What should you consider when pairing wine and cheese? Why is sparkling wine the perfect pairing for many cheeses? Are there red-flag flavours that signal a bad wine and cheese match? How can you develop your wine and cheese pairing palate? What can you do to make the most of your cheese and wine course when entertaining?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with James Beard award-winning author, Laura Werlin, one of the planet’s most authoritative writers on cheese and cheese and wine pairings.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
- What is the most surprising-but-delicious cheese and wine pairing you need to try?
- Why do sparkling wine and goat brie work well together?
- How can you identify a soft-ripened cheese?
- What should look for when pairing wine and cheese?
- What are the three types of cheese and wine pairings you can identify?
- Are there red-flag flavours that signal a bad wine and cheese match?
- Which wine and cheese pairings should you avoid?
- Why should you make sure to have sparkling wine on hand for pairing?
- What can you learn about cheese from Laura’s books?
- How can learning about the different families of cheese simply your life?
- What should you pair with Limburger cheese?
- Why are you better off pairing cheese with unoaked vs oaked Chardonnay?
- What surprising coating will you find on Valencay cheese?
- How can you develop your wine and cheese pairing palate?
- What role does texture play in wine and cheese pairing?
- What rind-related cheese etiquette rule should you always follow?
- How can you take advantage of the best part of soft-ripened cheese?
- What’s the difference between wine scores and cheese ratings?
- How is truffle cheese made?
- How can you pair sweet wines with cheese?
- What can you do to make the most of your cheese and wine course when entertaining?
- Why did Laura decide to become a writer, with a focus on cheese?
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Sparkling wine – I think that is the overall best cheese-pairing wine there is. - Laura Werlin Click to tweet
I like the rind on that sort of cheese because it offers a textural difference between the creamy inside and the more toothsome rind. - Laura Werlin Click to tweet
I typically don’t pair white wine with triple cream cheeses. It tends to clash. - Laura Werlin Click to tweet
For the most part, I would not pair a red Burgundy with the Burgundy cheeses. - Laura Werlin Click to tweet
About Laura Werlin
Laura Werlin is one of the country’s foremost authorities on cheese. She is a James Beard award-winning author of six books on the subject, is a sought-after speaker and spokesperson for consumer and trade organizations, and is a frequent television and radio guest.
An expert in cheese and wine pairing and in particular American artisan cheese, Werlin received the prestigious James Beard award for her book The All American Cheese and Wine Book. Her book, Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials, received a James Beard Award nomination. Her most recent book, Mac & Cheese, Please! focuses on one of America’s favourite comfort foods, while two of her other books, Grilled Cheese, Please!, and Great Grilled Cheese focus on the other. Her groundbreaking first book, The New American Cheese, published in 2000, set the stage for what is the American artisan cheese movement today.
Laura has been featured on numerous television and radio segments across the country including Fox & Friends, CNN, QVC, the Martha Stewart Show, the CBS Early Show as well as numerous local television and radio shows. In addition, she has been the subject of instructive yet fun cheese-related videos on the popular website chow.com. She also writes for national magazines including Food & Wine, Sunset, Everyday with Rachael Ray, Culture, Saveur and Cooking Light.
Werlin is known for her approachable yet authoritative teaching style and is frequently asked to conduct cheese and wine pairing, cheese education, and cooking classes across the country. She is also a regular instructor at The Cheese School of San Francisco. In addition, she serves as the President of the American Cheese Education Foundation and is a member of the American Cheese Society and Slow Food USA.
When she isn’t eating or teaching about cheese, she can be found jogging on the streets of San Francisco, where she lives, or hiking in the mountains, which she loves.
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Transcript & Takeaways
Welcome to episode 92!
What should you consider when pairing wine and cheese? Why is sparkling wine the perfect pairing for many cheeses? Are there red-flag flavours that signal a bad wine and cheese match? How can you develop your wine and cheese pairing palate? What can you do to make the most of your cheese and wine course when entertaining?
That’s exactly what you’ll discover in this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. I’m chatting with Laura Werlin, one of the best writers on pairing wine and cheese, and she has the awards to prove it.
This conversation took place on my Facebook Live video show a couple of years ago so please keep that in mind as the context for Laura’s comment. Occasionally you’ll hear me respond to a viewer question.
I’ll include links to Laura’s books, the wines we tasted, where you can find us on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class — that’s all in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/92.
We’re just 8 episodes away from number 100. Do you have any ideas on how we can celebrate this milestone together? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me on social media with any ideas you have to make it fun. Of course, there will be wine.
Okay, on with the show!
You can also watch the video interview with Laura that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my chat with Laura Werlin. Here are my take-aways:
I like how Laura makes wine and cheese pairing simple, without dumbing it down: we look for similar flavours like the lemon notes in sparkling wine and goat brie.
She also offers great tips to help us start to identify different cheeses such as a soft-ripened cheese with a bloomy rind, and therefore we can start to narrow down wine pairings.
She also considers how the wine was made, such as whether it was oaked or not, and how that affects the pairing.
She reminds us not to forget texture when it comes to pairing. I especially love how sparkling wine or a wine with great acidity like Sauvignon Blanc cuts through the richness of a creamy cheese like a knife.
