Popular Wine and Cheese Pairings That Make You Swoon

Cheese and wine are great together, but they become even better when combined well. You may be thinking; I enjoy cheese and wine. What else am I supposed to think about? However, when used properly, the combination elevates the experience while also improving the taste of both foods.

Not only is it versatile, but it’s also a simple and budget-friendly method to wow your friends and family. Are you intimidated by the thought of combining cheese with wine? Don’t worry; we’re here to assist. In no time, you’ll be a master at pairing cheese with wine.

Wine and Cheese Pairings - benchmark wines

Pairing Cheese with White Wine

In general, white wines go best with milder cheeses. This allows the fresh, often fruity notes of the white wine to complement the sweet creaminess of the cheese. The greatest white wines to consume with cheese are those that have a little more sweetness and acidity to cut through the buttery smoothness of the cheese.

Sauvignon Blanc and Wisconsin Brick

Two time-tested crowd-pleasers, now in matchmaking bliss. This Wisconsin original comes in several strengths. The milder Brick is adaptable and ideal for beginning cheese connoisseurs. The earthy flavor of the sauvignon blanc goes well with the slightly savory finish of the earthy sauvignon blanc. While appealing to the taste buds, a more powerful aged brick might overpower a light wine like the sauvignon blanc.

Chardonnay and Aged Parmesan

The drier, more complex notes of a great parmesan contrast beautifully with the buttery feel of Chardonnay. The parmesan’s fruity, somewhat nutty flavor cuts through the richness of the Chardonnay and has you saying “alright, one more bite” in no time.

Champagne and Baby Swiss

The flavor of a purebred swiss baby is smoother and creamier than that of its more well-known parental counterpart. Its mild, sweet flavor is a hit with everyone: ideal for Christmas gatherings where Champagne is required. The combination of the rich, buttery cheese and the dry notes in Champagne ensures that the cheesy sweetness comes through, while the little holes in the cheese mirroring wine bubbles make you feel as though everything is OK for this one moment.

chesse and wine pairing - benchmark wines

Pairing Cheese with Red Wine

On the other hand, white wine is best enjoyed with milder cheeses. Red wine may be used to complement stronger, aged cheeses since it has more tannins and can therefore combine well with full-bodied, delicious cheese. The tannins cleanse the palette, making each bite and sip as delicious as the previous. Fresh cheese and red wine don’t typically go well together since the tannins, and low acidity can make fresh cheeses chalky.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blue

Blue cheese has a strong flavor that takes some getting used to. (We recommend you begin training your taste buds RIGHT AWAY.) Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied, tannic, and dry, which goes great with a firmer, crunchier blue cheese. The sophisticated crowd-pleaser comes from the combination of both. They’re powerful on their own, but they bring balance to the table when they’re together.

Beaujolais and Feta

This wine has high acidity and low tannins, making it a good choice for individuals who prefer light red wines. The fruity, bright wine goes great with the salty, chewy cheese. Putting feta on a cheese board may seem strange at first, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you enjoy it.

Pinot Noir and Colby

Colby’s delicate, sweet flavor is offset by the wine’s complex flavors, while the creamy texture of the cheese complements the pinot noir wine’s smooth body. However, it’s difficult to make a mistake with a cheese pairing. Gorgonzola and swiss would both taste superb together. Why must you stick to just one type of cheese?

How to Find Your Ideal Wine

Choosing that perfect bottle of wine might require a lot of consideration. However, when confronted with dozens of alternatives, making that decision isn’t always simple. Tending to your wine knowledge or being stuck in a rut doesn’t have to be difficult if you want to try something new. Why not pick a bottle of wine based on your personal taste? We’ve compiled a list to help you choose wine.

How to Find Your Ideal Wine- benchmark wines

If You Like Coffee…

A Shiraz is a delicious red wine with an earthy, rich, slightly bitter flavor and scent. If you enjoy the robust taste of espresso, then Shiraz will be your favorite. It’s classified as a heavyweight wine with peppery and spicy undertones. The coffee is rich and flavorful, with a velvety smooth finish – ideal for those who enjoy their coffee strong!

