Pairing Wine And Grilled Cheese

Mo Wine Please

Now that I have you all thinking about grilled cheese, I know what is next.

“Mo, what is the perfect pairing of wine and grilled cheese?”

The answer to this question is almost as varied as the number of grilled cheese combinations.

There is perhaps no better friend to wine than cheese. But what about all the other ingredients?

A sandwich made with provolone, pesto and arugala might call for a Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc. A cheddar, short rib and grilled onion sandwich would definitely stand up to a Cabernet Sauvignon or Red Wine Blend.

I guess the answer to the question you posed is that there is no right answer.

Experiment. Try the wines you like and see how each complements your favorite grilled cheese components.

Don’t know where to start? Fear not, I have you covered.

Let’s talk about a few options…

Chardonnay

The typical characteristics of a Chardonnay – buttery, creamy, toasty, pear, apple, etc. lend themselves well to grilled cheese sandwiches.

Chardonnay and a purist’s sandwich – made entirely of cheese – or one incorporating pears or apple would be a match made in heaven.

Something like the 2009 Winderlea Chardonnay.

2009 Winderlea Chardonnay

This fabulous Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley in Oregon boasts flavors of pear and toasty brioche with a medium, creamy body. The Winderlea Chardonnay ($38) and an entire array of Winderlea Pinot Noirs are available on their website.

Pinot Noir

As I’ve said many times, Pinot Noir is the perfect “food” wine. It can be a bit of a chameleon, matching but never overpowering.

A Pinot Noir would work well with something as simple as a grilled cheese with bacon sandwich.

It would really shine with a sandwich reflecting the cherry/cranberry/strawberry flavors that are part of the Pinot Noir profile. Maybe a Monterey Jack, turkey and cranberry relish grilled cheese.

A couple of Pinots I’ve enjoyed lately…

2009 Waypoint Pinot Noir

The 2009 Waypoint Pinot Noir from the Brittan Vineyard in the Willamette Valley in Oregon ($50) brings cherry, pomegranate and cranberry notes which would pair well with an applewood bacon, cheddar and colby sandwich.

or…

2014 DeLoach Pinot Noir

The 2014 DeLoach Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir from California ($12) is loaded with bing cherry and strawberry. This great bargin wine was rated 88 points by Wine Enthusiast.

I found it to be better on day two than on day one, but still a solid wine to pair with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Dry Riesling

I know, I know. You don’t care for Rieslings…too sweet.

I’m telling you, Dry Rieslings will rock your world.

2011 Tatomer Vandenberg Riesling

Several years ago, Peter and I were strolling in the village of La Jolla, killing time before attending 5pm Mass. What does one do when one has some time to kill and finds themselves face to face with a wine tasting room with an ocean view?

We pre-gamed Mass. (Please don’t judge…).

Peter saw a Tatomer Dry Riesling on the menu and decided to give it a try.

Friends, if you ever, ever see a Tatomer Dry Riesling on a menu, in a store, in your neighbor’s wine cellar, TRY IT!

Not at all overly sweet, this wine brings the stone fruit notes of a Sauvignon Blanc (without the citrus acidity) and the honey of a Chardonnay (without the cloying butter).

It is light while still having body. It is magic.

The Tatomer wine sells at about $28 per bottle but I, for one, would pay twice the price. (Shhhhh, let’s keep that as our little secret and not share with the folks at Tatomer).

But I digress. Back to grilled cheese sandwiches.

A Dry Riesling would pair well with a sandwich including bacon or proscuitto and is the perfect foil for any sauce with a spicy kick.

The trick in pairing wine and grilled cheese is to pay attention to the tasting notes of a wine. Honey, pear, apple, lavendar, bell pepper, olive, mushrom, roasted meat, rosemary, thyme and berries of every flavor are terms used as wine descriptors.

Check the back of the wine bottle, the shelf tag at the store or the internet to find a wine whose tasting notes include the same flavors as your sandwich and you will be on the right track.

I love that so many of you shared your ideas on the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. What about the wine? Have you found a perfect pairing of wine and grilled cheese? Have you tried a Dry Riesling?

