Food & Drink

April 13, 2015

Wine and Cheese Pairing 101: What Cheese Pairs with Merlot

The classic pairing of wine and cheese can be as simple or as sophisticated as you make it out to be. Just as I stated in my article, “Food and Wine Pairings, what wine goes with what food” the matching of food and wine is to harmonize and enhance the flavors of both the food and wine, it is the exact same premise with wine and cheese. As with any pairing the first rule of thumb is to eat and drink what you like, no matter what the said “rules” are; and again, there are no “rules”, just guidelines, and suggestions to enhance your pairing experience. Wine and Cheese pairing is a match made in heaven, you’ve got flavors and textures that run as wild as can be, and on the flip side, you’ve got those same flavors and textures that run mellow and tame. I’ve created a series of wine & cheese pairing breakout articles (from the original) where I’ve focused on one wine matched with various cheeses. Some of the wines and cheeses will be familiar to you, and others break you out of what is common and proverbial. The suggestions are just that, suggestions, the pairings will work for some and not others. The parings will get you thinking; they will open doors and take you on a journey you otherwise may not have embarked on.

Wine & Cheese Pairing, photo credit: southfloridafoodandwine.com

Merlot is a black wine grape that produces red wine. Merlot is used as a blending grape as well as a single varietal, Merlot is planted in various wine regions around the world. The characteristics of Merlot show strawberry, black cherry, plum, cedar, tobacco, blackberry, fruitcake, and chocolate.

Cheese that pairs with Merlot:

Asiago - Italian cow’s milk cheese, crumbly in texture similar to Parmesan

Emmental/Swiss – medium-hard cheese with a nutty/sweet flavor, this cow’s milk cheese is identifiable by its eyes/holes

Harvarti – mild, creamy and mellow made from cow’s milk

Muenster – a soft mild tasting cow’s milk cheese

Parmesan – extra-hard cow’s milk cheese. Real Parmesan cheese is either Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese

Provolone - a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese, ranging in flavor from sharp to sweet

Smoked Cheddar – hard cheese, pale yellow and off-white in color, known for its sharp taste made from cow’s milk (orange cheddar cheese is artificially colored) treated by smoke-curing

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