Wine and Cheese Tasting by sommelier and Community Education teacher, Marcel Flori

Marcel recommends toasting a few slices of a French baguette just before the tasting.  The progression: 1. Sparkling wine, 2. Medium bodied red wine, 3. Dessert wine.

Sparkling Wine with Brie

Let’s start with Roederer Estate Brut, a great bubbly from Anderson Valley, California, along with Brie, the king of cheeses. The bubbly is refreshing and cuts through the creaminess in the cheese. Both are delicate in flavor and the mushroom aromas of the cheese are welcome in the presence of the yeasty nuances in the bubbly.

  • Roederer Estate Brut is available at Binny’s $ 22 (93 points)
  • You can find a good Brie at Traders Joe’s, the one I really like is the Traditional French Brie. $9.49/lb

Red Wine and Gruyère

One of the few cheeses that pairs well with red wine is Gruyère, that is the cheese that gave swiss cheese its reputation. It is made of unpasteurized milk from cows grazing in the pristine Jura mountains.  Any good red wine would do well with this cheese. The sustained flavors of the cheese smooth out the wine tannins and help reveal some of the complexity in the wine.

To allow for the Gruyère to express itself, I choose a medium bodied Châteauneuf du Pape, but you can also go for any GSM* wine you already enjoy.

  • Châteauneuf du Pape, Jean XXII Reserve 2019 $17.99
  • Swiss cheese available at Traders Joes, Le Gruyère AOP aged minimum of 12 months, $14.99/lb

* GSM” is a short-hand reference for a red wine blended from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre

Dessert Wine and Blue Cheese

I am a real fan of this pairing that is built from contrasting two opposite tastes, the sweetness, and the saltiness. For this I pair a blue cheese and a sweet wine. My choice for quality blue cheese is the traditional Stilton from England. In my wine choice for a dessert wine, I want to make sure I have the amount of sweetness I need, so it could be any sweet wine from Pedro Ximenez to Sauternes type wine, but I also want some nuttiness, so I choose a well-balanced Tawny Port.

  • Niepoort Tawny Port at Binny’s $18.99
  • Stilton at Traders Joe’s Blue Stilton product of England, $ 11.99/lb

Have a wonderful tasting!
Marcel Flori

To learn more from Marcel about wine, visit our listing of community education classes.

Last Updated: 2/8/22