Wine and cheese gift baskets are some of the most flavorful and complex tasting types of food gifts that you can give. After all, as all wine connoisseurs know, a good wine has a very complex taste. And it is even possible to find out where the wine came from and when it was bottled based on the taste.
When putting together or buying wine and cheese gift baskets, you want to be sure that you get wines and cheese that compliment each other, ones that enhance the flavors of one another.
It can be much too easy to pair a cheese and a wine that will compete. Needless to say, when this happens, one of them wins, washing out the flavor of the second.
A very basic rule to follow when picking out your wine and cheese gift baskets is this: the creamier the cheese, the more acidic the wine you need to pair with it. This is because a creamy cheese can coat the palate, and only an acidic wine can cut through it. It is not worth wasting a good but low acidic red wine on such a cheese – you will not get the full enjoyment of the flavor of the wine.
How acidic a wine is depends entirely on the grapes… what variety they are and where they are grown. This is because the acids found in wines are the same as those found in the grapes they are made from. Therefore, you can expect that two chardonnays, although both made from the same variety of grape, can have different levels of acid.
Grapes that are grown cool climates have a lower acidity than those grown in warmer climates. Similarly, the warmer the climate, the higher the sugar content.
White wines are generally more acidic than red wines. Sweet wines are generally more acidic than table wines (this is because the acid level helps balance out the sweetness). A basic red table wine has an acidity level of 0.6%
Some good acidic wines for wine and cheese themed gift baskets are if you want to give soft cheese (like camembert, gouda, havarti, brie):
- German Rieslings
- red Sancerre
- Vinho Verde
- Piinot Blanc
- Sauvignon Blanc
Less acidic red wines go well with hard and semi-hard cheeses like Gruyere, gouda, permigiano, munster, asiago, and hermitage. Try some of these wines in your wine and cheese gift baskets if you decide to include the above mentioned cheese:
- Pinot noir
- Cabernet franc
- Cabernet sauvignon
With a little bit of forethought and testing you will find just the right combination that suits your tastes.