By Natalie MacLean
Double- and triple-cream cheeses are tough to match with wine because their creamy texture can smother wine and make it taste thin. But who can resist a rich brie, its white lava oozing onto your baguette and its creamy aromas blooming in your mouth?
A good match is a robust white, such as a barrel-fermented or barrel-aged chardonnay that has undergone a malolactic fermentation from California, Chile or Australia. Such wines have aromas of vanilla, smoke, toast, and various woods, such as cedar, oak, or pine.
Both the cheese and the wine have creamy, buttery aromas and texture. However, oaky white wines may clash with other cheeses that have more butterfat: they can taste bitter, more of wood than of fruit. The same principle holds true for tannic red wines, especially young ones, such as New World cabernet and shiraz, which are among the toughest to match with cheese.
Another good match is sparkling wine—a great fall-back for many tough-to-match foods. Bubbly helps to diffuse salt and cut through fat with its palate-cleansing acidity and effervescence. Your best bets are French champagnes, Italian moscato d’asti or New World sparklers from California, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
You’ll find my reviews of wines to pair with cream cheeses here.