You won’t want to miss next week when I’ll be chatting with Jane Masters, former chair of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW). She herself became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997. She also selects all of the wines for Canada’s largest wine buying club.
In the meantime, if you missed episode 19 with Arvid Rosengren who talks about his training to win the World’s Best Sommelier Competition, go back and take a listen. His preparation is not unlike the gruelling studies required for the Master of Wine program. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it, especially one who’s interested in the wine tips Laura shared.
You’ll find links to Laura’s books, the wines we tasted, a full transcript of our conversation, where you can find us on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class — that’s all in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/92nataliemaclean.com/92.
Thank-you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a wine that pairs beautifully with your cheese!
Laura Werlin 0:00
What you’re looking for, ideally, when you are pairing is one of three things. The way I define them is that you have what I call Switzerland. So you have this neutral pairing, and you have the cheese and you have the wine and you have them together and they’re fine. You know, they taste fine. And I think while they play well on the sandbox together, and then you have what I call the Titanic. So as we all know, that didn’t end very well. Oh, and so you have the cheese and you have the wine and together they make these other flavours that you kind of wish you hadn’t had. Luckily, that doesn’t happen very often. One of
Natalie MacLean 0:34
the bad flavours just the clashing or other.
Laura Werlin 0:37
Well, it can be for instance, Sophie so the same kind of cheese that you’re eating the soft ripened cheese. Yes, with that kind of cheese. The rind is the first thing that starts to deteriorate when it’s going downhill. So you will taste that and paste it with wine. And at first it might taste fine, but then all of a sudden it kind of goes south
Natalie MacLean 1:05
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations? Oh, that’s the blend here on the unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie MacLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 92. What should you consider when pairing wine and cheese? Why is sparkling wine the perfect pairing for many cheeses? Are there any red flag flavour That signal a bad wine and cheese match. How can you develop your wine and cheese pairing palette? And what can you do to make the most of your wine and cheese course when you’re entertaining? That’s exactly what you’ll discover. In this episode of The unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m chatting with Laura whirlen, one of the best writers on pairing wine and cheese, and she has the awards to prove it. I’ll include links to Laura’s books, the wines we tasted, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class, and how you can join me on facebook live every second Wednesday at 7pm. Eastern, that’ll all be in the show notes at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 92. This conversation was first recorded a few years ago on Facebook Live, so keep that in mind as the context for Laura’s comments. Were just eight episodes away. Number 100 Do you have any ideas on how we can celebrate this milestone together? Please email me at Natalie at Natalie MacLean comm or tag me on social media with any ideas you have to make it fun. Of course, there will be wine and probably cheese. Okay on with the show.
I can’t think of an easier way to entertain than with wine and cheese, but which wines and which cheeses. That’s exactly what we’re going to explore it with our special guest who joins me from San Francisco. Our guest this evening is one of the planet’s most authoritative writers on cheese and cheese and wine pairings. She’s won six James Beard awards that’s like the Oscars for the food and wine world for her books, and she also was a regular instructor. The cheese School of San Francisco. Welcome Laura whirlen.
Laura Werlin 4:04
Thank you so much for having me. I’m so honoured that you want me as one of
Unknown Speaker 4:08
your guests. I really appreciate it. Absolutely. This is such a popular topic. People are dying to hear from you, Laura and I just did the sort of hi brief outline. fill in the details for us and tell us a little bit about your personal life.
Laura Werlin 4:25
Personal life well well, first of all, let me just say that I did not win six James Beard award, though that would be wonderful. I did however win one and then one of my other books was nominated. Oh, perfect. Didn’t want that James Beard organisation to think well, why she’s claiming all these awards.
Natalie MacLean 4:43
No, it’s not you It’s me. So I’m claiming it so you’ve published six books on the topic of cheese. Cheese. That’s what I conflated but yeah, what we all know they were worthy. Every one of them Oh, James Beard award. So anyway,
Laura Werlin 4:57
so fulfil it in? Yes. So I actually was in a completely different field. I was in television news. And I did that starting in college. I was behind the scenes. I wasn’t too much. I did some reporting as well. But mostly it was behind the scenes. And after doing it for a long time, I decided that I wanted to go off and pursue my passion, which was writing about food. So I took some food writing courses in San Francisco. And then I went to my first conference of what’s called the International Association of culinary professionals, which, if you’re familiar with, yes, and ACP Yes, ICP Exactly, and they have cookbook awards every year. And I sat in this auditorium by myself, I didn’t know anybody at that point in food. And I was inspired just the notion of writing a book, although I had never wanted to do that before. In any case, I knew that if I were to write a book instantly, I knew it was it would be about cheese, and not just cheese, but cheese in America, what was happening with artists and cheese making in the US, and so I never been back from that crazy notion and it was sort of crazy because people thought that I’d lost my mind even TV news to write about American cheese. It’s quite a bit. Yeah, right. They thought it was like What is there to write about single rep slices, you know? Anyway, so it went from there and American artists and cheese is still my focus, though. I talk and write and lecture about Jesus from all over the world. And I certainly travelled to visit cheesemakers in Europe. That is
Natalie MacLean 6:26
wow. And why did you choose cheese lore as opposed to artisan bread or charcuterie or wine even like I mean, I know you do pair cheese and wine, but you consider yourself foremost a cheese expert. So why cheese?
