Sipping & Tasting Ontario Wine & Cheese

Wine & Cheese truly are a perfect pair. Both available in astounding range of styles and they often get more complex with time. When pairing them it’s important to consider texture, acidity, fat and tannin. Cheeses can be split in four major categories:

Copy of Cozy Fireplace WinesFresh:   Soft and spreadable, mild or tangy

Soft:      Creamy decadent cheeses with bloomy rind

Hard:    Usually aged, often sharp and salty

Blue:     Pungent, salty cheeses

White wines tend to pair better with cheese due to their high acidity. High acid wines balance cheeses saltiness, cut through the fat and beautifully contrast smoked cheeses. Keeping those few pointers in mind, have fun experimenting while tasting different combinations. Taste the cheese on its own first to get a sense of its character. Take another bite and splash it down with a sip of wine and assess how they mingle.

You will be able to tell right away and it’s a match made in heaven or a time to move on to another combination. For a fun afternoon, invite a bunch of friends, open a few bottles of Ontario Wine and cheese, sip and taste and vote for your favourite matches.

dreamstime White Wine & CheeseIf there’s one wine that goes with any style of cheese it would be a white wine with just a touch of sweetness. These wines will make a perfect match for any cheese from rich and creamy to hard cheddars, and event pungent blues.

If you prefer reds, choose a lower-tannin wine that pairs with a wide range of cheeses, such as Gamay or Pinot Noir.

 Featherstone Joy Premium Cuvée Sparkling 2010Featherstone Joy - Copy

Perfect Cheese Match: Triple cream, bloomy rinds, young goat, and sweet blue cheeses

From the vineyards planted on the rolling hills along the Niagara Escarpment comes this juicy sparkler. Vinified in the Méthode Traditionnelle from Chardonnay grapes only, Featherstone Cuvée Joy won Best Sparkling Wine of the Year at the 2015 All Canadian Wine Championships. Instead of the traditional mushroom-style cork, it’s closed by the bottle cap for easy access (no sabering required). Well balanced and complex with crisp acidity and aromas and flavours of lemon drops, ripe apples and buttery brioche mingle on the tongue in a cloud of fine, persistent bubbles. For a touch of heaven, pair with triple cream Brie or Camembert.

  Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2013HOP Riesling

Perfect Cheese Match: Washed rind, fresh, alpine, everything

Lively, just off-dry Riesling, crafted with the grapes grown at the estate’s oldest vineyards’ on the Short Hills Bench in Ontario’s Niagara. Fresh and fruity with crisp acidity. Bursting with aromas and flavours of white peaches, green apples and lime zest with a touch of minerality and petrol on the long, clean finish. Match this beautifully aromatic and flavorful Riesling with fondue, as the sweetness and acidity complement the nutty flavours of the cheese perfectly.

 Malivoire Gamay 2013, Niagara Peninsula, VQAMALIVOIRE GAMAY

Perfect Cheese Match: Buttery Brie and Camembert, soft goat cheese, Feta

 As the classic red varietal of Beaujolais, gamay has certainly found its second home in Ontario’s sun-soaked Niagara Peninsula, nestled between the two Great Lakes. Malivoire crafted another great expression of the grape with this juicy and bright medium-bodied beauty. Fresh and fruity on the palate, it’s bursting with aromas and flavours of wild strawberries, ripe cherries, plums and raspberries, with a touch of spice, leading to a long, vanilla-toned finish. With its light body and soft tannins, Gamay is perfectly matched with patés, terrines, and buttery cheeses such as Brie and Camembert, soft goat cheese and Feta.

Jackson-Triggs Reserve Meritage VQA 2013JT Reserve Merlot

Perfect Cheese Match: Smoked, truffled, cheddars, alpine, semi-soft, Gouda

Juicy and elegant blend of Bordeaux grapes; Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from Ontario’s Niagara. Full bodied, dry and fruit forward it’s bursting with aromas and flavours of ripe red berries and plums and a touch of mocha. Aged for six months in French and American oak, it’s well balanced with smooth tannins and long, lingering smoky finish. A perfect companion to firm mature cheeses.

Happy Tastings !

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