Breaking the myth Part 1: Can you pair pinot noir with cheese?

It is a natural assumption that wine and cheese pair well together. After all, in France, the holy trinity is composed of wine, cheese and bread.

Pinot and Cheese

But when one generally thinks about pairing wine with cheese, the searing acidic white wines and the fruity red wines mostly come to mind. What about pinot noir? Can this finicky grape, known for its notes of mushroom, earth and cherry, find its match with cheese? At World of Pinot Noir, this topic was painstakingly tackled as we had to taste through some delightful cheeses and sip on some lovely wines.

With cheese covering a broad category, it seems like it would be easy to find pairings for pinot noir. But, as Sophie Boban-Doering and Paul Doering, owners of European-style cheese shop Fromagerie Sophie in San Luis Oblispo explained, there is a lot of salt in cheese-making that could conflict with the wines.

As cheese coats the palate, it may be difficult to actually taste the wine. However, Doering also explained that the acid and tannins in wines can cut through the creaminess of cheese. The mold that grows on cheeses, giving them earthy flavors, can also pair well with wine.

Doering want you to “be adventurous and explore. There is a huge world of cheese out there so it is likely that there is a wine and cheese pairing that will work.” Doering also offered tips on how to pair wine and cheese.

First, familiarize yourself with a few sips of wine. Then taste the wine and take a bite of cheese. Be sure to really chew the cheese for seven to 10 seconds, letting the flavors bloom in your mouth as you chew. With softer cheeses, put a small piece on the center of your tongue and then paint your mouth. Then try the wine again; it will be different on the second taste.

Pinot Noir Cheese from Fromagerie Sophie

Check out the cheese and pinot pairings and read the complete story in the Napa Valley Register.