Laura Werlin 6:39
Well, because I loved it. I didn’t know anything about it. But it’s just sort of an example of pursuing your passion. And I, you know, I was just lucky that I was able to find an agent who found a publisher who believed in the idea of a book written by someone who had never written a book and who certainly wasn’t known in cheese, about American cheese, and so I really had a lot of lucky breaks along the way, as far as getting launched, but it was really born of a absolute unadulterated passion, I can identify but on the wind side of things, so I, I get it. And once my first book came out and I went on book tour and all of that, I was asked frequently to do cheese and wine pairings. And I always said sure, because I love wine and I had taken classes in wine but anyway, I wanted to do that and so that is really what led to my second book, which is one of one of your hobby, all American cheese and wine book and that’s just sort of an exhaustive tome on how to pair cheese and wine or wine and cheese depending how you look at Yes,
Natalie MacLean 7:40
right earrings first and then the outfitter outfit first and then the chairs. Anyway. Excellent. Okay, so we’re going to get into very specific pairings Of course here because you’ve suggested some before we had this chat and I’ve been trying to hold back from eating all the cheese’s before the show began. So very Difficult, I must say, because you chose some wonderful combinations. But maybe you can describe one of the strangest, most unusual pairings you’ve had, and why it worked when perhaps we might think it would not work.
Laura Werlin 8:14
Well, at the beginning of my exploration of cheese and wine, I was attending a reception and they had French champagne, and they had a blue cheese from the mountains on the eastern side of France, how blue the jacks and I had never tasted that particular blue cheese before. This was long before I was writing about cheese. But trust me when there was a table with cheese, I went to it. So I tasted this blue cheese with this champagne and happened to be buco and I went crazy for you know, I never would have thought maybe this blue cheese you think of? Well, back then I actually really wasn’t pairing anything. I wasn’t paying attention to that I just like cheese and I like Dwight and I have them together which is true for so many people and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just really fell in love with the bubbles. And then I began to think about it. And you know, when our bubbles serve, they’re served with salty foods, you know whether it’s caviar, right? That’s true. Yeah. So it made sense in that way. And also the fact that a lot of blue cheeses are creamy. And that’s when you want to call into service bubbles because you know, they act as sort of Scrubbing Bubbles to cleanse your palate and then make way for another sip, another bite and bite and sip and it goes like that. But when I was so really naive, I guess about cheese and wine pairing, and sort of the magic that can happen between those two things. That’s when I came upon this cheese and this champagne and Elma,
Natalie MacLean 9:44
well, and you have asked me to get a bubbly what I got was a chandelier, bubbly from California, New York, suggesting an American one. So I was picking wines I could get here locally in Ontario and he wanted me to match that With a goat Brie or other soft ripened goat cheese, which I have as well. So maybe as I sip in Munch, I’ll do the heavy lifting of actually trying these while you just talk. How about that? Oh my gosh, why do these work? Why does it a bubbly and a goat Brie. Why did those particular ones Well,
Laura Werlin 10:21
there’s a cheese actually in the US, okay, called Humboldt fog. I don’t know if it makes its way across the border or not. It’s made close to the Oregon border, but it’s a goat cheese and it’s what’s called a soft ripened cheese. So soft, ripened, is the kind like Brie is the best known. It’s not that white, Louis Ryan, this is called. And so when I had humble bog with sparkling wine, I was just really wowed by the combination. And the reason is because goat cheese has a lemony characteristic to it.
Natalie MacLean 10:50
And why is that? Why does it have that lemony? Is it?
Laura Werlin 10:53
The goats Oreo, I think it’s just the composition of the milk and also the cultures that are added to it. called are what sour milk. So actually goat’s milk right out of the goat is pretty sweet. But then it gets transformed the lactose, the milk sugar gets transformed into lactic acid. And somehow it’s probably the combination of the cultures that goat cheese makers use. And probably something in the middle two, I did not take microbiology in high school or college. So I don’t know what what that is. But what I do know is that the goat cheese is very often the fresher style ones tend to be pretty, like I said, lemonade, and many sparkling wines are too, but for this, I felt like there was a richness also to go breed in particular, and depending how ripe it is, that makes a difference as well. But that would be kind of a nice pairing with a sparkling wine which again, going back to what I said about the bubbles, kind of cleansing the palate, and then also the typical acidity that one finds in sparkling wines would bridge over to that tangy quality that you get in most fresher style goat cheeses. You tell
Natalie MacLean 12:02
me Did it work? It worked? It really did you know what you’re talking about not that you need my validation. But you know the cheese was kind of mouth coating is soft cheeses are and that bubbly cut through like a silver knife. You know it’s acidity and it’s zest. It just it’s beautiful combination. And as you say, one helps the other, you know, you take a sip of the wine then the bite of the cheese, and you want to go back and forth. You don’t say she ate out too quickly, because you’ve got the two of them going.
