Who would’ve thought that leaving a piece of cheese get mouldy before eating it, would become one of the greatest delicacies in the culinary world? Like blue cheese, to create those wheels filled with umami (or fifth flavour) called Grana Padano, you must wait months for them to mature and be able to eat them. Nobody can argue that cheeses transform any dish. But above all, they are a valued piece in themselves.
For this and other reasons, on January 20th the Cheese Lovers Day is celebrated. It is a tribute to all cheeses since there are many others that do not have mould and are just as tasty. Coming from different animal milks such as goat, sheep, or cow, their flavours are as diverse as the way you can enjoy them.
Although, as you well know, an undisputed companion to cheese is wine. When put together in the right way, they strengthen its aromas and flavours. Here are some ideas to inspire you and celebrate at home with your favourite cheese. Or why not, giving a chance to one you’ve never tried.
Local cheeses and wines
In the art of pairing, there is a technique that practically never fails and that is related to that concept called terroir. We are talking about pairing products that come from the same territory. For example, Sicily. There it is common to find fresh ricotta everywhere. And at the same time, that’s where the sweet wine called Marsala comes from. A simple dessert they make there is Ricotta whipped with a reduction of Marsala and walnuts. It is a flavour that works naturally well. The same thing happens when you taste a Goat Cheese from the Ovalle’s mountain pair with Amelia Chardonnay from the Limarí Valley. They are flavours that embrace and fit together … because they were born in the same place.
Soft and creamy cheeses with bubbles
For very soft and white mold such as Camembert or Brie, which is made with cow’s milk plus the addition of a percentage of cream (which gives a creamy texture to its sweet and fruity flavour), wines with high acidity work great. It can be a white wine or better yet a sparkling wine like Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Brut, whose bubbles will help cleanse the palate while respecting the delicacy of this cheese. Now, if you opt for a cheese with a greater amount of cream like Delice de Bourgogne (triple soft cheese), a more complex sparkling wine like Champagne would be the perfect pairing. But if you prefer reds, you can also try a Pinot Noir or a rosé.
White wine with melted cheese
While it is not a particular cheese, melting it is probably one of the most delicious ways to eat cheese. It becomes versatile, its texture changes and new flavours appear. For those who love those classic mountain dishes such as Fondue or Raclette (which basically consists of combining vegetables or meats with melted cheese), or a simple melted Mozzarella, a good idea is to accompany them with aromatic white wines with crisp acidity such as Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc.
Semi-mature cheeses with robust red wines
This type of cheese usually matures for at least six months and is characterized by its relatively mild flavour and light aroma. Since they are not very humid, their fragrance is never strong. But they stand out for their soft hints of hazelnuts and butter, and they are very good to melt. Do you know them? Are those classic cheeses that usually come wrapped in a coat of wax: Gouda, Gruyère and Cheddar. To cope with these flavours, it is best to choose a full-bodied red wine such as Terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon or Casillero del Diablo Carmenere Reserva that are capable of lifting up the cheese, balancing the fat with those tannins that dry the mouth. A mixture where the wine does not overshadow the cheese and vice versa. Do you prefer whites? Chardonnay and Gruyère is a combination that does not fail.