Host a Wine & Cheese Tasting: Four Simple Tips
Whether you’re finalizing plans for a Valentine’s party, or looking for ideas for an upcoming Oscars viewing party, make it a delicious night in when you host a wine and cheese tasting. With our four simple tips below, you’ll be nibbling, sipping and savoring in no time!
Share the wine and cheese love – click here to tweet about this blog post!
1. Choose your Cheese
Start with the basics: fresh, soft-ripened, hard and blue.
- Fresh cheeses are young (not aged), spreadable and soft in texture. They can range from mild to tangy in flavor. Think of: Goat, Feta, Mozzarella and Burrata.
- Soft-ripened cheeses have a white, edible rind, called a bloomy rind. Some favorites in this category include: Brie, Carembert and Humboldt Fog.
- Hard cheeses are firm to the touch, may be aged, slightly smelly and are generally sharp and/or salty in flavor. Familiar cheeses in this category include: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino, Gouda and Cheddar.
- Blue cheeses are exactly that, usually veined or spotted with blue, gray or green mold throughout. They tend to be pungent and salty in flavor. Popular blue cheeses include: Blue, Gorgonzola and Cambozola.
Consider including three different varieties of cheese and a selection of goat, sheep and cow’s milk cheeses.
Tip: talk to the cheesemonger at your favorite local shop. Tell them what you’re up to and ask for recommendations.
2. Select the Wines
Think in terms of four different style wines: dry white, slightly sweet, medium-bodied red and full-bodied red.
- Dry whites are lovely with many fresh and soft-ripened cheeses. Try Wine Sisterhood Passionate Pinot Grigio or Middle Sister Smarty Pants Chardonnay.
- Some white wines have a bit of residual sugar which makes them slightly sweet. These are very complementary to zesty and spicy flavors. Try promisQous White or Middle Sister Sweet & Sassy Moscato.
- Medium-bodied reds like Middle Sister Goodie Two-Shoes Pinot Noir or Wine Sisterhood Ravishing Red Blend.
- Full-bodied reds, try Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red or Monogamy Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines have bigger tannins, more texture and a more intense flavor that pair beautifully with big, bold cheeses.
Looking for any of our suggested wines in your area? Fill out this form and our Wine Sisters behind the scenes will be happy to help!
Tip: talk to a trusted wine expert at your favorite wine shop. Tell them what cheeses you plan on serving and ask them for suggestions.
3. Present and Taste from Simple to Complex
Set up your cheese plate from mild to strong and young to aged. This will help guests move through the wine tasting experience without overloading anyone’s palate from the start.
Tip: Start with white and light, then move to red and bold – without forgetting to explore the in-between.
Remember the five S’s of wine tasting: see, swirl, sniff, sip and savor. (Check out this oldie, but goodie How to Taste Wine Like a Pro video on our YouTube channel for more wine tasting tips. ) Serve white wines chilled and red wines just below room temperature (about 62-68 degrees).
And similarly, the four steps to cheese tasting: eye it (the appearance), touch it (the feel), smell it (the aromas), and taste it (the taste and mouthfeel).
When tasting wine with cheese, first examine the wine and cheese individually (see). Then, taste the cheese on its own. Next, sip the wine on its own. Lastly, taste them together by placing a small bite of cheese on your tongue and taking a small sip of wine. Observe how the flavors change when the two mingle together.
4. Have fun!
The perfect pairing is the one you love the most. You know your palate and what you like. Savor the pairings you love and explore a few new flavors.
The best part: you learn more with each sip and bite.