Cheese and wine have been besties for a long, long time and make a winning combination. However, there is a common misconception that red wines work with all cheeses, when in reality this is not the case. In actual fact, cheese and wine pairing is much harder than you may think.
Although this may strike you as odd, there is a reason why some cheesemongers and fromagers advise against pairing cheese and red wine. Cheeses vary in moisture content, texture, fat content, and flavour. For their part, wines, too, vary in acidity, sweetness, body, and structure. Therefore, it stands to reason that the fat content of a cheese can spoil the aromas of a red wine. Conversely, the acidity in wine has the ability to cut through the cloying mouthfeel of cheese, but it is important to choose wines with lower levels of tannin that complement rather than overwhelm the flavours in cheeses.
Back in the day, quick-witted winemakers would offer customers looking to buy wine in the cellar a hunk of mature Manchego cheese along with a glass of wine, in order to camouflage wines of dubious quality. As it happens, there is a Spanish adage that originated back then, and is still widely used nowadays, that says: “que no te la den con queso“—’queso‘ being the Spanish term for cheese—, which loosely translates as “do not be easily fooled”.
Taking a quick glance at neighbouring France, we will find that cheese, which is typically eaten as a dessert, is usually paired with white wine. White wines typically match with a much wider array of cheeses than reds because they have much lower levels of tannin, and are often lighter in body. Although high alcohol wines tend to fight with cheese—leaving an acrid aftertaste and unpleasant finish—fruity reds can offset salty cheeses, or complement creamy cheeses; and reds with a bright flavour profile can match the body of a rich, fatty cheese. As you can see, it is all about striking that perfect balance.
Aside from being challenging and somewhat overwhelming, matching up food with wine can be tricky as each flavour can affect the end result. A well paired wine can make for a memorable meal—as can a badly paired one!—. The key point when pairing wine with food is to try to match the weight of the dish (or cheese in this case) with the body of the wine, and type of sweetness or tartness. Some foodstuffs, such as artichokes and some types of cheeses, are trickier to pair with wine than others.
Ronda Wines And Cheeses – A Match Made In Heaven
The area around The Wine & Country Club produces an endless supply of local raw materials, where both cheese and wine feature prominently.
Wines from La Melonera winery, originating in the Serrania de Ronda, pair perfectly with traditional local cheeses.
According to Ana de Castro, La Melonera’s winemaker and one of the hearts and souls of The Wine & Country Club, a full-bodied and tannic wine such as Payoya Negra works really well with Payoyo goat’s cheese—a full-flavoured, barnyardy cheese that is smooth on the palate—, delish!
However, please note that if paired with other types of cheeses such as Roquefort, the tannin content of the cheese will steal the wine’s thunder and not balance the groovy flavours; and if combined with a hunk of Cheddar, the cheese will just taste like plastic.
For its part, La Encina Del Ingles red—a fresh and herbaceous wine—is the ideal partner to a hunk of mature rosemary cheese, while La Encina Del Ingles white has a perfect salty aroma to it that makes for a fun pairing, in this case by contrast, with a Pedro Ximenez cured sheep’s cheese that is typical of the Serrania de Ronda, creating a sumptuously and brilliant sweet and savoury contrast in every mouthful.
A wine like Yo Solo should, as the name suggests, be enjoyed on its own. This wine is the result of remarkable efforts to recover native grape varieties and, the wine itself is quite an experience and a feast for the senses.
Wine & Cheese – A Perfect Foodie Plan
A self-respecting host like yourself always welcome guests with a well-rounded cheese platter.
Understandably, hosting such foodie events is one of your favourite plans.
The table is beautifully set on the porch. The selection of cheeses has been delicately arranged on several boards, each with their specific knives so as not to spoil the flavours. A mixed assortment of crackers, toasts and rolls are the perfect accompaniment and will add some crunch to your cheese, complete with jams and a sublime goose foie you bought on your last trip to the French Périgord Valley.
And, to round off the rendezvous, the fabulous wines from La Melonera—the winery supplying the winery estates at The Wine & Country Club—and a fine little number: the wine you yourself have produced.