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Wine and cheese pairing primer takes place in Vail Saturday

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
VAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyJerry Comfort is the senior manager of wine education for Beringer Vineyards. He's given seminars around the world and is a familiar face at Taste of Vail --this is his fourth time attending the culinary festival.
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It’s Taste of Vail, which means it’s completely acceptable to start drinking before noon. That’s what attendees of this morning’s seminar “Wine and Cheese Pairing Made Simple” with Jerry Comfort will do. Comfort is the senior manager of wine education for Beringer Vineyards. He’s given seminars around the world and is a familiar face at Taste of Vail –this is his fourth time attending the culinary festival. Today he’ll teach a room full of people which cheeses and which wines complement each other best, and why. Here he gives the Vail Daily the inside scoop on the seminar, including some simple guidelines to follow at home.

Vail Daily: When did you first realize that cheese and wine complement each other so well? Tell me about that experience.

Jerry Comfort: Since I was a chef for nearly 25 years (10 as Beringer’s exec chef) I always had found all wine regions like wine with cheese but we always don’t like a specific wine and cheese; the pairings don’t always taste that great together. Then at Beringer I’ve been researching the chemistry of wine and food since 1991.



VD: What can attendees expect from your seminar today?

JC: They will have a very interactive experience that helps explain some traditonal and regional pairings. It also simplifies the experience since there are so many wines and so many cheeses and helps then communicate why they like certain cheeses with certain wines. This will assist them when they want a specific cheese with a specific wine or what wines and cheeses to serve at a party.



VD: Rules were made to be broken, but are there any rules for pairing cheese and wine that shouldn’t be broken?

JC: First is that you have to like both the wine on its own and the cheese on its own before you can ever like them together. If you don’t like goat cheese or you don’t like sauvigon blanc, you can never like the pairing.

After that, here are three guidelines:



1. Cheeses low in salt pair easiest to wine low in oak or tannins.

2. Salt balanced cheeses pair well with most wines.

3. Cheeses high in salt pair best with dessert or fortified wines.

VD: What is your all-time favorite, cost be damned, ultimate cheese and wine pairing?

JC: Oh thanks, and which of my two daughters is my favorite! But here’s some favorites; Beringer or Etude Pinot Noir with a great goat cheese; a French triple cream like Pierre Robert with a Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay or Cabernet; then finish with Beringer’s Nightingale (Sauterrne style wine) with a strong blue cheese.

VD: And what’s your favorite simple, can find it in any grocery/liquor store, wine and cheese pairing?

JC: Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon with a good cheddar or gouda.


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