Laura Werlin 12:33
Yeah, no, that’s exactly right. And I would just like to say to people that first of all, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to pairing. And more than that what you’re looking for ideally, when you are pairing is one of three things. The way I define them is that you have what I call Switzerland, so you have this neutral pairing, and you have the cheese and you have the wine and you have them together and they’re fine. You know they taste fine. Nothing wrong, they play well on the sandbox together. And then you have what I call the Titanic. So as we all know, that didn’t end very well. Oh, and so you have the cheese and you have the wine and together they make these other flavours that you kind of wish you hadn’t had. Luckily, that doesn’t happen very often
Natalie MacLean 13:17
one of the bad flavours just the clashing of other
Laura Werlin 13:20
descriptors to well it can be for instance, it can be so be so the same kind of cheese that you’re eating the soft ripened cheese. Yes, with that kind of cheese, the rind is the first thing that starts to deteriorate when it’s going downhill. And so you will taste that and paste it with wine, and at first it might taste fine, but then all of a sudden it kind of goes south, all you’re left with is sort of a bitter and soapy flavour. So that can happen and another thing that can happen is you can end up with a metallic taste in your mouth and I found that to happen sometimes with blue cheese at certain blue cheeses and super tannic red wine. A lot of people put blue cheese with red wine and I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with that. And then again, I was talking with friends last night who had put a fairly ripe Pinot Noir with a blue cheese, couple of blue cheeses and yeah, and they loved it, but I think would say that is the fruit in the wine. So if you have a really old Burgundy, I think that’s not gonna work. So well.
Natalie MacLean 14:20
No, that’s gonna kill that burgundy. It’s just, yeah, well, it will.
Laura Werlin 14:27
Right, right, right. Well, and then the other kind of pairing that I strive for it is what I call Nirvana. And that’s when you have the cheese and you have the wine. And all of a sudden the angels come and they sing.
Natalie MacLean 14:39
Yeah, what do they sing, Laura?
Laura Werlin 14:42
Just wondering. That’s it. My angels are singing the same tune. Oh, okay. Well, that’s good. They saying that the cheese and the wine are great on their own and boy, are they even greater together. It’s true, though. It’s true. Listen to a heavenly combination, that one on its own, either or could not achieve by it. Self. It’s true. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 15:00
Natalie MacLean 15:01
cloud of sensory pleasure. Yes.
Laura Werlin 15:04
Well, and I was just gonna say along the sparkling wine lines, and that is the, I think the overall best cheese pairing wine there is. So if you have a selection of three or five cheeses, sparkling wine is going to touch pretty much all the basis.
Natalie MacLean 15:20
It is. And you know, sparkling wine, I think is the wine that can handle the toughest food matches. So if you’ve got oysters or all kinds of things, from spicy to eggs to anything, it’s just the one that can take it all. And so I just think, yeah, sparkling wine is terrific with so many Is there any cheese that sparkly wine really doesn’t work with?
Laura Werlin 15:42
Well, that’s one of those cases where if you like the wine and you like the cheese, particularly sparkling wine, it kind of doesn’t matter. But sure, I don’t know that there’s I mean, there may be some of the stronger cheese’s which can sometimes be creamy which is what you do want with sparkling wine, but this There’s a category of cheese or family of cheese called washed rind. And in France, maybe the best known one is a cheese called Equis. Oh, yes, very stinky, right? Yes. Yeah, like ammonia or something. It’s slowly can be yes. Sometimes it’s like into the socks in your gym bag that isn’t out cleaning was nasty. Yeah, they’ve actually done some chemical analyses in it and what you’re smelling in that cheese’s exactly what exists in our human biology, and so people pay money for this. Yeah, exactly. Oh, yeah. Well, I’m one of them. Actually. Aldean cheese called Taleggio, which a little milder, and that might work with sparkling wine, but I think very often, the reason it doesn’t work is because those strong cheeses can kill anything. Yeah, yeah.
Natalie MacLean 16:46
Yeah. So if you have some of your books there, Laura, why don’t we hold them up? And you can tell us a little bit about each one. Can you see it? Yes, we can see that. Yes.
Laura Werlin 16:57
This is the new American cheese as you can see, and this was like Book, okay, and so it has to be five profiles of American cheese makers and eight recipes, and all kinds of information about cheese and about wine and about how cheese is made and the history of cheese making us and things like that. And that’s the one that led to the American cheese, my hood, which is the one that one of the beard award, and this is a and all of these, I assume are available on Amazon or I also. Well, I always say I hope so because I know that the cheese and wine book, it’s in the process of being reprinted. And so that it might be out of stock at the moment. I don’t know for sure.
Natalie MacLean 17:36
Well, congratulations. People can preorder though or put themselves on a waitlist on Amazon. So but that’s a kudos to you.