If You Like Red Fruits…

Pinot Noir is a light red wine. It’s usually lighter than other red wines, made from red grapes. It has fruity notes and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and strawberries. The flavor of an oak chunk is earthy and herby, with a somewhat fragrant aroma. It’s great for people who enjoy the taste of sweet red fruits.

If You Like Black Fruits…

A Tempranillo might be the wine for you. The wine is medium to full-bodied with an earthy bouquet and a smooth finish and tastes similar to black cherries, plums, and tomatoes.

If You Like Citrus Flavours…

You’ll enjoy a Chardonnay. Depending on the weather, Chardonnay may have more tropical characteristics such as orange, pineapple, and grapefruit. The wine’s origin also impacts its flavor, which may range from light and zesty to creamy with coconut and vanilla undertones.

If you already have a favorite but want to branch out and try something new, give the below a try…

wine perfect match for you - benchmark wines

If you enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ll like Rioja.

Rioja is often compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. Thus many people enjoy both. If you like the flavor of red fruits that come through in a Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ll adore a Rioja since it’s said to be even more fragrant. The flavor of the Spanish wine is primarily comprised of cherries, raspberries, and strawberries.

If You Like Merlot, You’ll LOVE Grenache.

Certain similarities between Merlot and Grenache may be recognized even if they don’t taste precisely the same. Raspberry tastes can be found in both, although undertones of strawberry, citrus, and cinnamon with Grenache.

If you enjoy Pinot Noir, try Gamay Noir instead.

Gamay Noir has a light flavor similar to Pinot Noir in taste. It has tart qualities that get better with red fruits such as cherries, raspberries, and plums. It also contains earthy undertones complimented by delicate floral scents. It’s worth testing as a refreshing alternative since it is typically more competitively priced than its counterpart.

If You Like Pinot Grigio, You’ll LOVE Albariño.

If you’re drinking Pinot Grigio, try an Albariño instead. Popular in Spain, the dry white wine is crisp and citrusy with peachy, floral undertones. The aromatic wine has great acidity and is a popular choice throughout the summer months.

If You Like un-oaked Chardonnay, You’ll Like Riesling.

Rieslings are lighter than Chardonnay and have a brighter, more refreshing taste. This wine is both sweet and crisp due to the presence of apple, peach, and pear notes throughout. There are also delicate scents, such as honey, jasmine, and lime.

Finding the perfect wine might be a lot easier than you think. Lean towards similar tastes and scents by finding the best wine for you. Give it a go and see what you find out! Make certain to ask these questions while you’re at it.

Bordeaux: Is It a Wine or a Region?

What is Bordeaux Wine?

A wine from Bordeaux, France, is known as Bordeaux (or “Bore-doe”). Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are the primary red grapes used to make 90% of Bordeaux wines. This blog will teach you about Bordeaux wine, including tasting descriptions, culinary matchings, and the essential information to know.

Bordeaux is where the first Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines were cultivated.

Bordeaux Tasting Notes

Red Bordeaux Primary Flavors: Black Currant, Plum, Graphite, Cedar, Violet

Medium- to full-bodied red wines from Bordeaux have aromas of black currant, plums, and earthy notes of wet gravel or pencil lead. When you sip the wines, you’re greeted with mineral and fruit flavors that move into prickly, savory, mouth-drying tannins. Wines with high tannin content can endure for decades in the bottle due to their high tannin levels.

Fruits in Bordeaux wines can range from more tart fruit to sweeter ripe fruit, depending on the quality, vintage, and area of origin within Bordeaux. Vintage variations are something to look for from this region.

If you’re looking to get a bargain on Bordeaux, there’s no better time than when it’s cheap. One of the keys to discovering the exceptional value in Bordeaux is to focus on vintages. The affordable wines have incredible value for their vintage and will age for years!

