Northern Michigan wine and cheese—we pair them on the deck at the cottage, with friends at the beach and on winter picnics. But before you think all wine and all cheese are find together you should know, there are some rules, and following them, even approximately, will boost your bon vivance and impress your friends. Here are a few useful tips:
Go Light, Go White
It may seem counterintuitive, but white wines generally pair better with cheese than reds do. The tannins in red wines can clash with or overpower subtle and/or creamy cheeses, whereas whites can accommodate a broader range of flavors, and their acidity cuts through fat, cleansing your palate between bites.
Light, fresh cheeses like ricotta or young chèvre should be paired with similar light, high-acid whites like riesling or pinot blanc, whereas richer, stronger cheeses like Camembert should pair with a heavier white like chardonnay.
If you’re dead-set on big reds, look to dry, aged salty cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano, sharp Cheddar or pecorino that can stand up to big tannins.
Sweet and Blue
The creamy texture and salty pungency of blue cheeses like Stilton, Roquefort and Gorgonzola dolce latte find no finer foil than sweet high acid dessert wines like late harvest rieslings, passitos made from dried grapes or ports.