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Understanding the Basics while Exploring New Approaches to Wine and Cheese Pairing

By Greg Acinapura, Industry Expert

Earlier this month, at an exclusive event in a Philadelphia restaurant, Bistro Romano, two very different distributors met for a night of palette symphony.  While one distributer, Vintus, focused on the aging and fermentation of grapes, the other distributer, DiBruno Brothers, focused on the aging and fermentation of milk. The harmony was undeniable to the small crowd of people who came for a lesson in building wine and cheese pairings.  While the classic pairings have been around for centuries (Chianti Classico and Parmigiano Reggiano, or Chardonnay and Camembert, for example), the modernists of Generation X and Y have disrupted the old world norms and are more open to exploring contrasts instead of compliments.  

Although the group was certainly ready to throw out the old guard rules to pairing, they did actually want to understand the fundamentals.  As with any meal, the consumer should begin with more subtle flavors to wake the tongue and then work their way to heavier and more complex tastes and textures.  This could not be more true for wine and cheese.  Which brought us to our first basic rule— cleanse the palette!  Throughout the day, taste buds take a beating.  Coffee in the morning, quick lunch in the early afternoon, gum, snacking, talking; all of these contribute to the taste buds being overworked and therefore not able to pick up on subtle nuances.  How to cleanse, you ask?  BUBBLES! Champagne, Prosecco, or Sparkling Rose are a great way to get the taste buds to stand at attention.  We elected to start with a Prosecco called Tenuta Filodora from the Veneto Region.