How To Serve Bordeaux

Bordeaux bottles have a lovely look on the table with their elegant labels and green glass. Here’s what you need to know about drinking this wine:

  • Serve Red Bordeaux chilled, about 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).
  • Remove the cork and decant for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.
  • Keep all of your red wines below 65°F/18°C.
  • A wonderful bottle of Red Bordeaux can cost anywhere from $25 to $30.

Pairing Food with Bordeaux Wine

Steak Frites (steak and duck fat fries) are an excellent match for red Bordeaux. The meat’s boldness complements the umami, while the dish’s richness softens the wine’s gritty tannins. Bordeaux wine’s rich, meaty backdrop will contrast nicely with this sweet and fruity flavor. The steak frites example demonstrates that, when combining dishes with Bordeaux, you should look for ones with a.) plenty of umami and b.) enough fat to help balance tannin. You may go even further with your pairings after this. Here are some examples:

  1. Meat,
  2. Cheese,
  3. Herb/Spice,
  4. Vegetable

The Bordeaux Wine Region

Médoc and Graves aka “Left Bank”

In this region, the soils are gritty, and the primary component is Cabernet Sauvignon in red wines produced there. The most famous sub-regions in the Médoc are Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Saint-Éstephe, Margaux, and Pessac-Leognan (the first to be classified in 1855). The wines from Médoc are some of the boldest and tannic of Bordeaux, making them ideal for maturing or combining with red meat. Here’s a typical Bordeaux wine left bank order of proportion:

Left Bank Bordeaux Blend

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon
  2. Merlot
  3. Cabernet Franc
  4. Malbec
  5. Petit Verdot

Libournais aka “Right Bank”

The Bordeaux wine region of Saint-Emilion is particularly noted for its bright crimson clays, which produce strong, plummy red wines, with Merlot as the primary grape variety. The most well-known and prized sub-zones include Pomerol and Saint-Emilion. The wines from around Libourne are still fairly robust, although they have softer, more refined tannins. As a result, right bank wines are an excellent method to learn about the area. In the order of importance, here’s a typical example of a Libournais Bordeaux blend:

Right Bank Bordeaux Blend

  1. Merlot
  2. Cabernet Franc
  3. Cabernet Sauvignon

Some of the world’s most popular red wine blends, such as Bordeaux, are inspired by the Bordeaux region. For those of us who enjoy red vintages, the Bordeaux region has long been a source of inspiration. Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to get a bottle or two to discover what Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from their native land taste like–they’re distinctive!

8 great Italian Red wines: Top Italian wine values

8 great Italian wines you must try  

Italy has a high-end heritage in the world of wines. Recently it became the world’s leading producer of wine. No one can deny the utmost quality of Italian red wines and the well-deserved place it has in the entire industry.  The Italian wines span an assortment of styles & classifications. Whether you are searching for full-bodied bright red or vibrant white, the diverse Italian wines always have something to offer to everyone.  The fragrance & flavor of all wines speaks of the history, cultural landscape and also know how of individuals bound from the time immemorial. There is no table in Italy without the exotic wine & no food completed without a glass of wine. 

The below-mentioned eight great Italian wines are great to start with especially when you are a novice. These great Italian wines absolutely encapsulate what Italian wine is all about.   Let’s have a close look at some of the best Italian red wine in Singapore.

Bocelli Family wines “Poggioncino” 2015 

Benchmark Wines- Italian Red Wines
Italian Red Wine 1- Bocelli Family wines “Poggioncino” 2015

This wine has a ruby red color with purplish of highlights.  It is classic & a tastefully balanced wine that represents out the fruit aromas of cherries, ripe red berry fruit. This has been well integrated with the notes of sage along with black pepper. Its palate is truly ample, supple long with finish & after-taste.

Bocelli Family Wines Chianti 2018 

Italian Red Wine 2 - Bocelli Family Wines Chianti 2018
Italian Red Wine 2 – Bocelli Family Wines Chianti 2018 

The   Bocelli Family Wines Chianti 2018 features a deliciously vinous bouquet and the floral-fruity notes that it has led towards the finish of a spicy sense of delicious chocolate. It also imbibes the hints of sweet fruit. This versatile Chianti is suitable to be taken with any meal wherever red wine is being desired.  This exotic red wine is rich, deep & earthy as well with subtle hints of sweet fruit. 

