Pairing Cheese & Wine
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If you're looking for an accessible, yet serious, cheese and wine pairing guide, then pick up a copy of Janet Fletcher's Cheese & Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing, and Enjoying ($24.95, Chronicle Books, 2006). Fletcher, who is a food columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of the best-selling The Cheese Course, covers the specialty cheeses you'll want to acquaint yourself with from England, France, Greece, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the U.S., and helps you learn to create perfect pairings of cheese and wine.
She gives an inside look at the people who make the cheese, how they do it and what to look for when buying it. Peppered throughout are pairing suggestions. Your cheese repertoire will grow to include Lincolnshire Poacher, a raw cow's milk cheese from England; Majorero from Spain, known as the country's finest goat's milk cheese; and New York's Hudson Valley Camembert, an award-winning, rich and creamy cow's and sheep's milk cheese from America.
The book contains grids that list beverages first, followed by their best cheese companions, as well as need-to-know tips on handling and storing cheese. It's the source you'll consult before heading to your local cheese shop, while planning a cheese course and when looking for inspiration for a themed cheese platter for your next party. Here's a sample:
Fletcher suggests pairing Spanish Manchego with...
Serve Manchego before dinner with a fino or manzanilla sherry to echo the cheese's sharp saltiness. At the end of the meal, a big red wine, such as a Rioja or Robera del Duero from Spain or a Corbieres or Coteaux de Langudoc from southwest France, is more appealing.
Fletcher suggests pairing Corsican Brin d'Amour with...
Pour a Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino or a dry rose if the cheese is moist, young and lemony. With firmer, more herbaceous cheeses, move to a full-bodied white, such as Viognier or Marsanne, or a light- to medium-bodied red, such as a Grenache or Merlot.
Fletcher suggests pairing dessert wines from botrytised grapes, such as Sauternes and late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc with...
Blue cheeses: Bayley Hazen Blue, Bleu d'Auvergne, Cashel Blue, Fourme d'Ambert, Great Hill Blue, Rogue River Blue, Roquefort.