The Cheese Tasting Company vs Laithwaites Wines:
The Perfect Match
Last Tuesday evening we went to see our friends at the Borough Market Laithwaites with a load of cheeses. We in this case being Imogen who is married to me and me, Ned who is talking to you now.
This was not simply a gratuitous act of friendship on our part but a calculated and long planned attempt to for once and for all figure out which wine and cheese parings work and which really don’t. I brought along examples of some of the major families of cheese like mould ripened (Tunworth) pressed semi cooked curd (Montgomery’s cheddar) and blue (Stichelton). Grant, the charming manager and his team picked out some of the more important styles of wine including a Riesling, a Pinot Blanc, some drier whites and a couple of Pinot Noirs.
The findings were not as clearcut as I would have liked. There are more than 1,400 named cheeses according to the Wisconsin Centre for Dairy Research and if you consider regional and national differences within the same grape variety plus all the different styles of wine, the number of possible pairings probably approaches infinity. Also my notes seemed to become more and more florid and fanciful as the evening went on. I leave you to imagine why.
Nevertheless we pressed on nobly and with fortitude, and made some very interesting findings. As to what they are, well you’ll just have to come along to a tasting to find out. I’m planning a series of cheese and wine matching events in the new year including but not limited to, a general tasting looking at a ranges of cheese families and wine styles, picking one family of cheese and looking at which wines really match and exploring the cheeses and wines of a particular region.
Just to whet your appetite: oaked Chardonnay and Cheddar is a sublime experience, tannic red wine with any cheese is not unless you like chewing on an aspirin, ice wine and Sitchelton is compelling proof of intelligent design.