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Wine & Cheese Board

Cassandra La Valle Coco Kelley

The classic wine pairing guide: the cheese board. The basic idea when creating a wine and cheese pairing is to learn about the wine you've selected, and then use that to help with the pairings. The right cheese paired with a wine can make a world of difference!

Pairings for Chardonnay: I define chardonnays as a 'rich' white (as opposed to a dry white), which means you want flavors that are subtle, smooth, fatty, or creamy.

  • Basil Pesto: a classic spread rich with cheese and oils.
  • Almonds: a subtle nut that leans more creamy, especially marcona almonds without the skin!
  • Classic Brie: the smooth nature of this cheese balances the wine perfectly. stay away from overly-aged or 'stinky' forms of these softer cheeses, and stick with the classic.
  • Sesame Crackers: any basic cracker will do, but sesame specifically pairs well with chardonnay.
  • Dried Orange: to pick up on the citrus notes in the wine!
  • Havarti: very creamy and very buttery, this one proved to be a particular favorite with this chardonnay!
  • Prosciutto: a lighter, fatty meat with a subtle flavor is more ideal than a rich, smokey or spicy pairing.

Pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon: Consider this red a more middle-of-the-road varietal. It's not light, but it's not overly robust, which makes it enjoyable with many dishes - rich, savory, and subtle nutty or earthy is where you want to take this red.

  • Sun Dried Tomato Pesto: the oils tone down the usual sharpness of sun dried tomato. A perfect spread for crackers!
  • Walnuts: this dryer, savory nut is complementary to most reds.
  • Camembert: a slightly earthy flavor that pairs well with a medium (or light!) body red.
  • Aged Gouda: this creamy but nutty cheese will actually accentuate the tannins in a more powerful cabernet (we'll have to have a lesson on tannins another time, yes?)
  • Rosemary Crackers: similar to the reason we chose sesame crackers for the white drinkers, here we love the way herbs pairs with the flavors in the red. black pepper would also work nicely!
  • Dried Cherries: back to our trick of using one flavor to enhance the other - the dried cherry here brings out the cherry in the cabernet.
  • Gorgonzola: blue cheese can be tricky with cabernets, but this milder form is ideal because the flavors skew creamier and nuttier rather than sharp.

Please visit J. Lohr’s Recipes page for additional recipes and pairing ideas.