White Wine and Cheese: Learning the Basics on Both
Most wine enthusiasts will tell you that they began with lighter, sweeter white wines before their palate “matured” and they moved onto the reds. Many, however, still enjoy a light white wine from time to time, depending on the occasion. Regardless, the “white wine and cheese” model still holds true across the board, so let’s have a loof at the different types and see how they match up to cheese and other dishes.
First, there is Chardonnay. Chardonnay is a sometimes-sparkling wine that is made from grapes of the French Burgundy. Of all the dry white wine types, chardonnay is the most voluptuous and velvety. Chardonnay goes great with fish and chicken and will often have rich fruit and buttery flavors that match up well with lighter cheeses.
Next you have Sauvignon Blanc. As with many white wine types, Sauvignon Blanc originated in France, more accurately the Bordeaux region. Sauvignon Blanc typically features a very herbal character with sour green and tropical fruit flavors, often with a very smoky qualities. It goes great with salads, seafood, lighter cheeses and poultry.
Then there is Semillon. Like Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon originated in the Bordeaux region and it is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc. Semillon features a very hefty fig-like character, and it is for this reason that it is often blended with sauvignon blanc, to tone it down a bit. Semillon goes great with heady cheeses, seafood and pasta salads.
Next up you have Muscat, one of the whites that is best enjoyed on its own. In other words, you don’t need a meal to get the most enjoyment out of this Italian and Austrian-born white, though a light cheese with crackers does go well with it. Muscat is usually sweet and fruity, with a musky aroma that evokes that brings grapefruit to mind.
Then you have the perenially-popular Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio is actually a Pinot Gris variety originating from Italy. This versatile white goes with just about anything really (including cheese), which is part of the reason for its popularity. Pinot grigio tends to be very crisp, often with a strong acidic bite.
Riesling is one of the white wine types that most wine connoisseurs enjoy with pork, fish, and chicken, though cheese is a still a great option if you aren’thaving a full-course meal. This white originated in Germany and tends to be very light, with an aroma of fresh apples. There is a lot of variation in the Rieslings, depending on where they were grown.