The other night, we had an incredibly fun tasting to honor my friend and social media guru Lee Lonitz for his TV debut. Lee was one of the three featured guests on the wonderful restaurant review series “Check, Please Bay Area,” hosted by wine expert Leslie Sbrocco. The show was fantastic. If you haven’t seen Lee’s performance, please watch it here. Because Wine and Cheese rhymes so beautifully with Check, Please, I decided it was a good occasion to do a wine and cheese tasting. And because the show focuses on deep diving into how people like restaurants, I thought it would be a good idea to do a deep dive into a wine and cheese tasting.
The Setup for the Wine and Cheese Tasting
Karen MacNeil who wrote The Wine Bible, one of my favorite wine reference books, talks about pairing softer cheeses with white wines and harder cheeses with red wines. But she doesn’t distinguish between different types of white wines. I wanted to dig a little deeper. Please take a look at this video to learn more about how I set up the tasting.
I bought the cheeses from Whole Foods, and they were top notch. I’m sorry that I don’t have the specific name of each cheese.
- Danish Blue
- Parmesan Reggiano
- 20-month Aged Cheddar
- Herbed Italian – a blend of Fontina, Asiago and Parmesan
The wines were all made by WineShop At Home. I added links to the ones that are available for purchase. The others are sold out.
- Panache Lane California Flamboyant – This fantastic sweet summer sipper is a combination of 40% Muscat, 37% Riesling and 23% Chenin Blanc. Price: $22.50
- Sauvignon Blanc – This is a beautiful dry, tart wine.
- Chardonnay – I found a 2009 bottle that drank beautifully! That was very exciting.
- Sweet Rosé – Another summer sipper.
- Nouveau Muse 2016 Zinfandel – This wine had some nice smoky notes, along with dark fruits such as cherry and blackberry and, of course, black pepper. Price: $25.50
- Fleur Bleu 2016 Seven Petals Blend – This dry red wine, featuring 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 10% Tannat, 10% Petit Verdot and 10% Cabernet Franc, is a favorite. Price: $32.50
Six people participated in the ratings. But a few people didn’t like sweet wine, and a few didn’t like soft cheese, and one person didn’t like dry wine. I did my best to capture everybody’s ratings, but I didn’t do it very scientifically. This was meant to be a fun activity, not a scientific study.
You’ll see that we didn’t stick to the rule of pairing white wines with soft cheeses and red wines with hard cheeses. Truth be told, we didn’t stick very closely with each other. Some people loved a particular combination that others didn’t like. And vice versa with dislikes. This is a good reminder that all of our taste buds are unique. Time to celebrate diversity.
There were three combinations that everybody loved:
- Flamboyant with Blue Cheese
- Chardonnay with Parmesan
- Zinfandel with Herbed Italian
There were two combinations that everybody disliked:
- Sauvignon Blanc with Blue Cheese
- Chardonnay with Blue Cheese
I’d love to hear your thoughts about the results of our wine and cheese tasting. Do you steer clear of blue cheese when you’re tasting a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay? Do you lean towards Italian cheese when you’re trying a red wine? What kinds of rules do you follow when you’re doing a wine and cheese pairing? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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