Laura Werlin 17:43
Well, they’ve already gone to a reprint. Oh, there have been several because this books been out for a while. So it’s just a question now. Yeah, so it’s just it’s publishing speak. We don’t need to go into it because all it does is appointee Frankish. But we authors have a hard time having our books, you know Stay in print anyway. And this is called as easy. And when I was talking about different families, this is what I wrote about here. I think that most people are like me, where you know, you have a wife, for instance, and you’re like, Oh, I can’t remember what it was. Well, same is true with cheese and true. What I contend is that you don’t need to know the exact cheese you had before. All you need to do is be able to describe it a little bit to the cheesemonger who can then point you in the direction of it maybe as similar cheese it might not be the same. I wanted to make cheese more simple because people are intimidated by it and end up buying the same one or two cheeses every time. And so I love people to expand their cheese horizons and particularly in Canada, I’m not kidding the cheese’s up. There are so amazing and I had the good fortune of going to Toronto a couple of years ago and visiting the cheese boutique. I think it’s their cheese cheese. disciples come anyway, blanking on the name the most magnificent store not just cheese though that’s certainly their focus, but they have wonderful products Anyway, you know if you go in there and you see all these cheeses and you think oh my goodness, where do I start? Well first of all a good cheese monger will help you as they do their and also just knowing the families of cheese knowing that you like blue cheese then you know gravitate toward the blue cheese section. No, you don’t like blue cheese, stay away from it. That’s a whole family of cheese that you can avoid or go toward, you know, depending on your preferences. The other three are on grilled cheese and one of them on mac and cheese and let’s see that.
Natalie MacLean 19:36
Okay, grilled cheese. Gotcha.
Laura Werlin 19:39
Not surprisingly, my first grilled cheese book called great was cheese and believe that’s still in print actually. And that has become just so popular. I mean, it was talking about from the day that it was published. And that’s what led to my second book on grilled cheese because it has 50 recipes for grilled cheese. All kinds of fun with grilled cheese. That’s fantastic.
Natalie MacLean 19:59
Steven Andrew says what pairs with limburger? I would
Unknown Speaker 20:03
say beer actually over here. Okay.
Natalie MacLean 20:05
Yeah, question answered. That’s a really strong sticky cheese, right?
Laura Werlin 20:09
It’s very strong and traditionally is paired with beer. And don’t ask me what kind of beer because not a beer expert and this isn’t a beer show. So,
Natalie MacLean 20:18
okay, we’re good. Where’s limberger? From? Is that Switzerland? Or where is that limber? Germany, Germany. Okay. So yes, stinky cheeses. All right. So Laura, let’s go on to the next cheese and wine pairing. You suggested that I get a Chardonnay that slightly oat with I did get avonlea clothbound cheddar from PGI. And with it, I went by Coastal. I’ve got five vineyards from BC Chardonnay from mission Hill, and it’s an unoaked Chardonnay. It’s fresh, it’s crisp, it’s aged and fermented in stainless steel from BC and then with the cheese from P i on the other end. So why would these work.
Laura Werlin 21:00
We don’t really think of paring cheddar with white wine, but because of basically the tankiness that often exists in cheddar. Yeah, sometimes we call it sharp but that’s different. That to me is borderline when it when it says sharp on it, that to me is borderline bitter, which a lot of people like, but it’s not as wine friendly. So the reason I wanted you to get this avidly cheese is not only because it’s really delicious to this, and for those people who haven’t heard of it, it is what’s called advantage fat cheddar. So what that means is right after the cheese is formed into its usually cylindrical shape, it is literally wrapped in cheese cloth. Every cheese makers different they might learn it with actual lard, so spread lard around the outside or butter. And what those things do is that that cheese is going to be sitting on an ageing shelf in with pretty low humidity for quite a while it could be a year maybe the two sometimes. And so that prevents the Rhine from cracking and it doesn’t flavour the cheese at all. It’s just to keep the cheese cloth adhering to the outside of cheese and the whole point of having an age like that is to is because oxygen is that cheeses friend for a variety of reasons. But you don’t want it to dry out and become a rock. That’s why they spread the butter or the lard or whatever it might be on it, you know doesn’t penetrate the cheese. Wow Li Did you suggest a note Shirt Day with this? It’s working beautifully by the way. Oh, I’m glad to hear that. Because oak is not really our friend when it comes to cheese pairing. Okay, as discouraging as that might be particularly white wine. And the reason is because very often they’re going to be nice parity between the sheets and the wine. If it’s super okie again, speaking in the sharpening vernacular at the moment. What ends up happening is that that oak gets exaggerated. So whereas it might have been in balance, just sipping the wine very often a cheese will take it off balance and the Oprah’s there and like oh I don’t want to feel like I’m licking the side of a barrel.
Natalie MacLean 23:00
That’s a good. So these will emphasise the OIC interesting. Yeah. Is it the proteins in the cheese that are somehow?
Laura Werlin 23:07
Well, it could very well be it also could be the fat Believe it or not. Again, I skipped that microbiology class, but I know it’s microbiological in nature the answer to your question, so I don’t exactly know what it is. But I think it’s also how things how we how and where we take things off. I’m sure not all of those things will create that effect. And so what I was hoping with the Chardonnay was that the one the wine might cut through the richness of the cheese because it is a rich cheese. And also that it would match the tagging as in the cheese as well does, it has a zest and then there’s the Tang of the cheese. It’s nice. I would have thought that this cheddar would have needed an oak Chardonnay like to stand up to cheddar, right? It actually is a better combination. Or again, lightly oak and a lot of people ask me, you know, if I want to open that big Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s sitting in my cellar you What cheese what I put with it? It’s the same answer. Actually, it’s this bandage wrapped cheddar because the damaged headers have so much what they call a mommy. That sort of fifth taste. It’s not sweet. It’s not salty, it’s not sour, it’s not bitter, but it’s got that savoury savoury deliciousness. So as long as the rest as long as that Cabernet is, I would say a little on the older side, a super young one as so much pronounced. Oh, that antenna and Yeah, exactly. So you want to mellow those things a little bit and then go for them for that chair.
