Wine and cheese. What a wonderful phrase! Kind of like hakuna matata… pairing wine and cheese “ain’t no passing craze!”

Creating a cheese platter is one of the easiest things you can do when you’re hosting a gathering of any size. Plus, most grocery stores have a large variety of cheeses, so it’s simple to find a taste for everyone.

If you want to make a full charcuterie board, a.k.a. meat and cheese tray, there are some simple tips I like to use. I’ve outlined them for you in the video below.

As for the wine side of wine and cheese, I really enjoy white wine. I was a chardonnay gal for years, but recently, my palate has veered toward the lighter vibe of sauvignon blanc. My absolute favorite right now is by Cakebread Cellars.

2018 Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, USA (750ml)

It’s from California and therefore it’s not as citrusy as its New Zealand counterparts. In other words, it’s smooth but light. I don’t drink wine regularly, so when I do, I buy what I love. It is just a wonderful wine to enjoy.

If you like a bit of a grapefruit zing, I’ve found Kim Crawford or Spy Valley Satellite Sauvignon Blanc are hard to beat. Very refreshing on a hot, summer day!

I’ve also found a Pinot Gris from Oregon that is affordable and always a favorite among guests. It is by A-Z Wineworks. Really delicious with chicken and seafood and lighter pasta dishes.

A to Z Wineworks - Products - 2017 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris Copy

While I do gravitate towards white wines, there are a few red wines I’ve started to enjoy more and more too.

Clos du Val has a blended red called The Three Graces that is a nice introductory red wine.

Frog's Leap Merlot

If you like a merlot, try Frog’s Leap (a long time fave vineyard of mine, their chardonnay is excellent too! Actually, I’ve never tried one of their wines that I DIDN’T enjoy).

If you want to try a nice cabernet, I like DECOY Vineyards. And if there’s a special occasion, check out the Italian section of your local wine store and find a Brunello di Montalcino. A beautiful wine that pairs deliciously with meats, red sauce pastas and even a dark chocolate dessert.

While I offered my “rule of 3’s” in the charcuterie video above, I also want to call out a couple of favorite cheeses I always like to include when I entertain. When you want to keep the idea of wine and cheese simple, you can’t go wrong here.

Sartori makes a BellaVitano cheese that I just adore. It’s a harder cheese with a nutty yet slightly sweet flavor. But they take this cheese to the next level with hints of Raspberry or Chardonnay or their top of line, Gold. I find it in the deli case section of my regular grocery store. And for best flavor, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. If I could only eat one cheese with a glass of wine, it would be this cheese.

I also love a good cheese spread, and my latest obsession is by DiBruno Brothers. They make a cheddar and horseradish spread that blows my mind. It has a little bacon in there too, so it’s smoky and tangy and just a dream on crackers. They have other flavors….pinot gris and fig, abbruzze, and port wine, to name a few. If your area carries this brand, it would be in the deli section as well.

Cheddar & Horseradish Cheese Spread

I hope you enjoy Drink Wine Day with some new inspiration and ideas!

You might also want to check out my warm asiago cheese dip recipe... it’s the flavors of a meat and cheese plate in a delicious dip! And be sure to check out my charcuterie must haves to make sure you’re ready to serve in style!

Cheers!

Jill