Throwing a little soiree with your favorite friends this weekend? A meat and cheese board is an ideal way to share with a hands-on approach that pairs beautifully with your favorite alcoholic beverage…wine! There is no one way to make a meat and cheese board though and with that, the complications begin. How do you know what type of wine to serve?
Much of it depends on what you’ve got on your plate, or board in this case. At its most basic, your meat and cheese board should include charcuterie and cheese, though it is best with some additions like olives and pickles, honey and jams (think fig), bread or crackers, nuts, and seasonal or dried fruits. You don’t need all these elements on your board but they make exploring the flavor and textural combinations more fun and the tasting sensations with the wines you’ve paired them with more complex and delightful.
For this perfect pairing though, let’s explore merely the charcuterie and cheese on your board. Here are some suggestions of popular meats and cheeses and what will do them proper justice from your wine selection.
Thinly sliced and pleasurably salty, prosciutto is a good team player for the charcuterie side of things. It’s very versatile too in that you can get away with pairing red or white wines alongside it. That being said though, choose a white that isn’t too acidic, perhaps a Cava. For red, a Rioja is a sublime selection.
With its firm texture and delightful chunks of fat, salami is another popular charcuterie item. This one deserves red all the way, ideally an Italian Barbera because it’s low on tannins and lends a bit of fruitiness.
Pâté tends to be trickier since there are many varieties of it. Foie gras and a sweet white Sauternes are a match made in heaven, but for more rustic pâté offerings, whites that aren’t too oaky and are brightly acidic are best.
Now the fun really begins with cheese. But with cheese, things get tricky because cheeses are as complex and diverse as wines. So we’ll give a small sampling of some ideas here to get you started. For one, you should have at least one soft cheese on your board. Blue cheese is a popular selection and pairs perfectly with Port, or Sauternes will also do nicely on the white side due to the sweetness to contrast that bold cheese.
Brie is another common cheese selection which you should serve with either Pinot Noir to prevent from overpowering the sublime brie flavor or choose Grüner Veltliner because its citrusy profile is wonderful with the creamy texture of this cheese. Parmesan on the other hand, is a bold cheese and a bold wine like Malbec does it proper justice. Want a lighter option? Prosecco will win every time. Who could say no to bubbles?