Cheese and wine are a classic pairing. There’s nothing quite like a glass of wine and a good hunk of cheese. But how do you make sure that you’re pairing the right cheese with the right wine? It’s not as simple as it seems. There are several factors that you need to consider if you want to create an amazing cheese and wine pairing and we’ve got some tips for you to get started.
Consider the cheese’s origin
When you’re choosing your wine, consider the cheese’s origin. More often than not, you’ll do well to trust the local traditions and match wines and cheeses from the same region together. If you’re staying in the Algarve, you’ll want to explore the regionally produced cheeses (that can be found in any supermarket, local grocery shops and traditional markets).
One of the most popular choices from the Algarve is the regional cheese made from sheep’s or goat milk. This cheese has a white colour and an odour that resembles that of mushrooms. It is very creamy and has a strong flavour that becomes more intense when aged. This cheese is usually served in slices as part of an appetizer or snack, but it can also be served on crackers or bread. Also similar to this type of cheese is a golden-crusted cheese with a harder texture that makes it easier to cut into slices.
These cheeses are both perfectly harmonized with locally produced wine. While a softer and creamier cheese may ask for a more acidic wine to contrast in flavour, a firmer and nutty cheese will go perfectly with a red wine.
Shop white wine: Grace Viognier 2020
Shop red wine: Grande Escolha 2015
Take into account the flavour profile of the cheese
The flavour of the cheese deeply impacts the way you should harmonize with wine. For example, if you’re pairing blue cheese with a merlot, think about the fact that blue cheese is strong and pungent while merlot is dark and fruity. You’ll want to choose a wine that complements the flavour of the cheese, not one that overpowers it.
Blue cheeses are pungent and strong, so they’ll overpower a wine that’s dry and oaky. On the other hand, you can pair a softer-tasting cheese with a dry red wine because they have similar textures and flavours. If you’re pairing a light cheese with a light red wine, the flavours of the wine and cheese won’t complement each other. In this case, you’ll want to choose something heavy and robust (like Grace Touriga Nacional).
Consider the acidity of the wine
When you’re pairing wine and cheese, you’ll want to consider the acidity of each one. For example, if you’re pairing a rich and creamy blue cheese with a fruity red wine, think about the fact that blue cheeses are strong and pungent while red wines are strong and fruity. You’ll want to choose something that complements the flavour of the cheese, not one that overpowers it.
Quinta dos Vales Wine Estate
The Algarve has some of the best wine production industries in the world. The climatic conditions and the land quality are exquisite and perfect for the production of many top-quality grapes’ varieties (either of white or red wine). If you’re traveling to the Algarve, you’ll want to visit Quinta dos Vales (the oldest Wine Estate in the region) and try their amazing wine in a range that varies from 15 different grapes.
Book a tour and enjoy their beautiful wines as well as some local cheese and charcuterie, In a wine tasting activity (available at the Estate).