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Red, Robust and Delicious
November 2010

Red, wine makes a flavorful wine and cheese pairing that’s rich, robust and perfect for winter months Wine and cheese is a harmonious combination. The tasty pair is universally revered because white wines’ blend of sweetness and carbonation is a perfect companion to fromage.

But when it comes to wine pairings, there’s more to savor than whites. The deep, robust flavors of red wines can be a delightful pair with cheese as well. This is especially true in the fall and winter, when the rich, deep flavors of red wines are most palatable.

Not only do red wines’ flavor and textures make excellent companions for many cheeses, red wines’ deep, beautiful colors make them an especially aesthetically pleasing addition to any table.

While red wines can be enjoyed with many cheeses, they match best with hard cheeses and milder flavors. Generally, the more pungent the cheese you choose, the sweeter the wine should be. And of course, French wines go best with French cheeses.

Here’s some delightful pairing suggestions to start with:

Blue cheeses with port or mulled wines:
Dessert-style port wines are rich and much sweeter than most red wines. The sweetness is a perfect counter point to cheeses, especially a fresh-tasting, salty type like St. Agur. Blue cheeses are also delicious with mulled wines, which are red wines with spices added in. Ile de France choice: Port wine and Fourme d’Ambert cheese – Together, the saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the port are full bodied, yet not overwhelming complements. Wines from the Côtes de Pruvence and Rhone regions of France make for delicious pairings as well.

Goat and sheep’s milk cheeses with full-bodied reds
Ile de France Goat Cheese s, as well as sheep’s milk cheeses, pair perfectly with light to full-bodied red wines. The deep flavors of the wine will form a delicious pair with the fresh taste of goat cheese and the rich smoothness of sheep’s milk cheese.

Ile de France choice: A rich Merlot with Etorki cheese – The smoothness of the Etorki cheese is a great buffer for the flavors of a deep, red merlot wine and the cheese’s supple texture makes it easy to nibble between sips. Burgundy wines or bordeux region wines work very well, as well. Etorki is a natural pair with wines from Bergerac. For a lighter companion, try Chinon from the Loire Valley region of France.

Ile de France Brie cheese or the new Normandy Camembert with light-medium reds
In general, softer cheeses go best with light to medium red wines, as the lighter flavors are more in tune with the more subdued textures and buttery flavors. Ile de France choice: Pinot Noir with Ile de France Brie – Pinot Noir is refreshing for a red wine yet retains the robust flavors of red grapes. Pairing it with the buttery texture and subtle flavor of the brie is a delightful combination.

Spot light on the new Normandy Camembert
The new Ile de France Camembert pairs with earthly wines. Red wines from Cote du Rhone and Cote de Provence, as well as wines from the southwest of France are perfect choices. Cahors wines and Monbazillac wines are excellent pairs for the delicious flavors of the new camembert. As for whites, the Camembert goes well with nearly all white wines because of its creaminess. A dry white wine such as Gaillac is a particularly excellent choice.