No food has one single, perfect wine pairing. Rather, different pours will highlight different qualities of the comestible in question. And the more complex the food, the more ways there are to experiment.
Brie is a soft ripened cheese that’s classified as a bloomy rind, from the historic Brie district of France (in present-day Île-de-France, the region immediately surrounding Paris). It can be made from cow or sheep milk, but the former is more common. It’s mild, but still plenty layered, boasting nuttiness, sweetness, creaminess and more, and the wine you choose to drink with it can make all the difference in the flavors you perceive.
With a fairly high fat content, Brie’s primary character is rich and gooey. Chardonnay has plenty of body to match that creamy sensation. Plus, its bright acidity will cleanse the palate to keep the richness from becoming too overwhelming.
The nutty notes in this cheese are fairly delicate; think almonds and pine nuts, rather than toasted walnuts or pecans. A lightly oaked Chenin Blanc will have similarly subtle nutty notes, as well as apple characteristics that contrast and highlight nuttiness.
Brie’s got a mushroom-like hint of earthy funk that will be more prominent in aged offerings. An Old World Pinot Noir is the perfect option to match that funk, as it’s also light-bodied enough that it won’t overpower the cheese.
Like fresh-churned butter, Brie can have a delicately sweet flavor. A slightly off-dry Riesling will really highlight that fresh dairy sweetness, while still maintaining plenty of acidity to keep the pairing out of cloying territory.
Beaujolais has lots of bright, fresh red fruit notes. The inherent tartness in those will bring out the tang of this cheese, which is a good idea if you want to downplay Brie’s creaminess.
Published: March 28, 2019