Sunday, February 11, 2007

Beringer's Wine and Cheese Pairing

This weekend, Lou and I were in Napa for a pre-Valentines wine tasting getaway with some friends. One of the high-lights was a break from the ordinary wine tasting: a wine and cheese pairing at Beringer Vineyards. In fact, the pairings went beyond what wine to drink with which cheese and dug to the roots of why the pairings work. We started with the basic flavor components of sweet, sour, salt, and savory. Apple represented sweet, lemon sour, salt for salt, and accent dissolved in water for the savory, or Umami, component. On the first round, we took a sip of Sauvignon Blanc, then a bite of the apple, and another sip. The Sauvignon Blanc was comparably sour. Doing the same with the Cabernet Sauvignon, we found it to be more tannic. This exercise was repeated with the other flavor components as we observed how our perception of the flavor of the wine changed with each. Finally, we squeezed the lemon slice over the remaining apple, then salted it. The balanced bite brought the wine back to the way it originally tasted before we allowed food to alter it's flavor. Then, we experimented with cheeses- Brie, fresh Chevre, Havarti and Blue were our specimens and for each we found a match. My favorite being Blue with Port. Yum... I recommend you DO try this at home and I've attached a link to learn more from Beringer's website. Of course, you'll be taking quite a few sips, so don't do this before driving or operating heavy equipment. Or, you could do as many wine aficianados do and spit. Of course you still get to eat the cheese!