Unknown Speaker 24:33
Such a good combination. So we’ve got let’s see parmigiana ratio, right,
Laura Werlin 24:39
that was a good great Jesus balanced a for those that don’t know, it’s a goat cheese from the lower Valley and it’s ash covered. So it’s edible vegetable ash, and they used to use that as a means of deterring flies in the pre refrigeration days. The ash has no flavour and it lends a real beauty. Probably everybody has seen it, maybe not known what it was. As in a cheese shop.
Natalie MacLean 25:01
So what is the ash made of?
Laura Werlin 25:03
I have yet to find the actual answer to that because I mean I’ve heard great fine family. Nice. I don’t know because it’s obviously very specialised process because you know that it’s not going to taste like an ashtray and it actually what it does is it does serve to neutralise the surface of the cheese as that cheese ages and that allows to mature and usually there’s the the white rind as well as the ash is very well interesting as a general guideline for people if they can find a white wine from the lower Valley. Yeah, Sicilian Bluff,
Natalie MacLean 25:38
where Shannon blah, you were saying with this cheese pairing, you did not want me to get a New Zealand or a South African sewing for this purpose. So why not those?
Laura Werlin 25:50
Well you certainly can I just find them to be so sort of assertive on the on the grapefruit front and right on the you know on the gooseberry and all the things that Define the southern hemisphere, so many of us but I don’t find it as happy a marriage with these kinds of goat cheeses as I do those from the northern hemisphere. But as I said early on, you know, if you liked the cheese and you liked the wine, go for
Natalie MacLean 26:16
it. And so I have one from Sauvignon Blanc from Monterey, California cool climate. And I finding this is not so aggressive on fresh cut grass, rev your lawn mowers type thing. So it’s got more of the lime citrus lift. And I think it’s working well with the goat cheese as well.
Laura Werlin 26:34
Yeah. So I mean, again, you know, some of your blog, it does depend what the style is, you know, in terms of what it’s going to marry with. But, you know, most of all, I encourage people to try all these things on their own and get, say three different kinds of some young blog, and a goat cheese or maybe three, go to just whatever but really kind of mix and match and see what works for you and then try to make it About what is it is it Fisher’s tankiness and both but I’m really, you know, fine works well together. And also one of the things that matters with cheese and wine pairing is not just flavour, but texture. So you have a light wine like Sonia blog or Pinot Grigio, it’s probably not going to marry quite as well. With the cheese. It has a heavier, creamier texture, too big basically, we want to pair textures of cheese and wine. So with that creamy cheese, we might be better off with a Chardonnay, which has more mouthfeel more fullness in the mouth than some your boss? Yes, absolutely. So speaking of Chardonnay, I’ve got also from that same winery in Monterey, a Chardonnay from the cool climate. What would this go well with a cool climate Chardonnay? Well, I guess we already talked about the mission Hill but this is a California Chardonnay in this case. Would this be working with Brie or something? Yes, I was just gonna say Absolutely, and even a triple cream might work. So what a triple cream is it’s a cheese that looks like Brie, but they’ve added cream to the bat with the milk to boost the better fat and richness. Some of the best known ones are explorer tour or son Andre three Severin re ephedra, absolutely one of my favourites. And that too is very good with sparkling wine. For the same reason the the bubbles and the cream are just terrific together. I’m now licking my fingers because the cheese is melting. But anyway, we have an amazing cheese up here called Riopelle, named after the comeback artist Sean Paul rappelle and triple cream breach. Yes, it is amazing and it’s sliding off my plate Fast and Furious. I’m glad you got that. Yeah, I actually had that when I was in Toronto. I did a cheese and wine seminar at Toronto food and wine at the time and this was maybe two years ago and rebel got on my radar. And we had a seminar and it’s darn good. It’s really good.
Unknown Speaker 29:05
And we can eat the rind on this right?
Laura Werlin 29:07
Yeah, well, that’s personal preference. Okay, so two things when you have in mind that kind of cheese. In other words, the soft breakfast. Yeah, so one. That is, as I said earlier part of the cheese have to do first, is that right? So if that’s the case, it’s going to smell and maybe even taste a little bit like ammonia. And not that anybody has actually tasted ammonia, I hope, but we know what it smells like. So that’s where you wouldn’t eat the rice. Because the inside of the cheese might still be okay, once the cheese’s gone though it’s gone. But then the other thing is, is it really is personal preference. I like the rind on that kind of cheese because it offers a textural difference between the creamy inside and the more toothsome. Right? So I like that textural contrast. Not everybody does. The one thing I would say is when you go to your holiday parties this year, if there’s a cheese like that, On the table, do not dig out the centre and leave the right behind and she’s etiquette one on one. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Just cut the whole piece and eat what part you want and wrap the rest of your napkin and I don’t care. Put it on your host pillow but just don’t.
