Savory pairings

Enhancing smoke-impacted wines

By Mélodie Picard, The Oregon Cheese Cave

[See photo]

Cheese (center to clockwise): La Tur, triple cream triple milk bloomy rind from Italy. (Round) ; Vat 17 crystally cheddar from Deer Creek Creamery, WI. (cubed) ; Cotswold, double cream cheddar with chives and onion from England. (spears)

Charcuterie: Classic and mole soft pork salami slices from Coro, WA. (scattered)

Accompaniments: Dry cherries, strawberries, fresh blueberries, apricot jam, 34 degrees plain crackers, Olina date & apricot busy crackers. (scattered)

1 Bring forth the good parts

Wine and food pairings are about complementing, complimenting, enhancing, reflecting and/or contrasting the nuanced aromas and flavors in the bottle you are serving. When it comes to pairing with unusual, different or even smoke-impacted wines, it is simply about bringing forth the good parts.

2 Choose cheese

Good cheese choices are crystally cheddar, aged goudas, mild double crèmes, creamy Havarti and gruyère. As a cheesemonger, I’d stay away from funky, bloomy or blue cheeses. They will over-accentuate the smokiness. I also suggest avoiding smoked or grass-fed sharp cheeses.

3 Choose opposites

Smoke-impacted wines can make great food wines with lunch or dinner but remember to avoid salty or woodsy flavors and instead choose the opposite.

4 Enhance and accentuate

The best pairing won’t be from the smoky wine or the easy cheese but rather the accompaniment that brings them together.

5 Fruit

Enhance the fruit notes with fruit: fresh, dry or preserved.

6 Earth

Enhance the earthiness: with truffles, mushroom or multi-grain bread or crackers.

7 Spice it up

Make it spicy fun: with hot pepper jellies.

8 Add meat

Charcuterie is wonderful too.

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