Feel free to showcase some creativity in pairing cheese and wine. “There are no general rules here. It is whatever people like,” says Gary Hanscom, Wines & Spirits manager at Lunds & Byerlys in Plymouth.
However, Hanscom has some suggestions. “I always recommend picking a variety of cheeses with different textures,” he says. A diverse cheese platter is the best way to cater to people’s different tastes and adds an element of fun.
Hanscom also advocates for a variety of wines. He says that white wines generally pair better with milder cheeses while red wines pair better with cheeses with a sharp and heavy taste. Hanscom recommends trying your own ideas or consulting with cheese and wine shops for extras like fruit spreads, fresh fruit and nuts.
The best advice? Be adventurous. “Different cheeses bring out different flavors in the wine,” he says, “so don’t be afraid of trying different things to see the change it has.”
Additions to Round Out Your Platter
Both plain and flavorful crackers can be chosen based on personal preferences, but Hanscom prefers plain crackers because they do not overpower the cheese.
He also suggests fruits like melons and green apples for lighter wines and blackberries and raspberries for heavier ones. “You can even use dried fruits like figs and apricots. They pair well with any of the red wines,” he says. Nuts like almonds and caramelized pecans or walnuts are also wonderful additions as their sweetness can “better pull out the flavors of the wines.”
Fini’s Cave Aged Cheddar
This locally produced cheese from Faribault is a very popular item. “It is a little hard and a little salty. It is a heavier cheese with a little bite to it,” Hanscom says.
$14.99 per pound
Textbook’s Cabernet Sauvignon
To pair with the cave aged cheddar, Hanscom recommends Textbook’s Cabernet Sauvignon. This hardier dry red wine is from Napa Valley, California, world-renowned for its Cabernet grapes. “The fruity flavor of the wine complements the sharp, salty cheddar. They enhance each other in tastes,” he says. $23.99
Saint Angel’s Brie
Hanscom likes this cheese from France because of its buttery flavor and its soft and creamy texture. “This is a mild cheese and is very popular in our store,” he says.
$13.99 per pound
To pair with the brie, Hanscom recommends Textbook’s Chardonnay. It has a hint of vanilla, pear, lemon and lime and comes from Napa Valley, known for its Chardonnay grapes. “It goes well with brie because they have similar taste profiles. Their buttery flavors go so well with each other,” Hanscom says. $20.99
This cave aged cheese from Swizerland has a creamy texture. “It is a little on the sweet side, but also has a salty taste to it with a nutty flavor,” Hanscom says.
$25.99 per pound
Forager’s Pinot Noir
To pair with the gruyere, Hanscom recommends Forager’s Pinot Noir. It is a light red wine with berry and currant flavors. The grapes come from the Sonoma coast which has a cooler climate that is great for the growth of Pinot Noir grapes. “The rich flavors of the wine balance really well with the salty, nutty flavor of the cheese,” he says. $24.99