One marriage no one can object to is the mouthwatering combination of wine and cheese. Each is delicious on its own, but when you pair the two, something magical happens.
As explained by John Jonna—who has more than 30 years of professional experience in the wine business—there are three basic principles of wine and cheese pairing: country-to-country, style-to-style, and power-to-power.
In his latest episode of Vino Talk, Jonna explores the country-to-country principle by pairing Michigan wines from Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay, MI and Michigan cheeses from Old Europe Cheese in Benton Harbor, MI.
Here are Jonna’s top four Michigan wine and cheese pairings:
Saint Rocco Brie and Dry Riesling
Reny Picot’s award-winning Saint Rocco Brie is a triple crème Brie containing 70% butterfat. The high percentage of butterfat is what creates a silky smooth, melt-in-your-mouth, all-out indulgent and unforgettable cheese-eating experience.
Arcturos Dry Riesling is vibrant and fresh with lush citrus and stone fruit aromas and flavors balanced by a bracing acidity. There is a voluptuous depth of fruit flavor synchronized with continuously evolving aromatics as well as a dry, crisp finish.
Why it Works: This Dry Riesling pairs well with Saint Rocco Brie because the wine has a higher acidity that cleanses the palate between bites.
Aged Gouda and Sur Lie Chardonnay
Reny Picot’s Gouda aged for seven months has just enough time to develop those sweet and savory dichotomous flavors, which creates a harmonious and unexpected balance of salt and sugar—like salted crème caramel.
Arcturos Chardonnay Sur Lie showcases fruit flavors of apple, citrus, and pear followed by floral notes and a great acidity to cleanse the palate. There is no oak used in the fermentation or aging, so you get the pure expression of fruit and soil in one of the great grapes of the world.
Why it Works: This Chardonnay is aged sur lie—meaning it is kept in contact with the dead yeast cells and not filtered—to further enrich the wine. The additional flavors developed by this technique elevate the additional flavors developed by the Gouda during the aging process.
Of course, sometimes the best pairings happen when you break the rules—so don’t overthink it. Remember that often the only thing that matters is that you really like the wine and the cheese and so pairing them together only seems natural. No matter what your style, a sumptuous pairing of Michigan wine and Reny Picot cheese is sensational gustatory pleasure and always a good idea.