Unknown Speaker 30:16
That’s really high. You’ve seen the detritus on a salad bar or cheese.
Natalie MacLean 30:23
I wonder if there’s any parallel between sort of meat that’s close to the bone and cheese that’s close to the rind. Is it juicy or sweeter? more flavorful? The cheese? That’s right beside the Rhine the way the meat is, without pork chop?
Laura Werlin 30:38
Yeah, no, it’s a great question. So the reason that it’s called soft ripened is because it ripens or ages, or as it does that it gets softer. You know, most cheeses get harder. It’s a process of moisture loss, but the interaction of bacteria and moulds that create that white line and the proteins in the cheese serve to break down that cheese and that begins Just under the Rhine. So very often you’ll see a cheese like a grade that looks almost like it’s three layers, you’ve got the rind, and you’ve got a creamier layer, and then you’ve got a little more chalky, a little more solid with the flavour of acidity, a slightly different colour maybe a little whiter. So when you eat the rind, you’re going to get every morsel of that creaminess that’s starting to happen. And I love that again, though not everybody likes that right? So all you have to do is use a big knife like a butter knife really to dig out that creamy part because that’s where the goods are exactly like me posted about
Unknown Speaker 31:36
nice some great questions here JP excellent question wines have a point system and why doesn’t or does cheese have a point system?
Laura Werlin 31:46
I mean, why don’t have a point system based on the magazine in which they are appearing right. So if it’s my spectator, but that’s their point system. There isn’t. I don’t take an official Well, there probably is you could answer this better normally, but an official point system I suppose. When you’re judging in cheese, we do have a point system in the sense that there is cheese judging, and depending how that contest or competition has been structured, they get ratings, you know, be 100 or it might be one 250 or they’re all different ways of doing there isn’t however an official one. It is true. And probably just because there isn’t a magazine to champion that cause at least not yet. There are two wonderful chief magazines one called culture and the other is called she’s kind of sort of closer rate magazines, but neither of them rates cheese’s like that.
Natalie MacLean 32:33
Yeah. Okay. Louise says she just purchased a triple cream Brie from Quebec. Which wine should she pair with it? She’s got Cabernet Franc or a piano or something else? Well, I’m afraid I would
Laura Werlin 32:47
go for the bubbles or the white wine with that, but maybe that maybe the Pino would work. It’s so hard to know what the style of these lines are that you know that you have there, but I typically don’t care right? With triple cream cheeses, it tends to clash. And it’s it’s kind of closer to my Titanic analogy. But it’s Mr. Linder Nirvana. And the reason is that the cream in that cheese tends to find tannins, that even if you have a lightly tannic red wine or even white line with oak, it tends to find those tenants and exaggerate them so amazingly that you’re like, wait, this one was in such great balance, and now I’m facing with the cheese and so much. That’s true. Yeah.
Natalie MacLean 33:32
Sam has joined us from BC best pairings for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir. And you actually suggested I get a Pinot Noir with the truffle cheese, which I think I’ve eaten all of it, but I’ll see if there’s a scrap here left for me to try. Because that is
Laura Werlin 33:50
just addictive. So truffle cheese. Maybe tell us first what truffle cheese is? Yeah, so it can be made with cow’s milk or sheep’s milk. Not typically goat’s milk. little flecks of truffle our attitude of not truffle oil, though sometimes there is a cheese maker in Italy who adds a little to the run. But basically it’s just little flecks of truffle of black truffle that are added to the milk and then then it becomes a truffle cheese. And of course they’re very aromatic and flavorful. So the cheese ends up tasting like trouble. But then you’ve got this sort of creating background for it. And troublesome cream all in one bite.
Unknown Speaker 34:26
It reminds me of chocolate cake with this raspberry swirl through the middle. The swirl being the truffle and it’s so addictive. I mean, oh,
Laura Werlin 34:34
yeah. What cheese did you get? I don’t think I’ve seen this one.
Natalie MacLean 34:38
Well, no, but it’s the truffle cheese. And it Oh, I see what you’re saying. Yeah, just comparing it. You know, the way they’ve inflected it with the truffle through the middle. It’s like you’re digging through that cake to get to that core. That’s exactly right. Yeah,
Laura Werlin 34:51
but but it’s scattered throughout which is pretty great. Yeah. So truffles and mushrooms. That’s when you start to go into burgundy region, you know, the red, you know, because it’s got those essences those aromas in the wine itself. Exactly. That’s exactly why that is the main reason. It’s not always easy to find pairing with pm. But that one was typically across the board. And I think the question was also about preventing Jesus. To be honest, even when I was visiting a preeminent cheese maker, they’re the one who makes basically made it boss the way what we know it to be today, and he would not serve his strong cheese with peanut he served it to us with the white bourbon because there aren’t that many prevenient cheeses, at least that I know about. And most of them tend to be in the triple cream or washed right category. So for the most part, I would not pair a red Burgundy, Pinot Noir from burgundy. With the burgundy cheeses. I would go further afield to some of the harder cheeses that are made outside of Earth. compete. Yeah, yeah. If I could just finish them with this one, please. We’ll finish with desserts. Okay, sweet wines, you want to just do you want to have an equal and opposite contrast. So you want to be a super salty cheese, then we can go for that port or that super sweet. And you know that I love ice wine. That’s just a great way to go with blue cheese. So that’s really what you’re looking for. If you have just a mildly salty cheese, you only want a mildly sweet wine because otherwise the wine will taste too sweet and you want to achieve. So just show equal and opposite. You’re good to go.
