Articles By Bill | Brio Smart Life
Best Cheese and Wine pairings for epic snack trays

Our Top Tips for Pairing Wine and Cheese

Cheese and wine is a way of life!

Foodies and Wine Lovers everywhere agree, cheese and wine are made for each other. Here are our top tips for harmoniously pairing wine and cheese.

Our Top Tips for Pairing Wine and Cheese

Pairing cheese and wine is an ancient culinary tradition. And every wine enthusiast should have a basic understanding of how to pair their favorite wines with cheeses. Knowing which wines pair well with cheese comes down to a few things like temperature, flavor, and body of both the wine and the cheese.

Here are some of the best ways to pair wine and cheese together for every wine and cheese lover.

Know the best temperature to serve your wine and cheese

Much like with wine, the flavors and smells of cheese can change based on the temperature they are served. Many taste better when served close to or at room temp, so it’s a good idea to let cheese rest out of the fridge before serving.

Sparkling wines, whites, and Rosés are best when served cold, between 45 and 55 degrees. Reds, on the other hand, are better when served close to, but not exactly at, room temperature at about 62 to 68 degrees.

Best temperature for this cheese: White Cheddar – Room temperature

Best temperature for this wine: Cabernet Franc – Chilled 15 minutes, served at 60°F

 

Soft Cheeses Call for lighter-styled wines

Need a wine to enjoy with some nice brie? Lighter-styled wines, whites and light-bodied reds, make great flavor partners to softer cheeses. These creamy, more delicate cheeses like brie and ricotta can be easily over powered by fuller-bodied wines, so you might want to stay away from your Cabs and pick up a Pinot Noir instead.

Try this pairing: Moscato – Brie

Try this pairing: Chardonnay – Havarti

 

Serve Semi-Soft Cheese with dessert wines

The fruity and hearty flavors of dessert wines pair excellently with the mild flavors of semi-soft cheeses. These cheeses are often served warm, over food, which makes the temperature of your wine an important consideration, as many dessert wines are served chilled between 45 and 55 degrees.

Try this pairing: Riesling – Gouda

Try this pairing: Zinfandel – Gorgonzola

 

It’s all about the bod with firm cheeses

That’s a great way to remember that when dealing with firm cheese it’s best to stick with sweet and full-bodied wines. Firm cheeses often have sharper tastes with nutty flavors that pair well with the sweet wines. Many extra firm cheeses have sharp and salty testes, which is best enjoyed with a medium-bodied wine.

Try this pairing: Sweet White – Swiss

Try this pairing: Merlot – Jarlsberg

 

 

Bill, wine blogger at Brio Smart Life
 

About the Author

Bill – The Wine Guy

Marketing Guy | Wine Connoisseur | Booze Food Guru | Hawaiian Shirt Lover

Perfect and simple mulled wine recipe to brighten your holidays

Ultimate Mulled Wine Recipe for the Holidays

Mulled wine and the Holidays were made for each other

This mulled wine recipe is packed with traditional Christmas spices that will make any Grinch or Scrooge say, “More, please!”

Ultimate Mulled Wine Recipe for the Holidays

Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, anise, and orange. Can it get any more Christmas than that? These spices fill the winter holiday season with delight and warmth, and this ultimate mulled wine recipe embodies the very flavors of the holidays.

Glühwein, or mulled wine, is a holiday tradition around the world. It wouldn’t quite be Christmas without it! There are dozens of variation of mulled wine. You can find it made with brandy, ciders, and rum. You can even find it made with red or white wine. For this recipe, we decided to try out the traditional red wine recipe.

It’s really important to remember to wait until the end to add the wine. If you add it too early the alcohol will burn off and lose its punch. You don’t want that. You’ll also want to use a dry red wine for this recipe like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or even a Zinfandel. We used Cabernet Sauvignon, and like I said with our Autumn Sangria recipe, wine will absorb the flavors of what you add to it, so go cheap and save yourself some money.

This is how you make this simple Mulled Wine!

 

Mulled Wine

Yields: 4-5 Serving

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 1 Bottle Dry Red Wine
  • 8 Ounces Unsweetened Apple Cider
  • 2 Ounces Honey
  • 1 Apple [Sliced]
  • 2 Oranges [Sliced]
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 4 Star Anise
  • 1 Teaspoon Allspice Berries
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 Vanilla Bean [Cut Lengthwise]
  • 6 Cloves
  • 4 Sticks Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon Sticks for Garnish
  • Orange slices for Garnish
Glassware and Items You’ll Need:

  • Irish Coffee Glasses
  • Pitcher
  • Small Sauce Pan
  • Bar Spoon

 

Preparation

Ultimate Mulled Wine: Press into your cardamom pods with the back of a knife, this helps to release their flavor. Next, cut up the apple and oranges into thin slices. Add the fruit, spices, and cider to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Be sure to squeeze some of the oranges to release their juices. Stir occasionally. Just before the mixture begins to boil, add in the honey and remove pan from the heat.

