Cheese and wine lovers unite and celebrate. This new book “Tasting Wine & Cheese: An Insiders Guide to Master the Principles of Pairing” gives great suggestions about wines, cheese, and pairing them together. It is written by Mr. Adam Centamore, who is a wine and cheese educator in the Boston area. He has WSET certification on the wine side and is a portfolio administrator for the wine purveyor, Bin Ends.
The book is divided into seven sections, and starts you off with the basics; How to taste (wine and cheese). You find that the process is quite similar between them. There is the “look”, “aroma”, and “taste”, that you follow to evaluate and appreciate the wine and cheese. Cheese though does has one additional component, the “feel or texture”, that Adam discusses. You can feel cheese between your fingers, as well as in your mouth. Feel or texture does overlap with “taste” in wine, as you do consider mouthfeel.
Once past this point, the next section of the book takes you into the Basics of pairing wine and cheese. Here Adam takes you through things such as considering dominant flavour, spice, temperature, etc. of the cheese and wine. From here he moves you into considering complementary and contrasting pairings. This chapter is an important step for people venturing into wine and cheese pairings.
From here the book covers 4 different types/styles of wines and the cheeses to pair with them. He covers:
- Sparkling wines
- White wines
- Red wines
- Dessert wines
For each of these wine categories, e.g. White Wines, he breaks them down into different varietals, such as Albarino, Chardonnay, Riesling and Viognier. What I particularly like about the discussion in these 4 sections is that Adam covers grapes, or wine styles that you are probably familiar with, like Champagne and Riesling, but he also delves into wines and styles that may be completely new to you, such as Lambrusco and Verdicchio. So this book to me is more than just pairing wine and cheese, it is also learning about wines that you may have never heard of before, which may give you the push to seek them out from your local bottle shop.
The same can be said for cheese. I do have a range of cheeses that I know and enjoy, but I am learning about other cheeses that I may want to consider when I open a bottle of Riesling for example. Instead of going with a slice of Cheddar, why not try Oma or Tomme de Savoie? Some of the cheeses listed in the book may be more difficult for you to find if you live in smaller cities or towns, but if you are in a large city like Vancouver, there should be a few decent cheese shops, such as Les Amis du Fromage, or a grocery store like Whole Foods that has a wide selection for you to choose from.
The book wraps up discussing Condiments, and their effect on pairings. You can have sweet or savoury condiments that you can add to your wine and cheese pairing, such as honey or herbs, that can take your pairing from ordinary to extra ordinary.
I think that this is a wonderful book, easy to read, and has beautifully shot pictures on almost every page, that I would recommend this as a Christmas gift to the wine and cheese lover in your family. Enjoy!