Wine & Cheese Pairings
This month, we've partnered with Artisanal Premium Cheese — the standard-bearer of online cheese purveyors — to bring you the ultimate guide to Chandon wine and cheese pairings. Artisanal is recognized for sourcing and aging the world's finest cheeses, then delivering them at their optimum level of ripeness. Artisanal's team of experts is also a widely recognized authority on pairing wine and cheese.
Artisanal developed their signature CheeseClock, pictured above, as a quick and easy guide to entertaining with Chandon wines and Artisanal cheeses. If you've ever had the pleasure of dining in France, you know that guests are typically offered four types of cheeses representing a spectrum of flavors and textures. Each is to be savored in a specific order, progressing from the light and delicate to the more assertive and pungent — in much the same way you might begin your evening with an aperitif of etoile Rosé and continue on to fuller, more tannic wines, such as Domaine Chandon Carneros Pinot Noir.
It's easy to re-create this experience for your own friends and family by following these guidelines:
- The CheeseClock illustrates the relative strength of cheeses and their ideal Chandon wine pairings. The cheeses become stronger as you move in the clockwise direction, with the mildest positioned from six to nine o'clock and the strongest located between three and six o'clock.
- To use the CheeseClock, simply choose a cheese and wine pairing from each quadrant. Then, when preparing your cheese plates at home, display the cheeses as they are on the clock, with the most delicate in the six o'clock position and the most pungent at three. (The times on the clock are for placement purposes only. There's no need to start your tasting at 6 pm and end at 3 the next morning — unless, of course, your dinner parties tend to run long!)
- As with fine wines, cheeses are best served in sequence from mild to strong. To keep from overwhelming your palette, begin by pairing your mildest cheese from the "six o'clock" position with a lighter wine. As the tasting progresses, encourage your guests to work their way clockwise toward the stronger cheeses and more full-bodied wines. Following this order allows for nuances in both the wines and artisan cheeses to shine through.
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