Wine and cheese together

(C) 2009 iStockphotoLike wine, cheese is made through a fermentation process that creates a range of attributes that relate to their components, texture and flavour. Creating a cheese that may have a salty, tangy or bitter taste and a texture that can range from smooth and velvety to  hard and crumbly.  Flavour can vary from mild to sharp, subtle to intense, grassy to spicy and pungent.

The differences we discover when we taste a cheese may result from any part of the process – from fermentation to ripening to aging – but usually involves a combination of all three.

And like wine, cheese is a living thing that can change significantly during the aging process. Changes occur both as planned by the producer and later, while the cheese has been packaged for distribution.  Like wine, cheeses can range from fresh, young and simple to aged, mature and complex.

Why do wine and cheese ‘work’ so well together?

  • At one level, wine clears the palate both by a ‘washing’ effect and through tannins and alcohol increasing the production of saliva.  So alternating wine with food helps cleanse the palate for more wine.
  • At another level, the fat, proteins and acid of the cheese combine with acids and tannin in the wine to soften the impact of acid, bitter and astringent tastes on our palate.
  • Finally, the dilution of alcohol when wine is consumed with food promotes the release of more complex aromatics that stimulate our sense of smell and create a more pleasant finish to the wine.

Over the coming months, we will be working with DELI Divine in Subiaco to bring you some special (and unusual) cheeses to experiment in pairing with the Treeton Estate wines.

John Simmonds