Pairing Wine and Cheese: Why you should go Bordeaux
August 15, 2016

Pairing Wine and Cheese: Why you should go Bordeaux

Pairing wine and cheese is both one of life’s most simple pleasures and perfect unions.  With so many options to choose from, picking a balanced and focused selection can be a tall order.  The key to curating an excellent selection is to offer distinct wine varietals with cheese particularly tailored to eat with each.  By focusing on one specific wine region, you can give your wine and cheese selection some focus.  Bordeaux is a particularly well-suited wine region to match with a variety of cheeses because of the breath of excellent wines from the area. 

Roquefort, or bleu cheese, can be polarizing because of its distinctive look and taste. However, its flavor is both mellowed and enhanced by sweet wine.  Turn skeptics into believers by pairing Roquefort with a glass of Sauternes, the sweet wine of Bordeaux.  Sauternes wines are known to have characteristics of stone fruits and honey, with a nutty finish. The high salt content of Roquefort cheese tempers the smooth sweetness of the Sauternes; a combination that will both surprise and delight.  If you can, score a half bottle of Haut Charmes Sauternes.  An exceptional value, Haut Charmes shares precious real estate in the Ciron Valley with the most exclusive Sauternes in the world. 

Always a crowd-pleaser at any gathering, cheddar is an essential component of any cheese selection.  Americans know their cheddar, but the French do, too. Pair cheddar, or any sharp, semi-hard cheese, with a dry white wine like a Bordeaux Blanc. Bordeaux Blanc wines are particularly crisp and refreshing, as they are comprised largely of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Pay a special nod to white wines from the Graves region, which are known for their bright acidity and minerality, which cuts right through the sharpness of a good cheddar. Raise eyebrows for $12 a bottle with a selection from Lafite; the revered house’s Reserve Speciale Blanc white wine is an excellent cheddar companion.   

With a sweet wine and a white wine, you will want to add an easy-drinking red to your wine selection.  The Bordeaux region produces 10:1 reds to whites, so you will be spoiled for choice.  Young red Bordeaux wines have a lot of character, brightness, and tannins.  These fruit-forward, lip-smacking wines pair particularly well with French Comte cheese, or any hard cows’ milk cheese with a distinct flavor.  A solid choice is anything from recent vintages of Mouton-Cadet.  Their wines are all distinctly Bordeaux, and primed for easy drinking with your cheese platter.


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