Pairing Cheese and Wine

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Putting cheese and wine together successfully is a little more challenging than it might seem, but these simple tips will help ensure enjoyable pairings.

Serve unoaked or lightly oaked white wines such as pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, riesling and chardonnay and light-style red wines such as pinot noir, with lighter cheeses such as goat cheese, feta, Monterey Jack, Colby, young cheddar and Jarlsberg. (Remember: heavily oaked wines such as a full-bodied chardonnay or big red wines will not work with these cheeses).

Serve bigger-style red wines such as some pinot noirs, merlot, Spanish tempranillo and some cabernet sauvignons (as long as they're not TOO brawny) with semi-hard cheeses including farmhouse cheddars, Dry Monterey Jack, Manchego and gouda.

Serve sweet wines like Port, Sherry and Madeira with salty and/or strong cheeses such as Roquefort, Stilton and other blue cheeses or pungent cheeses like Alsatian Munster, French Epoisses or Italian Taleggio.

If you'd like just one wine to go with a variety of cheeses, then select either riesling or an unoaked or very lightly oaked chardonnay for a white wine and a light- to medium-bodied pinot noir as your red wine.

Written by Laura Werlin, www.laurawerlin.com, author of Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials.

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