WINE O’CLOCK: Say cheese and keep on smiling
DO people still do wine and cheese parties? They used to be very trendy but, then, so did spats, cravats and deerstalker hats.
All the same, cheese and wine do go very well together and there are so many lovely Irish cheeses on the market nowadays that there’s always a good excuse to try out a new combo.
As a rule, hard cheeses such as cheddar, manchego and parmesan go with red wine.
But that’s a rule, not a law. Parmesan biscuits and and those little cheese pastries the French call gougères, go brilliantly with Champagne and white Burgundy. And the lovely Coolatin works beautifully with a glass of dry Madeira, a good port or dry Oloroso sherry.
Avoid eating runny ripe cheeses, of the Brie and Camembert type, with tannic reds such as Bordeaux – they are not a good mix.
A fruitier wine, such as a Pinot Noir is a better bet, or try a white wine, such as Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris or Alsace Riesling.
Goat’s cheese, either in salad or by itself, goes really well with Sauvignon Blanc and other crisp, dry, aromatic white wines.
Dunnes Stores have a French Wine Sale at the moment and have suggested some nice parings for their French cheeses and French wines.
I particularly like their Normandy Camembert with Ponnelle Chablis (€19.50). The clean, sharp wine works well with the creamy Camembert – or, indeed, any nice, soft cheese of that type.
There are some great Irish blue cheeses on the market and Les Hauts de Naudon Bordeaux (€20) will go very nicely with any of them. But since this is a French sale, Dunnes are suggesting Bleu D’Auvergne, a lovely, slightly soft and crumbly blue-veined cheese from the south of France, and who am to argue?
Dunnes suggests several other good pairings in a leaflet you can pick up at the store. I enjoyed the Port Salut with Reserve De Luch Pinot Noir (€11). A mellow cheese and a gentle wine. What’s not to like?