Charcuterie: Riesling Cheese Pairing
A charcuterie board may consist of both meat and cheese, or it may be stand-alone with a variety of cheeses. However, to make your wine party exciting, preparing a charcuterie board well is key. The goal is to pick at least four to six varieties of cheeses with different aromas, textures, flavors, and tastes so that your guest gets an amazing experience. But to make the taste buds come alive, you also need to pair the right cheese with the right wine.
What type of wines pair well with cheeses? What cheese with Riesling is the best pairing? The answer to these questions depends on the type of cheese. In most cases, the wine pairing is done with the duration of aging and hardness of the cheese.
Most wine experts suggest that if you really want to enjoy cheese, a white wine like a Riesling cheese pairing is recommended. Riesling is a very versatile wine and can be paired with almost any type of cheese. Here we provide some general guidelines on great wine and cheese pairings. In terms of saltiness, here's a good order to keep in mind:
- Salty Cheeses
- Aged gouda
- Edam (approx. 276 mg sodium/serving)
- Feta (approx. 323 mg sodium/serving)
- Halloumi (approx. 330 mg sodium/serving)
- Imported blue cheese (approx. 325 mg sodium/serving)
- Processed cheeses (like string cheese) (approx. 200-300 mg/serving)
The saltier the cheese, the sweeter the wine should be. A sweet Riesling wine pairing works great with the above salty cheeses. But keep in mind that cheese varieties that have low salt levels, like Emmental, Mozzarella, and Wensleydale, will not go as well with Riesling (see below).
Hard cheeses tend to have distinctive robustness and are packed with flavors. The hardness of the cheese also keeps it very well preserved due to its lack of moisture. The longer hard cheese is aged, the more character and flavor it will develop. Examples of hard cheese include:
- Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
- Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Aged gouda
For hard cheeses, medium-strength or a bold Riesling is recommended. A dry Riesling is better able to stand up to the harder and saltier cheeses, like Emmental, which can easily overpower the sweet wines.
Semi-hard Medium Aged Cheeses
Some firm cheeses retain their shape during slicing and are easy to shred but are not soft enough to grate or spread. Usually, these semi-hard cheeses may be aged from two to six months. Examples of semi-hard medium cheese with Riesling pairing include:
- Young Cheddar
- Jarlsberg Cheese
- Monterey Jack
For semi-hard medium-aged cheeses, a medium or dry Riesling cheese pairing is recommended.
Soft Creamy Cheeses
Common types of soft cheeses include:
- Cream cheese
Dry Rieslings pair well with soft, creamy cheeses.
What If You Have A Mix of Cheeses?
Invariably, a cheese board will have a mixture of cheeses and if you do not want to purchase all the different types of Riesling wines, you will not go wrong with a medium-dry wine. Riesling’s mild sweetness, acidity, fruity aromas, and alcohol content will allow it to be paired broadly against a wide range of cheese.
If you are going to have a charcuterie or cheese board, check out some very affordable Riesling wines:
Ensure that there is a knife for each specific cheese to avoid mixing the flavors. To ensure that you bring out the best flavors, take the cheese out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving. The Riesling cheese pairing is best served at just below room temperature.
For answers to your wine questions, call Pacific Rim & Company at 1-503-863-5454. Pacific Rim has a wonderful selection of wines and they are especially passionate about Riesling wines.