Lower the temperature down to a low heat, and place the pan back on the heat. Pour in the wine and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to mingle. Strain, and serve warm. Garnish with cinnamon stick and orange slice. Enjoy!

Nutritional Content

1 serving approximately contains: Calories (kcal) 292 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Potassium (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 30 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g) 23.6 Protein (g) 1 Sodium (mg) 11

Perfect and simple mulled wine recipe to brighten your holidays

 

Hand Crafted: Classic Cocktail Recipes from the Brio Smart Life Blog

 

Bill, wine blogger at Brio Smart Life
 

About the Author

Bill – The Wine Guy

Marketing Guy | Wine Connoisseur | Booze Food Guru | Hawaiian Shirt Lover

Autumn Sangria for the Holidays

Best Autumn Sangria for the Holidays

Nothing beats a little Sangria for the Holidays!

The flavors of Fall come together in this delicious Sangria just in time for the Holidays.

Best Autumn Flavored Sangria for the Holidays

The flavors of Fall make some of the best cocktails, but they make a magical combination in this Autumn sangria. It’s great to serve up at the holidays, or for a quiet dinner with the family or some friends.

There are different ways you can make Sangria. You can do it with either Red or White wine. You can make it fruity or a bit spicy like a Mulled Wine. In this Autumn sangria, the mixture of pear, apple, orange, and pomegranate flavors offer a fragrant bouquet and delicious taste. We also added a bit of cinnamon to give it a little extra something.

As for the wine, I suggest using a Cabernet Sauvignon if you want a dry, milder wine or a Merlot for a nice bite and bolder tasting sangria. Also, don’t break the bank on an expensive bottle of wine for sangria. The wine will absorb the flavors of what you add to it, so go cheap and save yourself some money. Sangria can make simple table wine go a long way.

This is how you make our Autumn Sangria!

 

Autumn Sangria

Yields: 6 Serving

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 1 Bottle Red Wine
  • 2 Ounces Grand Marnier
  • 2 Ounces Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Pomegranate Simple Syrup
  • 1 Pear [Sliced]
  • 1 Apple[Sliced]
  • 1 Orange [Sliced]
  • ½ Cup Pomegranate Seeds
  • 2 Sticks Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon Sticks for Garnish
Pomegranate Simple Syrup:

  • ½ Cup Pomegranate Seeds
  • ½ Cup Water
  • ½ Cup Sugar

Glassware and Items You’ll Need:

  • Stemless Wine Glasses
  • Pitcher
  • Small Sauce Pan
  • Bar Spoon

 

Preparation

Pomegranate Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan, mix together ½ cup water with sugar and ½ cup of pomegranate seeds. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool completely. Strain into a container and discard the pomegranate seeds in the bin. Set aside for sangria recipe.

Autumn Sangria: Cut up the pear, apple, and orange into thin slices. Add the fruit slices, remaining pomegranate seeds, cinnamon sticks, Grand Marnier, pomegranate liqueur, and pomegranate simple syrup to a large pitcher. Stir to combine. Top with 1 bottle of red wine. Stir together again, and refrigerate overnight. Serve in a stemless wine glass and garnish with cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

Nutritional Content

1 serving approximately contains: Calories (kcal) 150 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Potassium (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 18 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 16 Protein (g) 0.5 Sodium (mg) 10

Try this Autumn Flavored Sangria for the Holidays

 

Hand Crafted: Classic Cocktail Recipes from the Brio Smart Life Blog

 

Bill, wine blogger at Brio Smart Life
 

About the Author

Bill – The Wine Guy

Marketing Guy | Wine Connoisseur | Booze Food Guru | Hawaiian Shirt Lover

How to decode your wine labels

How to Decode Your Wine Labels

Making sense of the labels on wine bottles

Wine marketers use a lot of terms to describe their wine. But what do those terms really mean? Let’s take a look on how to decode your wine labels.

What do those terms on your wine labels really mean? Check out this quick guide to decode your wine labels.

