Perfect Pairings 9

Six wines. Six cheeses. 
One savory holiday soiree.

Holiday cheer is near. While festive dinners and office celebrations will undoubtedly fill your social calendar this season, there’s a lot to be said for impromptu get-togethers. After all, small and spontaneous can be the most fabulous of all.

Luckily, our friends at Venissimo Cheese make holiday gatherings exceptionally special—even those pulled together at the last minute. Owner Gina Freize has created the ultimate pairing menu that harmoniously unites affordable wines from around the globe with palate-pleasing cheeses offering a cornucopia of tastes and textures.

Besides, who isn’t obsessed with wine and cheese? Let the holidays begin!

Pairing One:

Midnight Moon + 
Charles Heintz Rosé 2014

This California-aged goat milk cheese has a mellow nutty, slightly salty flavor that is a perfect complement to the light, refreshing fruitiness of the rosé. As an alternative, the triple cream brie topped with cranberries also pairs nicely in an “opposites attract” sort of way.

Pairing Two:

Queso Leonora + 
Pedro Soutomaior Albarino 2014

A duo that exemplifies the art of terroir, which pairs elements grown or raised in a unique geographic environment. The goats that helped make this Spanish, soft-ripened goat cheese with a lemony kick literally grazed alongside the grapes that created this crisp and slightly tart Spanish wine.

Pairing Three:

Sapore del Piave + 
Son of a Son Italian 2013 Red Blend

This aged Italian cheese made of cow’s milk has a flavor profile and texture similar to a blend between two well-known cheeses: Parmigiano and Cheddar. Add it to the robust, dry tannins and black fruits of this deep red Italian blend, and you have a duo to be truly savored.

Pairing Four:

Honey Bee Goat Gouda 
+ Bluxome 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Young gouda from the Netherlands rubbed with honey, which goes together with the light-bodied fruity, lemon thyme flavors of the sauvignon blanc like chocolate cookies go with frothy milk. You could have one without the other. But why?

Pairing Five:

Marco Polo + 
Carlin de Paolo Barbera d’Asti 2013

Crushed peppercorns add a burst of flavor to this aged cow’s milk cheddar from Seattle. To match the intensity of flavor, the Italian ruby red wine offers a full-flavored nose of cherry, licorice, plum, violet and blackberry.

Pairing Six:

Moliterno + 
Cap Royal 2012 
Bordeaux Superieur

This Italian pecorino is infused with truffles—the diamonds of the earth—before being aged in a cave in Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy. When combined with a complex Bordeaux offering notes of black fruits, strawberries and violets with a touch of toasted bread, the result is pure magic.

You invite the guests. Venissimo’s cheesemongers will do everything else. (For prepared platters, place orders at least a day in advance.) With more than 150 gourmet cheeses in-house, the suggestions here can easily be mixed and matched. Fair warning: in-person taste testing may be required. (Tough job, but someone has to do it.) Bon appetit!