My wife and I were going to have a cheese and wine party for our friends this year and, of course, I needed to come up with the five best types of cheese to have at this party. While, I am not a connoisseur of wine (we joke about Aldi’s being our “favorite German winery”), I would like to think I can pick a pretty good cheese beyond your typical Swiss, American, and Cheddar. Luckily, my wife has a pretty good grasp on American wines, so we were able to be halfway successful in our selections. The cheese was left to me. Knowing that the pairing of the two would gauge our success, I came up with the following list. I’ve added the wine and costs in with the list so you can see what you are getting into. Maybe this list will make your evening a little more enjoyable and you can rest assured that they are a good pairing. Some of the cheeses might be a little bit hard to find, but we ended up ordering some of it online – with really good results!
Cabernet Sauvignon and Dutch Gouda
A lot of people would recommend gouda cheese with a fruity white wine, but we found that this aged Dutch gouda went perfect with a darker wine, such as the Cabernet. Deep caramel in color, crunchy, flaky, and meltingly smooth on the tongue, this gouda that we chose had a hint of butterscotch at the finish. We teamed this cheese up with a 2005 Hayman & Hill Napa Valley Reserve. Total cost: Wine – $14.00, Cheese – $9.75/half pound.
Sauvignon Blanc And Bijou Goat’s Cheese
This cheese is a soft, creamy goat’s cheese styled after the classic Crottin de Chavignol. Each one is about 2-3 ounces and is shaped in a conical round. They are named after the French word for “jewel” and when you look at the cheese, it appears to be a giant, white candy. When picking the wine for this, we went with a white, 2008 Honig Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Valley. We went for this due to the reputation of it being a really good wine and that the entire operation from production to bottling is solar generated. Total cost: Wine – $16.00, Cheese – $4.50/round.
Chardonnay And Bris De Nangis
I had to add a type of Bris to this party. There is something about this French, buttery cheese that I really like. Brie de Nangis is creamy and smooth cow cheese that has a slightly chalky center and becomes runny with age. The wine we chose was a honey-scented California white wine, bottled at Logan’s “Sleepy Hollow” California vineyard. It is aged with a touch of oak, which helps keep the flavor round, rich, and creamy. Fruit influences are all in the green family — think pears, lime, kiwi, and honeydew. Instead of a typical berry compote, we served the Bris de Nangis with a pear and lime topping. I think this might have been my favorite of the evening! Total Cost: Wine – $16.00, Cheese – $12.25/half pound.
Zinfandel And Purple Haze
With a name like Purple Haze, we had to try this cheese. It turns out that this California goat’s milk cheese had a real earthy flavor that tasted a little like licorice because of the fennel they mixed with it. The zinfandel we chose was an 2007 Ohio red wine from the Auburn Twin Oaks winery. It had a smooth, fruity taste with a hint of raspberry and vanilla. Total Cost: Wine – $20.00, Cheese – $10.00/round.
Riesling And Manchester
My favorite wine is a riesling. When we chose the cheese for this wine, we went all out and got a tasty, nutty goat’s cheese that is semi-soft and firm. This award-winning cheese pairs nicely with the Graystone Riesling made in Columbus, Ohio from the Wyandotte Winery. The wine had the hint of pear and citrus in it. This combination was possibly the hit of the party. Total Cost: Wine – $13.00, Cheese – $14.75/half pound.