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Making Sense of Wine and Cheese

I recently read the classic wine book, Making Sense of Wine, by Matt Kramer. I’ll publish a full review of the book soon, but one of the highlights of it is a section at the end in which Kramer outlines food and wine matches. A short section of this final chapter is dedicated to wine and cheese, and Kramer offers some insights to the oft-misunderstood practice of pairing cheese and wine. There’s tradtion of serving the finest red wine with a meal’s cheese course, but Kramer argues that white wines will often pair better, as many big reds will overwhelm the nuances of delicate cheeses. If you’re like me and prefer red wines, the fact that many whites go well with cheeses will give you a chance to enhance the white wine experience by letting the cheese pairing add an extra element of interest.

Here are a couple of suggestions from Matt Kramer:

Ripe Brie with a flinty Sancerre
Munster with a bold Gewürztraminer

A no-brainer for wine and cheese is to keep the pairing within the same region. If the animals are grazing near where the vines are growing, the theory goes that you’ll get some of the same characteristics. The region’s climate and personality will both shine through in local wines and cheeses, so there’s a much greater chance of finding a better match.

Just like winetasting itself, wine and cheese pairing requires a sense of adventure and risk-taking. You don’t need to stick to the norms. Try something out and see what it does for you. That’s what I’ll be doing for my column next week.

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“Making Sense of Wine and Cheese”