 Bocelli Family Wines “ Rosso di Toscano” Sangiovese” IGT 2017

Italian Red Wine 3 -  Bocelli Family Wines “ Rosso di Toscano” Sangiovese” IGT 2017
Italian Red Wine 3 –  Bocelli Family Wines “ Rosso di Toscano” Sangiovese” IGT 2017

This red wine is being prepared from Tuscany’s noble varietal. It imbibes the passion & expertise of Bocelli’s family with the full display of its bright, lush along with most appealing of Sangiovese. The grapes used in its preparation are being hand-harvested from some top-notch sites in Morellino. The grapefruit is being deliciously ripe, smoky with notes of mascara cherry, granite & also rhubarb compote. The finish is long, dry with most admirable of acidity. This makes entire palate taunt & pleasing at the same time. 

Bocelli Family Wines “ in Canto” 2012 

Italian Red Wine 4 - Bocelli Family Wines “ in Canto” 2012
Italian Red Wine 4 – Bocelli Family Wines “ in Canto” 2012 

The in canto wine is dense, powerful & at the same time full of Cabernet Sauvignon that actually fills out the senses. There is just the production of a few hundred cases and each of the wine plants is being carefully being followed & pampered. Every bottle holds the utmost significance. The In canto expresses itself exceptionally well with its most genuine of characteristics.  

Giovanni Manzone” Rosserto” Langhe Rossesse Bianco 2016 

Italian Red Wine - Giovanni Manzone ‘Rosserto’ Langhe Rossese Bianco 2016
Italian Red Wine 5 – Giovanni Manzone ‘Rosserto’ Langhe Rossese Bianco 2016

This is 100 & white rossese and is a native wine variety that is being saved from getting extinct by Giovanni Manzone in their primitive family vineyard. This wine is being fermented & at the same time aged in oak for a period of 12 months with its own yeasts.  It has beautiful, tropic, and exotic aroma on the palate. The wine is refreshing, citrusy with an apparent weight from the time on lees. It is a true culinary wine with mild spiciness and an intriguing aromatic of profile. 

Giovanni Manzone “II Crutin” Langhe Nebbiolo 2017 

Italian Red Wine - Giovanni Manzone ‘Il Crutin’ Langhe Nebbiolo 2017
Italian Red Wine 6 – Giovanni Manzone ‘Il Crutin’ Langhe Nebbiolo 2017

II Crutin is prepared from 100% Nebbiolo sourced from wines of Castelletto & also Gramolere of vineyards located in Montforte d’ Alba.  

This wine is sweet, ripe, and bursting with red cherry juice with a dash of blue fruits. It also contains black tea with some warm baking of spices. However, this exotic wine is astonishingly light on the feet while being packed in flavor & balance of components.  

Giovanni Manzone Barbera d’ Alba Superiore “ La Marchesa” 2016 

Italian Red Wine- Giovanni Manzone Barbera d’Alba Superiore ‘La Marchesa’ 2016
Italian Red Wine 7 – Giovanni Manzone Barbera d’Alba Superiore ‘La Marchesa’ 2016

Barbera d’ Alba Superiore “ La Marchesa is a traditional variety of red wine and is being produced by the company Giovanni Manzone. This firm is situated in Montforte D’ Alba in the Langhe region.  The grapefruit, 100% Barbera are being picked up in the second half of the month of September. Aesthetically this particular wine has an extremely intense red ruby color with few violets of reflections after the aging process. It has fruity perfume with some clear of red fruits along with tobacco aromas. It tastes quite warm, soft with the greatest of balance as well as persistence.  

