Last week’s blog was my Part II article on pairing wine and cheese. I am a big wine and cheese fan so it was great fun writing those blogs.
I have three to four favorite cheese wines: they are Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. In today’s blog I want to discuss Riesling and cheese. Back on January 16, 2019, I devoted an entire blog to Riesling wines. Let’s recap that article a bit:
Riesling was born in the Rhine wine region in Germany around 1435-1440. Riesling is rated as one of the top three white wines produced around the world. It ranks right behind Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Rieslings can age for long periods of time…professionals say some could age 50 years or more.
In terms of versatility I do believe that Riesling wines cannot be beat. Regardless of what style of Riesling you are drinking, be it bone-dry or sweet as honey, the Riesling grape combines a number of assets. It is palate-wetting, has fat-cutting acidity, has a subtle clear appearance and has bright flavors without a hint of oak.
It is said that when it comes to pairing Riesling with cheese, that sweet Riesling – from Spatlese (one of the four major types of Riesling) has the best advantage. Although that may be true, my personal preference is a dry Riesling. You should try a number of different Rieslings to see which you prefer. It is always best to educate your palate.
It is also said that Riesling is the utility cheese wine. Riesling seems to be the least fussy of all wine varietals when it comes to cheese. According to many wine sommeliers, if you must pour a single wine with a mixed plate of cheeses, try a Riesling…especially an off-dry one. Riesling’s acidity, sweetness, tropical fruit flavors and minerality let Riesling partner well with a variety of cheeses.
Let’s take a look at some general guidelines that experts say to keep in mind when you are searching for Riesling-cheese pairings.
Sweet Rieslings pair well with salty cheese such as:
- Blue Cheese
- Aged Gouda
- Parmigiano Reggiano
Blue: Blue cheese, also known as bleu cheese, is made with cultures of the mold penicillium from which it gets its blue spots or veins.
Aged Gouda: Gouda is a Dutch cheese made by separating the curds and whey through a heating process. It is shaped into a wheel then cut into wedges.
Feta: Feta cheese comes from Greece and is made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It is a creamy aged cheese.
Parmigiano-Reggiano: Parmigiano-Reggiano, or just Parmesan, is a hard, Italian granular cheese that is produced from cow’s milk and has aged between 12 and 36 months. It is shaped into a wheel and then cut into wedges just like aged Gouda.
Semi-dry Rieslings pair well with semi-hard, medium-aged cheese such as:
- Young Cheddar
- Monterey Jack
Havarti: This cheese is a semi-soft Danish cow’s milk cheese.
Jarlsberg: Jarlsberg is a Norwegian mild cow’s milk cheese with large regular holes similar to the holes in Swiss cheese. It is semi-soft and has a clean, rich, slightly sweet and melty flavor.
Young Cheddar: Young cheddar is a mild cheese with a higher than normal moisture content. This cheese is creamy and sweet.
Monterey Jack: This is an American white cheese, semi-hard made of cow’s milk. It is known for its mild flavor and slight sweetness.
Dry Rieslings pair well with soft creamy cheeses:
Brie: Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese. It is pale colored with a slight grayish tinge with a rind of white mold.
Camembert: Camembert is a moist soft creamy surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese. It is a French cheese similar to Brie cheese.
These are some of the Rieslings I have selected from my wine cellar to pair with cheese:
2014 Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Riesling
This is a delightful semi-dry Riesling produced in Austria. The wine is deep in color, a greenish-yellow, rich with hints of lemon and apples. There is acidic crispness, with a complete finish. The wine scored between 91/100 and 96/100 points.
2016 F.X. Pichler Ried Kellerberg Smaragd Riesling (Wachau)
This Riesling is produced in the Wachau appellation in Austria by the F.X. Pichler winery. This is a dry Riesling with aromas of orange zest and ripe lemon. The wine offers hints of citrus tautness and richer fruit. The finish is tart and zesty and the blood orange aroma lingers. The wine scored 92/100 to 96/100 points. The wine is available on the internet.
2007 Dönnhoff Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl Riesling Spätlese, Nahe
This Riesling is produced in the Nahe region of Germany. It’s an off-dry Riesling that is light gold in color. It offers hints of tropical fruit on both the nose and the palate. The wine has a good sweetness, acidity and an elegant balanced finish. The wine scored from 90/100 to 94/100 points. It is available on the internet, but seems very limited.
2007 Toni Jost Bacharacher Hahn Riesling Kabinett
This wine is produced by Toni Jost with grapes from the Bacharacher Hahn vineyard in the Mittelrhein Region of Germany. The nose is simple with hints of tropical fruit and hints of ripe fruits on the palate. The finish is balanced quite well and provides a plush and rich mouthfeel. The wine scored from 91/100 to 95/100 points. It is available on the internet to purchase.
I am by no means an expert on Riesling wines and to go along with that, my German is very limited. This means I have to do a lot of tasting and keep good notes. If you don’t drink much Riesling, I highly recommend that you start trying it on a regular basis as it does pair wonderfully with cheese and other foods. It’s not a bad summertime deck wine either.
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Look Forward To These Happy Things:
Upcoming LEX 530 Events!
High Tea – Sunday, April 26, 2020 — CANCELLED
Mother’s Day Brunch – Sunday, May 10, 2020 — CANCELLED
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Wednesday, May 20, 2020
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Friday, June 26, 2020
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Wednesday, July 22, 2020
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Friday, August 21, 2020
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Friday, September 25, 2020
Oktoberfest Dinner – Tuesday, October 27, 2020 — with Elkhart’s Iechyd Da Brewing Company
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Friday, November 20, 2020
Important Wine Holidays
May 1 – International Sauvignon Blanc Day
May 9 – World Moscato Day
May 21 – International Chardonnay Day
May 25 – National Wine Day
June 26 – International Rosé Day
June 21 – Lambrusco Day
August 1-5 – International Albariño Days
August 4 – National White Wine Day
August 18 – International Pinot Noir Day
September 3 – International Cabernet Day
September 18 – International Grenache Day
November 7 – International Merlot Day
November 12 – International Tempranillo Day
November 18 – National Zinfandel Day
November 19 – Beaujolais Nouveau Day
December 4 – Cabernet Franc Day
December 20 – National Sangria Day