These are some of my favorite pairings fit for a holiday party, wedding day apps, bachelorette party, date night, dinner tonight... Pairings are ordered from light to heavy.
Viogner is one of my favorite, if not absolute favorite, white wine varietals. This is also a varietal you can bet will be a crowd pleaser for entertaining. Viogner is delicious solo, but if you find it in a blend with sweeter grapes like Grenache Blanc or Chard, you're likely in for a treat. Viogner also blends happily with red varieties.
Why it works: Viognier is often floral, bright, somewhat nutty, a little "green" and full of subtle secondary flavors. Triple cream is delicate, texturally wonderful, and cuts into the acidity of the wine without adding too much salt or pungent flavor.
Chardonnay has had it's hard days in the eyes of the average consumer. When I offer Chard to guests, or even patrons in previous restaurants, I often get the typical "I don't like Chard, it's too buttery, it's too sweet, etc." as my eyes are rolling out of my head in other imaginary dimension. Chardonnay is beautiful, unfortunately, it's been under siege by mass-market options that have stripped away it's acid and made it an oily, buttery, candy-like sad wine. *rant over*
Why it works: I learned this pairing at a winery where I used to work, and it has stuck with me because it is magic. Tete De Moine is a hard, strong, nutty, buttery, rich cheese. It is best served shaved on a girol, but if you don't have a girol, use a peeler--as thin as possible. Chardonnay with a balanced amount of malolactic will blow you socks off with this cheese.
I haven't always been a fan of Pinot, I think this is just a product of being saturated in bold, heavy, inky wines, and Pinot just didn't hit the mark for me. This year, for the first time, I found some Pinot's that really changed my perspective. Thank you, Oregon!
Why is works: Burrata is often served with fruits, other sources of acid and juiciness--it's creamy delicate nature is incredible on it's own if you are an animal like me, but Pinot offer the perfect balance of juiciness and fruitiness without a obligation of sugar and alcohol.
Cab Franc is purple-colored, dry, typically very soft, round and medium-bodied. It's not super fruity, but has a higher acid content and some fun secondary green, peppery or mineral flavors.
Why it works: On paper, this really shouldn't make much sense, but it really does. Camembert can have a distinct sweetness to it, and has an amazing rich butteriness--it's kind of everything Cab Franc isn't, and sometimes that makes for a happy pair.
Here's to my favorite cheese, wine and pairing hands down, forever. If you're having trouble picking a cheese at the grocery store, bet on a sheep's milk cheese. P'tete Basque is a sheep's milk semi-hard, nutty, softly salty magical cheese that comes in smaller palm-size rounds for about $30 and you best just buy the whole round.
Why it works: P'tete Basque has a distant earthiness and nuttiness to it, without a funkiness. That's kind of how I feel about Syrah. This pairing is the most savory of the list, and can offer great characteristics like black olive, coffee, smokiness and bacon.
Kara is a wedding planner, coordinator and event stylist in Portland, OR, Proprietor of Yours, Always.