Giovanni Manzone Castelletto Barolo DOCG 2012 

Italian Red Wine - Giovanni Manzone Castelletto Barolo DOCG 2012
Italian Red Wine 8 – Giovanni Manzone Castelletto Barolo DOCG 2012

The 2012 Castelletto Barolo DOCG is yet another pretty wine from company, Giovanni Manzone.  With orange peel, rose petals, rosemary, star anise, mint, and also kirsch imparts this 2012 variant an exotic of quality that is extremely appealing. The 2012 Castelletto Barolo DOCG is already quite impressive & giving at the same time. It should drink quite well for another 15 to 20 years, or maybe more than that. 

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Balance in a Wine – Four Key Factors

Drinking wine must be a pleasant experience – otherwise why do it? The simple judgment is “does it taste good”? Different grapes produce different fruit tastes – so that’s the primary taste to look for. But then you need to look for the other four key factors that produce a pleasant and harmonious wine with “balance”. Its all about balance!

Sweetness/Residual Sugar:  If a wine tastes sweet & coats the tongue and feels viscous and sensual there may be some residual sugar lurking.  Wines with high residual sugar such as Sauternes or Liquor Muscat match up particularly well with desserts, Foie Gras & some cheeses  – ‘dessert wines’ are some of wine’s great hidden treasures.

Acidity: Acidity is sensed first on the side of the tongue – without it wines become flabby and lack charm. A good way to gauge the acidity is after you swallowed the wine hold your mouth open to encourage extra air. If your mouth begins to salivate, this is the acidity. Wines too high in acidity become austere and tough – think ‘wine vinegar’. Acidity is necessary, as long as it is balanced with the other components.

Tannins: Tannins are mostly found in red wines (but can be found in some whites depending on style). Derived predominantly from the skin and seeds of the grape, tannins can also come as a result of oak aging. A wine with high tannins will grip and coat the gums and the middle of the tongue, giving a drying sense of bitterness and astringency. Tannins help enhance the texture of the wine, and are one of the components of ‘balance’. A good way to familiarize yourself with tannins is the taste cold tea.

Different varieties of grapes exhibit different levels of tannins. Nebbiolo & Cabernet Sauvignon have inherently high tannins, whereas Pinot Noir and Ruché from Italy (pron. Roo-Kay) have inherently lower and lovely soft tannins. Wines that are produced for consumption when young are designed to have softer, rounder tannins to give a softer ‘mouthfeel’. Wines produced for longer ageing with pronounced tannins such as those from Bordeaux need bottle age to come into balance

Alcohol: The final piece of the jigsaw is the alcohol. Wines too high in alcohol taste ‘hot’, – if you taste a bit of heat at the back of your palate (think of brandy after taste), then the alcohol is probably out of balance with the other components. The alcohol can be high but if it blends seamlessly with the sweetness, acidity and tannins it completes the balance jigsaw. But high alcohol wines where the alcohol is prominent are tough to drink in Singapore’s tropical temperatures – beware!

Look at the parts of the wine as a whole and try to match it to the occasion. Its not an exact science and there is no right answer – but its not hard to match up to the food you are serving. e.g. grilled salmon matches well with Pinot Noir but not a rich Cabernet Sauvignon. 

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Chianti Ups The Ante!!

Starting with the 2010 vintage, the Chianti region has introduced an additional quality designation – ‘Gran Selezione’.

Gran Selezione’ is a quality designation that sits above the existing Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva designations. Gran Selezione must be made exclusively from a winery’s own grapes grown in its finest vineyards according to strict regulations that make it a truly premium wine & a new point of reference for Chianti. It can only be sold only after a minimum 30-month maturation & an obligatory period of bottle ageing. Gran Seleziones have great structure that, thanks to grape selection and longer bottle ageing, display superior balance & harmony, enhanced depth of flavor & aromatic complexity.

Introduction of this new quality level is yet another of the dramatic changes in the regulations governing production of Chianti. Since 1996 the blend for chianti and Chianti Classico has been 75–100% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo and up to 20% of any other approved red grape variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.

