Saturday, May 12, 2012

Why do Wine and Cheese Go Together So Well?

Cheese and wine are both fine foods and they are quite popularly served together. But what is it that makes these two to go so well together? Part of the reason why is cultural while the other has to do with the effect they have on one another. The process of making both cheese and wine involves fermentation and this is at least one of the similarities they share. Wine is a product of fermented grapes while cheese is a product of fermented milk. It is believed to enhance why they taste so good together.

During the wine making process, tannin from the grape skins, stems and seeds are added into the fermentation barrels for several reasons. One of this is preservation since they act as a preservative. Tannin also gives flavor, texture and structure to the wine. Depending on the amount of tannin that a vintner decides to add, different flavors of wines are produced. Red wines seem to have the most amount of tannin since the grapes are crushed in the wine making process. This gives them their distinctive flavor and texture. Some wines are made from squeezed grapes so only a little amount of tannin is let in. These are the milder wines.

As the wine ages, the amount and concentration of tannin increases. It also forms sediments at the base of the bottle. Red wines consumed at an early age have a lesser amount of tannin. Tannin is also responsible for the bitter aftertaste experienced in wines. However, as the wine ages the bitter aftertaste is somewhat softened and the wine actually acquires a mature taste in some wine varieties.

The connection between cheese and wine is that the bitter aftertaste in wine is somehow balanced by high protein, high fat foods, ergo cheese. The two taste so good together and even those who do not know anything about tannin seem to think that the saltiness in cheese is what does it for the tannin. Of course now the question begs which wine and cheese combination?
There is no hard and fast rule since you may actually like the taste of a not recommended combo, if it works for you why not? However there is a general guide to help you get on your way. For starters, soft cheeses such as mozzarella, goat and feta are better complemented with a Chianti, Bordeaux, Champagne or a Beaujolais. Semi-hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Gouda, Chesire and Danish Blue and semi-soft cheeses like Baby Swiss, Fontina and Morbier can be served with practically the same type of wines. Consider serving Chardonnay, Champagne or Riesling with these cheeses and enjoy the combination of flavors.

Hard cheeses have a wide variety of wines to choose from including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chianti, Dark Beer, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir and even Tawny Port to name just a few. Some wines can be combined with a variety of hard and soft cheeses so it makes it easy when you are entertaining and serving a variety of cheeses. It is always advisable to shop for the wine with the cheese in mind and vice versa. Salut!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Cheesiest Posts