Regional pairings work well.  Pair cheeses and wines that are made in the same region. For example, you might partner French Brie cheeses with Burgundian Whites or pair Spanish reds from Rioja with aged and earthy sheep’s milk cheeses from Spain’s Basque region.

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As many area schools indulge in those seasonal rivalries and many colleges and universities celebrate Homecoming weekends, there’s nothing like a proper tailgate to add to the spirit and soften the edges. This week we turn to local cheese guru Katie Park of Dole & Bailey. She lends her expertise with a Wine and Cheese Pairing 101… And for the minors (and others who prefer to keep things dry) in your party, simply swap out the wine for a non-alcoholic sparkling something.

While the options are endless when it comes to finding the perfect companion for a bottle of red, or white, here are a couple of my simple rules to follow with pairing wine and cheese in the chilly months of fall and winter…

Regional pairings work well.  Pair cheeses and wines that are made in the same region. For example, you might partner French Brie cheeses with Burgundian Whites or pair Spanish reds from Rioja with aged and earthy sheep’s milk cheeses from Spain’s Basque region.

Consider like flavors.  
If you are serving a goat cheese with high acidity pair it with a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc or Gruner Veltliner from Austria.

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Cut the fat with tannins.  Did you know that cheeses with a higher fat content, such as sheep’s milk cheeses, respond well to wines with higher tannin (tannins come from the skins and pits of the grapes and create a drying affect in your mouth).  A perfect example is a Cabernet Sauvignon or Nebbiolo.

Creamy cheeses are the perfect companion for creamy wines.  Rich oaky whites pair well with your bloomy rind cheeses such as Brillat Savarin, Fromage d’Affinois and Jasper Hill Farm’s Moses Sleeper.

Finally, try pairing salty blue cheeses with sweeter wines.  A salty/sweet pairing is wonderful!  You might serve rich blue cheeses such as France’s Roquefort or Oregon’s Rogue River Blue with Tawny Port, or Sauternes.

Here’s a look at my “go to” cheese plate for the fall, along with some wines which play fabulous supporting roles:

Gruyere de Comte (France) with Oregon Pinot Gris
Ruggles Hill “Ellie’s Cloudy Down” (Massachusetts) with California Sauvignon Blanc
Jasper Hill Farm “Moses Sleeper” (Vermont) with Burgundian Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc
Idiazabal (Spain) with Tempranillo
Jasper Hill Farm “Bayley Hazen Blue” (Vermont) with a 10 year (or older) Tawny Port
 

Katie Park is the Category Manager for Cheese and Dairy at Dole & Bailey in Woburn, Massachusetts.  She teaches classes on wine and cheese pairings with the Cambridge Continuing Adults programs.  Previously, she was the Manager of Cellars at Jasper Hill Farms in Greensboro, Vermont.  If she were not a cheesemonger, she would own a Bed and Breakfast.  And, perhaps one day she will!
Author Susan Currie is Managing Editor at BOSTON YOGA and an Associate Editor at LA YOGA magazine. Beyond her contributions to these publications, her words and images have been featured in the Boston Globe, Elephant Journal, Yogi Times, the Huffington Post, Spirit of St. Bart’s and on the cover of the book Moving into Meditation (Shambala) by Anne Cushman. 

Susan is also the creator of the Daily Inhale and an RYT 200 registered yoga instructor. She unpacks her various professional experiences through creative (and yoga) workshops she leads throughout the country. Her new book, Once Divided (Shanti Arts 2016), a blend of visual and verse, is now available in wide release. GRACENOTES, its follow-up, will be published in 2017.