In 2006, the use of white grape varieties such as Malvasia & Trebbiano were prohibited. This resulted in Chianti’s suddenly exhibiting more fleshy fruit structure. Other rules require Chianti to have a minimum alcohol level of at least 12% and a minimum of 7 months aging in oak. Riserva’s must be aged at least 24 months. The harvest yields for Chianti’s are restricted to ensure that the wines exhibit vibrant fruit structure & are not diluted by high yield over production .

It is now very evident that modern Chiantis benefit significantly with the hand over  to the better educated and trained younger generation who no longer stick to the traditional winemaking methods “just like Mum and Dad did”. 

So for all the reasons stated above, the Chianti’s of today are dramatically better than ever. Gran Selezione sits up at the top – and they great! Watch out for the arrival in Singapore of our ‘Castello di Meleto Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2010’

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There are no (wine) secrets on the Internet

So here you are, just back from your vacation in (fill in the blank) and you had that splendid wine in the restaurant with your beloved and you vowed to “find this wine at home”. How do I find that ‘special’ wine?

So you go to the web and start to Google it – not easy.

Try winesearcher.com

This site, developed by the Kiwi’s, has an astonishing ability to identify just where any given wine is available – in any specific country or worldwide and what price!

So if you are searching for that ‘special wine’ that invokes some great memories then Winesearcher is the place to start.

A few metrics.  For Singapore alone, Winesearcher accesses over 300 (yes – 300!!) on-line Singapore wine lists. If it’s not showing on Winesearcher then it’s almost certainly not available in Singapore. But if you search on a worldwide basis then you likely find it somewhere – so make note of that for your next business trip to Mongolia if it shows as available there…..

And just to further boggle the mind – Winesearcher lists over 13,000 wine lists in the USA. Good luck with that.

Winesearcher is also very educational in that it shows the great disparity in wine prices in any given country. One good example of a widely available decent quality and  popular wine in Singapore: Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz. 

Wine Searcher shows the prices for the same wine range from $79  to $128 per bottle – for the same wine!!

For Benchmark Wines, using Winesearcher will demonstrate that we really do offer premium quality wines at value prices.

Really. Try it.

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Wine Snobs Are Right: Glass Shape Does Affect Flavor

Scientists show glass geometry controls where and how vapor rises from wine, influencing taste.

Seeing is smelling for a camera system developed by scientists in Japan that images ethanol vapour escaping from a wine glass. And, perhaps most importantly, no wine is wasted in the process.

Kohji Mitsubayashi, at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University, and colleagues impregnated a mesh with the enzyme alcohol oxidase, which converts low molecular weight alcohols and oxygen into aldehydes and hydrogen peroxide. Horseradish peroxide and luminol were also immobilised on the mesh and together initiate a colour change in response to hydrogen peroxide. When this mesh is placed on top of a wine glass, colour images from a camera watching over the mesh on top of a glass of wine can be interpreted  to map the concentration distribution of ethanol leaving the glass.

Different glass shapes and temperatures can bring out completely different bouquets and finishes from the same wine. So Mitsubayashi’s team analysed different wines, in different glasses – including different shaped wine glasses, a martini glass and a straight glass – at different temperatures.

At 13°C, the alcohol concentration in the centre of the wine glass was lower than that around the rim. Wine served at a higher temperature, or from the martini or straight glass, did not exhibit a ring-shaped vapour pattern. ‘This ring phenomenon allows us to enjoy the wine aroma without interference of gaseous ethanol. Accordingly, wine glass shape has a very sophisticated functional design for tasting and enjoying wine,’ explains Mitsubayashi.

Wine scientist Régis Gougeon, from the University of Burgundy, France, says the work is really interesting when considering its experimental setup, which allows for a rather straightforward and inexpensive detection of ethanol. ‘Bearing in mind the flavour enhancer properties of ethanol, this work provides an unprecedented image of the claimed impact of glass geometry on the overall complex wine flavour perception, thus validating the search for optimum adequation between a glass and a wine.’

In the future the system could help indicate the best wine glass and precise temperature to serve a certain wine.

This article was published in Scientific American and was written by Jennifer Newton and ChemistryWorld. Link to the article: HERE