jamie goode's wine blog

Friday, October 06, 2006

So, is cheese and wine matching dead, as a recent paper research paper by Berenice Madrigal-Galan and Hildegarde Heymann of UC Davis suggested? [Aside: this wasn't the conclusion of the paper, but it was the theme picked up on by the extensive news coverage this article received, e.g. here.]

Last night I was delighted to be invited to a special wine and cheese pairing, held by chef and food writer Francis Percival and his partner Bronwen Bromberger of Neal's Yard Dairy. Francis and Bronwen wanted to investigate wine and cheese pairing in a semi-scientific way, and invited four tasters to participate - two with expertise in wine, and two in cheese.

The cheese dudes were Randolph Hodgson (who as the driving force behing Neal's Yard has almost single-handedly has been responsible for the revival of great British cheese) and affineur Bill Ogelthorpe. Wine was covered by the legendary Jancis Robinson and myself. I felt like a non-league footballer who'd just been asked to play in a midfield consisting of Zidane, Gerrard and Ronaldinho.

With a range of wines (doctored and undoctored), plus some very special cheeses (a few of which were doctored also) we had a very interesting time. I also learned a great deal about cheese. I'll write up the findings in full on the main site. In brief, cheese and wine can work well, but the traditional wisdom on ideal matches doesn't necessarily stand up to scrutiny.
(Pictured: Bronwen standing, Randolph at the head of the table, Bill looking away, Jancis nearest).


At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Luis Gutiérrez said...

Soft paste, white wine, hard paste, red wine seems to be a simple rule that works (most) of the time. If you could read Spanish I've written some articles about the subject, Jamie.



At 1:16 PM, Blogger Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg said...

The study you cited focused exclusively on *red* wines. A call for serving *white* wine with cheese was echoed time and time again in our interviews with more than 70 leading pairing experts for our new book WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers. Jean-Luc Le Du, the James Beard Award-winning former sommelier of Restaurant Daniel in NYC, dubbed Alsatian Gewurztraminer "the most cheese-friendly wine in the world."

Delicious wishes,
Karen & Andrew

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Aidan said...

Congratulations Bronwyn and Francis - didn't know you knew these swank folks!

A nifty other exercise to try at Neal's Yard, btw, is tasting the "same" cheese at different stages of maturation - more like a cheese vertical than following a single vintage, but the evolution of the cheese really suggestive of the analogies between wine and cheese more generally as complex, fermented products with funny relationships to oxygen :)...

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Luis, wish my Spanish were better (erm...existed at all). Would always be interested to read anything you have written.

Karen and Andrew - thank you for sending me your book. Review will follow shortly. We had a Marcel Deiss Gewurz in the tasting that was a beautiful wine and went well with many of the cheeses.

Aidan, you know these guys? I've been hearing good things about you. We must drink wine some time. How much longer are you at Cambridge?

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Luis Gutiérrez said...

Well, I've always wished elmundovino was bilingual Spanish-English, but I have always failed to convince the boss :-(



At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Aidan said...


Hey, I'd love to meet up sometime - I'm finishing up my PhD thesis now (literally - was up until 4 last night), but I'm around Cambridge through Nov. 1st and would enjoy chatting with you some time. After the 1st, I'll be off to a postdoc in UC San Diego, but I'll be back in the UK somewhat sporadically throughout the year, and the Blind Wine Society here will be going very strong without me (heh - probably stronger).

I fear my connection with Francis and Bronwyn is somewhat tenuous, really (Bronwyn being a friend of my lass here in Cambridge), so my experience with them doesn't go too far beyond a cheese tasting and a dosa supper at Diwana Bhel Poori, but 'twas enough time to convince me that they're really great folk. Anyways, should you like to meet up, feel free to PM me on ukwineforum or just pop me an email at ac420[at]cam.ac.uk. Cheers!


At 4:53 PM, Blogger Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg said...

Hi Jamie,

Delighted to know you received your copy of WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT -- we're occasionally fearful that our transcontinental packages will end up sitting in a dusty customs office somewhere....Glad to know this one made the voyage successfully!

Karen & Andrew

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