Charcuterie is a great creative way to set up a spread of delicious and healthy snack foods like black olives and cheese. Since you are typically creating a wide range of flavors and textures, including plenty of cured meats, charcuterie goes perfectly with wine. Here are some of the best wines and champagnes to pair with your cheese and cured meat charcuterie spread:
- Red Cabernet, Smoked Hams, and Gouda
- Chardonnay, Dried Salami, and Brie
- Sparkling Red Wine, Duck Prosciutto, and Aged Pecorino
- Riesling White Wine, Prosciutto, and Fresh Mozzarella
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Saucisson D’Alsace, and Semi-firm Aged Cheddar
Wine Pairings: Red Cabernet with Smoked Ham and Gouda
This pairing of wine, meat, and cheese is perfect for anyone who enjoys smokey flavors. Smoked hams like Speck are essentials for most charcuterie spreads. Many meats that you will find in charcuterie are not smoked at all. Instead, they are wet cured or air dried. A smoked meat can be air dried or even wet cured with liquid smoke but most of the big names in charcuterie meats are not treated this way. Liquid smoke is also typically seen as lower quality compared to the real deal. Speck is lightly smoked and is well known throughout Italy, it’s home country. It is usually made in the province of South Tyrol in Northeast Italy. While some may compare it to other types of prosciutto from the area, it is unique enough to stand out on its own.
Speck tends to be aged longer, lightly smoked, and have a darker richer color compared to prosciutto. It pairs perfectly with a red cabernet wine and smoked Gouda. The smoky-on-smoky flavor go together well with a dry red wine. You do not want a wine that is too sweet, so you cannot go wrong with one of the driest types of wine on the market! You can probably get away with a regular Gouda but a smoked one will be much tastier overall.
Chardonnay with Bresaola and Brie Cheese
An interesting mix of flavors and pairing comes in the form of chardonnay and bresaola with brie cheese. This is different from your normal pairings because brie cheese is very creamy. Typically, it is a good move to match the texture and consistency of your dried meats and cheese. So, for a firm dried meat like bresaola, it would be more typically to use a semi-firm or firm cheese. However, the contrast in texture makes for a great combination with a chardonnay. Oak aged Chardonnays go perfect with this combination of cheese and dried meats.
You may be wondering why not use any kind of chardonnay? Well, it has to do with the taste and texture of non-oak aged wines. The oak the wine is stored in provides a unique and strong flavor profile. When chardonnay is not aged in oak, it comes out a bit “lighter” or “leaner”. The flavor profile is less full and strong, which can be a preference when you want less of a wine flavor to shine through your pairings or just want a duller wine. However, it leaves something out when paired with bresaola and brie cheese. The delicious oak barrel flavors are slightly creamy and rice. These traits pair perfectly with the soft, creamy brie cheese and the saltiness of bresaola.
Sparkling Red Wine with Duck Prosciutto and Aged Pecorino
If you are looking for a great combination of sweet and rich, then you cannot go wrong with sparkling red wine and duck prosciutto. The name is as implied, it is a carbonated red wine with prosciutto made from duck. Duck is extremely fat and rich making it an amazing prosciutto that is arguably better than the original. If you are not a fan of duck, then this prosciutto may not be your favorite. It has a strong, gamey duck flavor that is unlike cooked duck where some flavor is broken down and mixed with oils and other flavors. Sparkling red wine breaks through the gamey and salty flavors to reset your pallet in-between tastings.
Aged Pecorino Romano is a type of cheese made from sheep’s milks rather than cow. If you are familiar with sheep’s milk, then you will know it has a unique flavor kind of like duck. That gamey flavor is similar to other lesser eaten cheeses and meats, so it pairs naturally with duck. The wine is the standout in this pairing and essential to balancing the flavors. A dry wine or champagne would not mix well with the saltiness of Pecorino cheeses or prosciutto.
Riesling White Wine with Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella
A common pairing between wine and regular pork prosciutto is the pairing of Riesling white wines and prosciutto with fresh mozzarella. Prosciutto is typically creamy, salty, and light compared to some other meats on this list like bresaola. However, it is arguably the most well-known dried charcuterie meat on this list. If you are building a charcuterie board, then you cannot avoid throwing in some type of prosciutto! Riesling is one of the types of white wine that goes well with the saltiness of prosciutto without being overbearing. It is sweet without being too sugary in flavor while also providing a perfume like aroma. Riesling’s grapes are known for their aromatic quality, so wine made from them still contain that unmatched smell.
Fresh mozzarella is also a type of cheese you will sometimes see in many charcuterie spreads. The creamy texture makes it delicious when paired with crackers and breads, but also with white wine. Riesling is not as sharp as something like red wine, so it blends well with the strong flavors of prosciutto and fresh mozzarella. The contrast in saltiness with the sweetness of the wine is a great combination for any charcuterie board spread.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Saucisson D’Alsace, and Aged Cheddar
Probably the fanciest combination on this list is that pairing of cabernets, saucisson d’alsace, and aged cheddar. Cabernet sauvignon is an extremely popular type of red wine that you will see in every wine section you visit. However, saucisson d’alsace is typically rarer and more difficult to find at your local supermarket. However, there are plenty of online sellers with this sausage. The dried sausage is flavored with a variety of spices such as nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. These strong spices pair well with a strong wine like cabernet sauvignon and sharp flavor cheese like aged cheddar. The sausage originates in the Alsace region in France and is beloved in the area.
When it comes to cheeses of the specific brand of cabernet sauvignon you should use, that is mostly up to preference. For example, aged cheddar cheeses will range from mild to vintage. Mild cheddar is cheese that has only been aged for one to three months. Mild is followed by semi-matured at three to six months and matured at 6 to 12 months. Vintage cheddar are any cheddar cheeses that are one year or older. While matured or vintage may have too strong of a flavor, mild and semi mature can be great choices for charcuterie. Paired with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a great blend of unique flavors and textures that are not typically in a charcuterie spread. The cloves, cinnamon, and other spices in the sausage give it that unique twist that you or your guests will love and wonder about.
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