One of the most basic, yet classic food-and-drink pairings is wine and cheese. Sipping a tangy red or white between bites of a creamy, nutty cheese on a cracker is one of the most pleasant experiences around. That’s why freelance writer and wine lover Jace Shoemaker-Galloway created National Wine and Cheese Day on July 25.
Now, we’re not talking just any wine and any cheese. Two-buck Chuck and sliced sharp cheddar on a Ritz while watching Netflix is fantastic, but it’s fun to broaden out and socialize. Make this a day to get together with friends, bring out some reds and whites, chiantis, ports, blushes, and champagnes along with Roquefort, Limburger, gorgonzola and mizithra, and have some fun!
National Wine and Cheese Day - History
Italy's the wine champ
Italy pulls ahead of France to produce the largest amount of wine — and becomes the world's largest exporter.
Cheese for the masses
Mass manufacturing of cheese starts after Louis Pasteur discovers pasteurization.
Regional cheeses appear
Cheddar shows up in 1500, Parmigiano-Reggiano in 1597, Gouda in 1697 and Camembert in 1791.
Wine comes to Eurasia
This, according to tests for wine residue on vat and jar fragments found in an ancient Armenian cave.
Europe gets cheesy
Evidence includes ceramic remains of rudimentary cheese strainers appearing at Neolithic sites.
National Wine and Cheese Day Activities
1. Learn what goes together
Knowledge is power, and there are lots of ways to learn about what wine-and-cheese pairings you and others will enjoy. If you’re just getting started, Vinepair’s illustrated guide to pairing is a fun way to get going, and if you have some experience, you may want to dive into cheese expert Janet Fletcher’s sophisticated and extensive book Cheese & Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing, and Enjoying.
2. Indulge yourself at your local wine shop
After you jot some notes as to what pairings might appeal to your taste, why not head out to your local wine shop and get some tips from the owner? Alternatively, you can leave the tasty tactics to the experts by subscribing to a wine-and-cheese pairing subscription like Wine Down Box or Pastoral.
3. Have a pairing party
Sharing is caring, so it makes sense to get social with your pairings. Bring some friends together at either your home or a local Meetup focused on some of the best that the wine and cheese industries have to offer.
3 Ways To Enhance Your Wine And Cheese Pairings
1. Keep the tannins low
Get advice on which wines are low in tannins — which can overpower your enjoyment of an accompanying cheese. .
2. Balance salty and sweet
Pairing a good quality blue cheese, feta or Gouda with a dry wine might induce a pucker and lessen your enjoyment.
3. Add fruit and nuts to your pairings
Top off brie and berries with a Merlot. Walnuts, cheddar and a Cabernet are another winning combo.
Why We Love National Wine and Cheese Day
A. Wine and cheese are delicious together
Most of this has to do with “mouthfeel” or the way foods feel in the mouth. Well-chosen foods that have opposite complementary tastes — like the creamy, fatty flavor of cheese vs. the rich, astringent flavor of wine — can create a pleasant sensation and instill a tasty match in the mind. Researchers have found that eating cheese while drinking wine can actually improve the experience you get from both.
B. Pairing is a fun way to learn about Europe
Europeans have served wine and cheese produced in their regions or villages together for many generations. One of the more famous combinations are creamy Brie cheese and light-bodied Beaujolais red wine from the Brie region in northern France. The pairing of nutty Asiago cheese and either rich Chianti or oaky Brunello originates in the central Italian region of Tuscany.
C. Even soldiers drank wine
During the first World War, French soldiers were given a daily ration that included one Camembert cheese and a half-pint of red wine. That may seem indulgent for fighting rations, but it was done for a practical reason — polluted water supplies made bottled wine safer for soldiers to drink.