Unknown Speaker 36:36
That sounds great. So many good things to try. Is there something we haven’t covered that you would like? Oh my
Unknown Speaker 36:42
goodness. I know. It’s a big topic.
Laura Werlin 36:44
Yeah, well, I mean, so whenever you’re entertaining, you’re serving the cheese before dinner, like as an appetiser. We want to have savoury accompany as opposed to sweet lunch so say you like olives or maybe even Carnell Onions which are sweet but they also are kind of savoury too, okay, those kinds of things that go with with and then you only want maybe three cheeses because you don’t want people to ruin the appetite. Or if you’re sitting after dinner that I recommend serving just one cheese and getting the purpose wine for the perfect cheese, the perfect one. And if it’s going to be the wine that you’re continuing with from dinner, you know big red wine and you want to get probably that cheddar we talked about that bandage wrap cheddar from PPI or you want to finish with a triple cream, it’s almost dessert like, and then you can have like a sweet accompaniment, maybe even a little honey or something like that. Or a jam. And then sweet wine. Yeah. And that’s a great way to either end meal entirely or create a bridge between your main course and dessert.
Natalie MacLean 37:48
Oh, so good. Oh my goodness. Okay, we need part two. Laura, we know your books are on amazon.com Where can we find you online? Your website, your social media? What would you Like to Betcha Where can we find you?
Laura Werlin 38:01
Well, my social is Twitter and on Instagram, it’s cheese lady. So it’s CH, e z, e led y. Okay. Facebook, Laura warlin or Laura v world and I post on both can be ism boy, or my website is Laura world calm.
Natalie MacLean 38:18
That’s excellent. And a nice little sound effect there too, that
Laura Werlin 38:24
this is so informative.
Natalie MacLean 38:26
This is a huge topic, but we learned so much so many great insights. So, Laura, thank you so much. We’re going to wish you all the best for your upcoming books, your existing books, the sales of those. Thank you so much for joining us.
Laura Werlin 38:41
Well, thank you for having me. It’s totally My pleasure. And maybe I can take one of your new online courses so I can learn still more about why because I think you’d be a great teachers though.
Natalie MacLean 38:50
So I didn’t send you the $20 bill for that one. But,
Unknown Speaker 38:55
Laura, anyway. Well, very nice,
Natalie MacLean 38:58
great topic. You’ve got to back there, Laura
Unknown Speaker 39:00
Natalie MacLean 39:08
Well there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Laura warlin. Here my takeaways. Number one, I like how Laura makes wine and cheese pairing simple without dumbing it down. We look for similar flavours like the lemon notes in sparkling wine and a goat Brie, too. She also offers great tips to help us start to identify different cheeses such as a soft ripened cheese with a bloomy rind, and therefore we can start to narrow down our wine pairings. Three, she also considers how a wine is made, such as whether it was open or not and how that affects the pairing. And four, she reminds us not to forget about texture when it comes to pairing. I especially love how a sparkling wine or a wine with great acidity like Sauvignon Blanc cuts through the richness and the texture of a creamy cheese Like a knife you won’t want to miss next week when I’ll be chatting with Jane masters former chair of the Institute of masters of wine. She herself became a master of wine, and MW in 1997. She also selects all of the wines for Canada’s largest wine buying club. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 19 with Arvid, Rosengren, who talks about his training to win the world’s best sommelier competition, go back and take a listen. His preparation is not unlike the gruelling studies required for the master of wine programme. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
Unknown Speaker 40:41
The key if you want to become a good blind taste or for spirit, it’s exposure I think you got to smell a lot. Usually the wine tasting of bears are sort of they put out eight classes. My goal is to be able to nail five or six on smell alone, so that I don’t have to start tasting until the very end because once you start tasting, you start messing with your palate and everything becomes difficult. You have to nail more than half of it on the nose alone and then move to your spirits are usually so sort of defined by their category in the sense that it’s pretty easy once you learn the set of archetypes to start getting there.
Natalie MacLean 41:17
And doing that, like a tequila is always easily identifiable versus a Cabernet.
Unknown Speaker 41:23
Exactly. Even if they’re a difference. The difference is also marked worse, a difference in wine can be very subtle. Now sometimes you get off the taste like now back and that kind of thing. You don’t get that with spirits. If it’s a scotch, it’s very different for bourbon, and it’s always going to be very good.
Natalie MacLean 41:44
If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it. Especially one who’s interested in the wine and cheese pairing tips that Laura shared. You’ll find links to Laura’s books, the wines, we tasted a full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free Online wine and food pairing class and where you can find us on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 92 Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a wine that pairs beautifully with your cheese.
You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash subscribe, maybe here next week. Cheers