- Food and Cooking
Host Your Very Own Wine and Cheese Tasting!
Dreaming of Summer Parties!
With the snow falling outside I can't help dream of summer afternoons out on the porch with my good friends, sipping on an amazing glass of wine. My friends and family have been known to get together to have these little relaxing parties together, and I must say they are amazing. If you are looking for a way to relax with amazing company a wine and cheese party is the way to go! There are amazing ways to get everyone involved, and you can enjoy sipping on a glass of a plethora of different wines.
Much like the rest of the United States I absolutely love cheese. I am not a huge fan of grocery chain cheeses, but when it comes to high quality dairy products I am hooked. My childhood revolved around picnics of french bread, brie, and bananas. My mother who is French always made us try new and exciting foods.
I wanted to throw together a how to for those who would like to enjoy a relaxing get together with friends and family, or a romantic night with your couple friends. I wanted to create this lens so you are able to wow your loved ones with your vast knowledge of wine and cheese pairings.
Let's get started!
Shopping For Your Party - How To Not Break The Bank
As wine and cheese can both add up at check out it is important to select a handful of wine and cheese combination that will impress but wont break the bank. You can also ask your guests to bring a bottle of their favorite wine with them, and you can match up the cheese that it goes best with upon arrival. I have found that by allowing everyone to bring their own favorites no one leaves disappointed, and they love being able to share why they love it.
It is pretty easy to pair wine and cheeses together, and each combination is a unique experience. Set a budget for yourself and then devide it up between everything you need for the party. It is a good idea to serve appetizers along with the wine and cheese, so people don't leave feeling to drunk and with a rumble in their tummy.
Merlot - Classic Favorite
Merlot is most certainly an adored classic!
The beautiful Merlot grape born in the heart of the Bordeaux region of France, produces a silky, medium bodied red wine, with fruity accents.
Merlot wine allows its fruitiness to take center stage, much like other red wines. With hints of dark berries, plums, and cherries there is no surprise Merlot glides across your palate. If you have people attending your party who are new to wine tasting, a Merlot is perfect for them. With the fruit flavors at the forefront it wont be too overpowering for them and the slight hint of pepper and cocoa will entice them to take another sip.
Merlot pairs well with most foods but when it comes to cheeses, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Camembert, Cheddar, Jarlsberg, Parmesan,Gruyere and Brie are your best choices.
Beaujolais Nouveau - The Baby Of The Group
Although Beaujolais Nouveau is a fairly young wine it can still manage to hang with the old classics!
This beautiful young wine stems from the Gamay grape, in Beaujolais France. Only released once a year in November it makes for quite the party stopper!
With little to no tannins this light and airy wine allows its' drinker to indulge in the gorgeous fruitiness it has to offer. With strawberry, raspberry, and grape flavors prominent this is another great one for those who are not into drinking the richer wines.
Serve chilled at about 55 degrees.
Being a very light and fruity wine it pairs well with, Brie,Camembert, and Goat Cheese.
Zinfandel - West Coast Beauty
Zinfandel has put California on the map in the wine world. Since the mid 1800s the Zinfandel grape has been the prominent focus of wine makers in California to date. Brought state side from Croatia, the Zinfandel grape has settled in very well here in the New World. Zins that were produced over 50 years ago are coveted by wine consumers for their intense flavor and color.
There is both a White Zinfandel as well as a Red. Your White Zin is produced from a red Zinfandel grape, same as its' red counterpart, but the dark grape skins are removed after they are crushed, now allowing them to obtain the pigment from the gape skin. This leaves you with a beautiful rose colored wine.
Your Red Zinfandel is well known for its' deep red and purple hues. Its' flavor profile includes a variety of berries, plums, raisins, black pepper, spice, and oak. It is a very rich and deep wine, fantastic for those who love a rich red.
The richness of the Zinfandel plays well with cheeses like, Muenster, Blue, Feta, Gouda, Goat Cheese, Gruyere, and Asiago.
Shiraz/Syrah - Two Names Same Wine
Depending on your location you may know this wine as either Shiraz or Syrah, however both are the same wines, stemming from the same grape. The Syrah grape is well known for producing rich and bold red wines.
With its large number of tannins, Shiraz boasts a medium to full body, with the rich indulgent flavors of berry, bell pepper, black pepper, clove, dark chocolate, and licorice.
Fantastic cheese pairings to go along with your Syrah are, Cheddar, Edam, Gouda, and Parmesan. Each hitting just the right note when paired with this boldly rich red.
In my love of wine I have also fallen in love with several products and books. I wanted to share them with you as I know that I couldn't host a successful party without them! Whether you are new to the wine scene, or you are experienced these are absolutely fantastic buys.
Some of them I have also gifted out and my friends and family love them!
Sauvignon Blanc - Beautifully Unique
When sipping Sauvignon Blanc you are taken on a journey through the Loire Valley of France where the wine originated. Then you are swept away to New Zealand where Sauvignon Blanc received its exotic and entrancing flavors in the Marlborough region. With bright and tropical flavors like gooseberry you are sure to be entranced.
