Cheese and wine tasting was a very interesting experience. We booked it as part of our Christmas work do through Sussex Wine School. With no prior experience or much knowledge about wine or cheese. We entered Brighton’s ‘Hotel Du Vin’ and sat down at a table. The room with over twenty people was very quiet and at first it was slightly awkward. Each person would swirl the wine around the glass, and smell it one by one. From there we would shout out what we could smell.
1. Sauvignon Blanc & Goats Cheese
The first wine we smelt, and tasted was the Domaine de la Renaudie Touraine Chenonceaux 2017 – France. It was a Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine had a floral fruity nose with a sweet dry palate. It was served with goats’ cheese which on its own was not really my favourite type of cheese but paired with the wine, it became more enjoyable.
2. Chardonnay & Chaource Brie
Next up was the Domaine Fournillon Chablis 2016 – France. This chardonnay has aromas of lemon, melon and had a slight vinegar to it. Its taste was sweet but slightly bitter. The flavours were complimented a lot by a Chaource Brie. This type of cheese is not something I would have gone for but now it will definitely find it way on my shopping list!
3. Gewurztraminer & Taleggio
Thirdly was the Theo Cattin et Fils Alsace Cuvée Prestige Gewurztraminer Bollenberg 2017 – France. Gewurztraminer is a wine that I have never tasted before and I can happily say that it is my new favourite drinking wine. It smells of sweet lychee, strawberry, peach and apricot hints. The flavour is of sweet smooth cherry. This French wine from the Alsace region was paired with an Italian rind cheese called Taleggio which is now my favourite type of cheese. The combinations of the two was mouth watering, my only initial thought is how I wanted other people to try this delicious pairing.
4. Pinot Noir & Somerset Brie
After a few tipples of wine, the awkwardness faded and the conversations started to flow. We were then greeted with a Chilean Pinot Noir. (Concha Y Toro Corte Marcello Valle del Limari 2017.) The scent was reminiscent of toffee, chamomile, vanilla and caramel. The wine was paired with a Somerset Brie and its combination was just as delicious as the ones before.
5. Merlot & Mature Cheddar
Then we tried the Château Bel Air Perponcher Bordeaux Reserve 2017 – France. This red merlot in my opinion was very bitter, tangy and dry. I couldn’t describe the nose, but I rated the wine as a 4/10. It was paired with an extremely tasty country mature cheddar. Whilst the cheese improved the wine, it was still difficult to drink.
6. Semillon & Blue Cheese
Finally we tasted the Chateau Pech la Calevie Monbazillac 2015 – France. This semillon red dessert wine smelt of lemons and other citrus aromas. The flavour was sweet and comforting. It was paired with roquefort blue cheese and honestly I had never tasted it before. The smell was awful, and the mould that was visible was off-putting. To my surprise with the sweet wine and the salty strong cheese, something magical happened in my mouth. Whilst, I wouldn’t buy blue cheese, I am no longer scared of it and with the right wine pairing, I would give it another go. I would highly recommend a cheese and wine tasting to all.
You will extremely surprised by the combinations of flavour and the experience has inspired me to be more experimental with cooking. Even though the concept is simple. I have learnt that strong salty, or bitter flavours will pair with sweetness. Dry flavours will pair with salty and mild usually works with mild. An all rounder wine that will work with most foods is Pinot Grigio. This is because it is not too strong nor is it too weak. It has a sweetness but is not overly sweet. From this experience I will now smell my food more, and learn to appreciate the ingredients that I have.
Love cheese? Love wine? why not go along to a local cheese and wine tasting event near you? and find out the best paired cheese and wines to try at home!