should be avoided when pairing cheese with Cabernet Sauvignon:
Anything too pungent (i.e Blue Cheeses). Smelly cheeses will overpower and form too great a contrast with the Cabernet Sauvignon, which would be a shame. Soft goat’s cheese and soft-ripened cheeses such as Brie or Camembert are the last on the list of cheeses which do NOT pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon. The acidity in the goat’s cheese and the flavors in the soft-ripened cheeses mostly just exaggerate the more bitter notes in the wine and overwhelm the fruity aromas. The same goes for hard cheeses such as Parmigiano, the salt content of which will accentuate the tannins, which needless to say, is not ideal.
Now that we have covered the Do’s and Don’ts, the fun begins and you can start planning to impress your next guests with a cheese pairing extravaganza! As lovely and thoughtful as it is to put out a couple of bowls with crisps or celery and carrot sticks when someone comes over for a glass of wine, why not take it one (or a few in this case,) steps further. Present them with a cheese board full of carefully selected cheeses.
The first step is to choose the wine. Two perfect candidates are the Carrol Boyes Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Cape Sun Cabernet Sauvignon, both of which are produced in South Africa in an area where food and wine is a way of life. They have been tried and tested, and not been found wanting when it comes to making great pairing partners for cheese.
The next step would be to choose the cheeses. In this day and age, we are spoilt for selection when it comes to everyday groceries. Finding exciting cheeses to pair with the Cabernet Sauvignon could be as easy as passing by the Deli or Import aisles of your local supermarket. You could, however, turn it into more of an adventure, and make a trip to a local farmer’s market in your area where there is sure to be a selection of exciting and locally made artisanal cheeses.
Once you have your wine, and your selection of cheeses, all that’s left is to eat, drink, enjoy the experience and bask in your marvelous.