 

Organic

The use of term “organic” is regulated by the US government and there are different levels of how “organic” a wine can be. To be organic, the wine must be made without the use of prohibited substances, genetic engineering of ingredients, and must be certified by the USDA. A 100% ‘organic’ wine contains no commercial fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or added sulfites. They also may not be required to have the “Contains Sulfites” label on the bottle.

[learn more about organic rules from the USDA: Organic 101: Organic Wine]

Biodynamic

If you see a label on your wine bottle that says “DEMETER” on it, you’ve found yourself a biodynamic wine. “What the heck is biodynamic wine?” You might ask. Well, Biodynamic viniculture is a practice of planting, growing, and harvesting of grapes that follows a biodynamic, or lunar calendar. This philosophy of wine growing takes organic to a new level. Biodynamic growers believe in not using chemicals or commercial fertilizers or yeast in the wine making process. It’s all about using natural ingredients to grow and cultivate the wine.

[learn more about Biodynamic wine from the Organic Wine Company: What makes biodynamic wine so special?]

“Sulfite Free”

Sorry to say, there really is no such thing as Sulfite free wine. Sulfites are created as part of the fermentation process, so all wines have them to some extent or another. This term is used by wine marketers to say that they do not ADD sulfites to their wines. These wines are also marketed as “no sulfite added” or “NSA” wine. If you have sulfite allergy or sensitivity, though, it is best to avoid or limit drinking wine, especially red wine which has a higher sulfite content than whites.

[learn more about sulfite allergy & sensitivity: Tell-tale Signs That You Might Be Allergic to Alcohol or Wine]

Sustainable

The Sustainable label discerns an energy conscious type of wine making that protects the Earth. Most Sustainable Wine comes from California, where resources can be scarce because of drought. Many Sustainable wine makers use alternative forms of energy or energy saving practices, and converse water through the use of drip irrigation and by saving run off water from the wine making process. The process isn’t as restrictive as organic growing and allows the use of some herbicides, but also requires certification.

[learn more about California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW): California Sustainable Winegrowing]

Vegan

Some wine companies have adopted a Vegan process to wine making. This means that they have removed the use of animal products like isinglass [fish bladder protein], gelatin, casein [milk protein], and albumen [egg whites] which are sometimes used in the filtering/clarifying process of wine, known as fining. Mary Gorman-McAdams, a New York based wine educator, explained that egg whites are used to remove tannins from red wine which gives the wine a better texture. Vegan wines substitute these animal products for clay-based and charcoal fining agents, or skip the fining process altogether. Wine that has not been fined or filtered usually have a label that says ‘not fined and/or not filtered’ on the bottle.

[learn more from Mary Gorman-McAdams: Why Egg Whites Are Used to Make Wine?]

 

Bill, wine blogger at Brio Smart Life
 

About the Author

Bill – The Wine Guy

Marketing Guy | Wine Connoisseur | Booze Food Guru | Hawaiian Shirt Lover

Delicious Things You Can Make with Wine for Wine Day!

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

You can make so many delicious things with wine

You can enjoy wine in so many more ways than in just a glass. Try one of these recipes that uses wine as its main component.

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

 

Vino lovers of the world rejoyce, it’s National Wine Day! The day dedicated to one of the world’s most consumed beverages. We have been drinking this elixir of the gods for millennia, and its consumption is very much engrained in cultures around the globe.

No wonder there are so many delicious things you can do with wine! Here are just some of our top favorite things you make using wine.

 

You can….

 

Pair it with cheese

Our Top Tips for Pairing Wine and Cheese
Image and Pairings from // Brio Smart Life

 

Make it into Ice Cream

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image and Recipe from // Cooking with Janica

 

Make White Wine pasta sauce out of it

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image and Recipe from // Julie Blanner

 

Or better yet, use it to make Red Wine Pasta

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image and Recipe from // eatwell 101

 

Make Smoothies out of it

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image and Recipe from // Cooking with Curls

 

Infuse it into Salt

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image and Recipe from // Well Preserved

 

Use it in Fondue

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image and Recipe from // Flavorite

 

Top Cheesecakes with it (Wine Gelées)

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image and Recipe from // Food and Wine

 

Make homemade Red Wine Vinegar

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image from // Hirsheimer Hamilton // Recipe from // Phickle

 

Make Sangira or Wine Cocktails

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image and Recipes from // Canada Night Life

 

Or in the end we can just drink it straight

Delicious Things You Can Do With Wine

Image from // giphy

Happy National Wine Day, everyone!

 

Bill, wine blogger at Brio Smart Life
 

About the Author

Bill – The Wine Guy

Marketing Guy | Wine Connoisseur | Booze Food Guru | Hawaiian Shirt Lover