A report in the Independent casts doubt on the value of using anything other than “plonk” for your next wine and cheese party – “Now, it seems, the organisers of cheese and wine parties were right all along to choose plonk rather than premier crus to go with their fromage.”
The scientific(?) research found that virtually all cheeses masked the flavour of the wine, so pairing with classy claret or burgundy could be a waste of time.
In general I must admit to prefering the matching of cheese and port at the end of a meal, where the richness and sweetness of the wine works well against the cheese. However, I do suspect that careful selection of both the cheese and the wine can produce a good match which enhances the enjoyment of both. Clearly strong flavours need to be matched e.g. the Baque Ossau Fermier with a Madiran from South West France – otherwise one would overpower the other. As a general rule the wine and cheese from the same region often go well together – although this is probably more tradition than science.

The Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Guide to French Cheese could prove very useful in this respect – a real encyclopedia of French Fromage with details of how and where they are made, what they are like, and what to eat and drink with them – and all illustrated in their usual clear style.

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