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Say Cheese! Grilled Cheese That Is.

Hi, everyone. I’m sure that many of you, like me, are recovering from staying up too late watching the Academy Awards.

Lots of folks who are much more knowledgeable than me will weigh in on all things Oscar so I will just present a quick recap.

Chris Rock – I think he did a great job in a difficult situation. I think he handled the lack of diversity with an appropriate balance of outrage and good natured ribbing.

I agree completely.

Best Dressed: Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Julianne Moore

 

All alone on the worst dressed list because it was JUST.THAT.BAD: Heidi Klum

 

Seriously, what was she thinking?!?!

Having seen none of the nominated movies, I’m not qualified to comment on any of the winners except to say that a) I’m happy for Leo and b) NEVER will I ever see Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant.

mocadeaux

Now with that out of the way, let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind:

Grilled Cheese

Although I’m certain that none of the nominees enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich on Oscar day, lest they have to go up a Spanx size or risk not fitting into their couture gown, we mere mortals are lucky.

We can indulge.

Grilled cheese is truly the perfect food. Whenever I see it on a menu, its ooey-gooey deliciousness beckons and I become blind to everything else.

Throw in a bowl of tomato soup? Heavenly bliss.

Over the weekend, Peter and I popped into a new-to-us spot nearby for lunch. I was inspired to try Rock House based upon this enticing photo on their Facebook page.

Rock House Glenview Facebook Grilled Cheese

Imagine my delight when upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by this sign:

Rock House Glenview Grilled Cheese Menu

Build your own grilled cheese? Be still my heart!

My creation consisted of cheddar and provolone cheese, pesto and roasted red peppers on sourdough bread.

The sandwich was delicious and I am considering going back every day this week.

Grilled cheese is one of those foods for which an infinite number of recipes exist.

A Pinterest search for “grilled cheese” produces an avalanche of results. (One tip, though, do NOT do this search on an empty stomach. The pictures will make you so hungry that you will want to gnaw off your leg.)

Yummy Food board

Grilled Cheese leads my Yummy Food board on Pinterest.

The plethora of recipes, of course, is due to the infinite combinations of ingredients that can make up The World’s Most Perfect Food (tied with pizza).

In the starring role: the cheese. American, Cheddar, Provolone, Swiss, Pepper Jack, Brie, Gorganzola and on and on and on.

Perhaps you want to add some meat. Bacon is probably the most popular add-on but many recipes include pepperoni, sausage, salami, ham, turkey and short rib. Personally, I would draw the line at ground beef because adding a ground beef patty to a grilled cheese would pretty much turn it into a cheeseburger. Not for me; I’m a purist.

The “extras” are where one could really go crazy in creating a grilled cheese sandwich. Peppers, onions, tomatoes, greens, olives, pickles, spinach, mushrooms, pesto, siracha, BBQ sauce, mustard. You name it, someone has probably included it in a grilled cheese sandwich.

And finally, the bread. My husband prefers what he calls it, “crappy white bread” (aka the Wonder bread from our youth). My favorite is sourdough. But whether you choose white or wheat, brioche or Texas toast, the bread must be sturdy enough to hold up to all the ingredients you choose to shove into adorn your sandwich with.

In doing research for this post I became intrigued by the number of grilled cheese cookbooks.

The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook

(Affiliate Link)

This particular one caught my eye. The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook.

Taking a peek inside as Amazon allows you to do, I found that this book contains recipes for such gems as “Loaded Bake Potato Grilled Cheese” and “Lobster Grilled Cheese” and “Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese Grilled Cheese”.

The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook is currently winging its way to my house – hopefully via an Amazon drone – so I can start planning a Grilled Cheese Party. According to Pinterest, Grilled Cheese Parites are “a thing”.  A pretty fabulous idea I might add.

So, if you were to attend my Grilled Cheese Party, what ingredients would you want to have on hand? Are you a “crappy white bread” lover or do you prefer something fancier? Are you a purist who draws the line on too many ingredients? Do you have any grilled cheese cookbooks?

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