Why Wine and Cheese Pair Well

What’s more indulgent than a glass of wine and rich cheese? Sure, they’re each delicious on their own, and they’re even better together. Yet it’s not just that. Wine and cheese pairings go beyond that simple of an answer. What is it exactly that makes the two work so well together?

Wine Tannins | Wine and Cheese Pairings | Rainstorm Wines

Astringency & Wine Tannins

Think of it this way. A hamburger tastes really good with a pickle. You have one food that’s fatty and has oils that linger on your tongue. The other food, the pickle, can be acidic and just a little sour. These mouthfeels are complementary. They link together well and they give us a really good feeling that goes beyond just taste alone.

This is the same reason that oil goes well with vinegar, and that cheese goes well with wine. The key here is astringent compounds, such as wine tannins. These bind to proteins that act as lubricants, returning a more natural mouthfeel as we drink.

A Sensation That Builds

Every time you take a bite of cheese, your mouth is coated in lubricant proteins. Every time you take a sip of wine, those wine tannins bond to those proteins and remove them. You’re not just delivering different tastes to your mouth, you’re asking your tongue to react in different ways with each bite and sip.

Now, astringents don’t just feel the same way every time. Their effect builds so that each sip of wine you have, the effect is perceived as stronger. This is why the first sip of wine in a meal may hint at this effect, but the fifth or sixth sip has your mouth reacting to it in full.

Good Habits

Wine and cheese pairings go well because they take advantage of this effect in flavor and mouthfeel…and also in portions. Our habit is to alternate: one bite, one sip, one bite, one sip, over and over again. This repeats that astringency effect over and over so that we feel it more strongly every time. It’s a very satisfying feeling that makes us feel involved in our wine and cheese choices in a way that really does go beyond taste.

Ready for a little snack?

5 Tips for Enjoying a Wine Festival

A wine festival is a great way to kick back and have fun. Make the most of each minute – and each delicious sip!

Regional Wine Tasting | Wine Festival | Rainstorm Wines

Will You Be Tasting?

Know beforehand whether you’ll be wine tasting or not. If you change your mind there, you might not be OK to drive afterward.

In this case, bring along a designated driver. They’ll still have fun, and even though they can’t try the wines, they’ll still have delicious food and good conversation. Rely on this, or spit the wine out in one of the buckets that’s available. Even if you do this, know that you may ingest some wine, so it’s a good idea to…

Try the Sample Food

Sample some foods while you’re there. You can’t really get a bearing on which wines you like if you’re not pairing them with a bit of food. A regional wine tasting should offer scrumptious fare to highlight the gorgeous flavors. And it’ll help you avoid getting too tipsy!

Score It

One of the best parts of a wine tasting is keeping track of your favorites. Score cards will be available at most festivals. This also helps you note good pairings if you purchase wines.

You probably think going in that you’ll be able to remember the wines you like best off-hand, but after a tasting the chances are good your mind might be a little…unfocused. You’ll be frustrated if you forget all the details of your experience, so go ahead and write down what you like. Another good idea is to take a picture with your phone of the labels from the wines you like.

Diversify

A regional wine tasting will typically have a very wide selection of wines, with different philosophies behind each. This allows you to sample a number of takes on your favorite kinds of wine, as well as a range of others.

Often, someone will stay away from a certain kind of wine until they find a take on it they love. A wine festival is exactly where you’ll find that new angle on a varietal that will make it one of your favorites.

Talk to Others

Wine festivals are best enjoyed when you meet and greet other lovers of the vine. Maybe it’ll be about the wine, or maybe it will be about sports or the surrounding nature or anything else. It’s a good opportunity to relax and be part of a spontaneous community.

Ready for your next wine festival? Above all – just enjoy (responsibly)!

A Guide to Halloween Wine and Candy Pairing

Remember when you were a kid? You’d go out for Halloween and come back with a bag full of treats. Best. Night. Ever! As an adult, it’s difficult to capture the same magic. Or is it? Four words: wine and candy pairing.

Halloween Wine and Candy Pairing | Rainstorm Wines

Candy Corn and Prosecco Contrast

For candy corn, try prosecco. The bubbles complement the sweet, smooth candy. The candy corn will have a creamy texture to it that the prosecco brings out by contrast.

Snickers and Syrah Find Balance

Yum… chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and nougat. This is perfect for a rich red wine that mixes each of these flavors. You’ll taste everything become more pronounced – both the Snickers flavors and the complex red.

Skittles Love Sauvignon Blanc

Skittles delightful blend of flavors is perfectly offset by a dry white wine. Try a sauvignon blanc. It helps accentuate the flavor so much that you may, at long last, be able to really taste the rainbow!

Tootsie Rolls & Port

Anyone else have metric ton of Tootsie Rolls after trick-or-treating? Pair them with port. It’s a perfect complement because the Tootsie Roll will help that smooth, sweet taste linger on your tongue all the longer.

Butterfingers Need Chardonnay

Here’s something that’s tougher. Butterfingers aren’t a complex candy. Their taste is a pretty straightforward butterscotch flavor. A more acidic, less oaky chardonnay cuts through this flavor perfectly for a really unique mouthfeel.

Even More Halloween Wine and Candy Pairings

Experiment! Peanut butter tastes exquisite with jammy fruit flavors, so Reese’s candies pair well with dry, quality lambruscos evoking raspberry and violet flavors. Lots of candies have almond in them. Fortified sherries fold in an element of a whiskey-like taste, which pairs perfectly. Milk chocolate pairs well with light and medium reds, while dark chocolate deserves a peppery syrah or leathery malbec.

Experiment with wine and candy pairing. You know your candies. You know your wines. Become a Halloween wine scientist, and test out your maddest creations!