Known t be a light, crisp, wine the Sauvignon Blanc offers its' indulger a fairly wide variety of flavors. With a blend of tropical flavors you will also find hints of earthy flavors. The Sauvignon Blanc will provide tasters with an exciting and unique experience!
The earthy and tropical tones in the Sauvignon Blanc allow it to play well with cheeses such as, Brie, Cheddar, Feta, Gruyere, Parmesan, Asiago, Neufchatel, and Goat Cheese.
Riesling - The Great Tenacious White
Riesling wines got their start in the river valleys of Germany's Rhein and Monsel. The Riesling wine really took the white wine world by storm, providing a plethora of styles, both dry and sweet as well as light and full bodied.
Riesling will indulge your senses with its aroma of apple, pear, and peach, intertwined with beautiful floral tones. Flowing like liquid honey over your palate, Riesling differs in taste depending on the soil it was grown in.
The beautiful fruity and floral flavors of the Riesling allows it to be coupled with cheeses such as, Blue, Edam, Monterey Jack, Colby, Brie, and Gouda.
Pinot Noir - Noble Wine
One of the toughest grapes to grow in the wine industry has to be the Pinot Noir. It demands the best of the best when it comes to growing conditions, demanding constant care and support from its' growers. Unfortunately thanks to the tough growing conditions, you may find that the Pinot Noir wines may run a bit pricier.
France hit the mark when they produced Pinot Noir, earning its' reputation as being a Noble wine. Holding its' position as one of the most elegant wines that France producess, Pinot Noir is most certainly a show stopper. The Pinot Noir grape is now being grown all over the world in places like, California, Australia, Chile, Spain, Germany, Italy, Oregon, New Zealand, and France.
Pinot Noir embraces it's fruity flavors such as strawberry, blackberry, cherry, and raspberry. Even with its' fruity essences Pinot Noir is a dry red, with underlying accents of leather and clove.
The dry mineral flavors, and fruity accents allow this wine to be paired with wonderful cheeses such as, Brie, Feta, Monterey Jack, Port Salut, Swiss, Camembert, Gruyere, and Munster.
Chardonnay - Party Must Have!
Chardonnay is a leader in America, claiming the number one spot on the best selling white wine list. It is hands down the most coveted and beloved of U.S wine tasters. Easy to grow grapes and versatility allow Chardonnay to be produced at impressive yields. This allows producers to flood the wine scene with millions of bottles of beautiful Chardonnay at decent prices.
With beautiful fruity flavors like apple, citrus, melon, pear, and other tropical fruits there is no questioning why Chardonnay is so popular. With its oak finish, Chardonnay wines will leave a lasting impression on your palate.
Chardonnay is easily paired with some amazing cheeses such as, Parmesan, Provolone, Gouda, Brie, Camembert, Goat Cheese, and Gruyere.
Although I am sure your guests could eat and drink their fill of wine and cheese, I always found it refreshing when something small was provided to eat. There are some great hors d'oeuvres that you and your guests will love!
Garbanzo Bean Salad provides your guest with a light and fresh snack! Goes amazingly well on toasted French Bread, or Pita Chips.
If there is anything that goes better with wine then cheese it would have to be chocolate! Let your guests indulge in the finer things in life with these easy to make, Khalua Truffles
While your wine takes you on a journey around the world satisfy your sweet tooth with delectable Cream Puffs
Hummus and flat bread make an easy go to replacement for chips and dip, adding another touch of class to your party.
Cucumber Sandwiches are easy to make, refreshing, and delightful!
In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of cream cheese, 3 tsp dill, and garlic to taste!
Spread the mixture on french or rye bread, place sliced cucumbers and enjoy!
Pears and Goat Cheese pair very well together and are likely more exotic then your guests are used to.
Slice 2 pears in half and core, then slice thin vertically.
In a bowl mix together 1/2 cup of goat cheese, 1 tsp lemon juice and mix well.
Place a dollop on the wide end of the pear and sprinkle pistachios and dried cranberries ontop!
All of this information may be a bit overwhelming! Sometimes taking information through a video helps you to understand a bit better, so this little video about choosing the perfect wine should help a bit.
A large part of any party is the ambiance. With a wine and cheese party I always loved the romantic vibes that low lighting, candles, and light music provided. When throwing a wine and cheese tasting party you are wanting your guests to relax and enjoy their evening of peaceful elegance.
1. Flower Arrangements.
It is amazing how something as simple as a bouquet of flowers can take a room from drab to fab. When planning out your floral pieces for your tasting party focus on flowers that tell stories of romance, pampering, and relaxation. I have always loved deep colored roses, orchids, and tulips.
It is important as the host to break down walls and introduce people who have never meant before. If your guests leave with the best part of the party being a great conversation, you have succeeded. By having your guests socialize the attention is taken off of you if something goes awry. Ask questions be involved, and get as much done before your guests arrive so you are able to get out and spend time with your guests.
I have always been a huge fan of candles, and I fully believe that they bring a warmness to a room like no wax melt ever could! Make sure the candles you are lighting aren't to harsh in scent, as you really want your guests to be able to taste the wine and cheese, not the "fresh cotton" candle you have burning in the corner.