A Perfect Pair - A Wine and Cheese Guide

Because many of our family members are true wine lovers, we enjoy searching out excellent wines and cheeses. Our Country Store houses over 200 labels of wine and offers over 50 varieties of fresh cut and packaged cheeses. Whether you're an occasional wine drinker or a serious wine enthusiast, here are some general guides our family uses to successfully pair wine and cheese.

Cheeses for the Occasional Wine Drinker
Pairing wine and cheese does not have to be a long, drawn out process of pairing unrecognizable cheeses, with variety-specific wines. Instead, there are widely accepted and general guidelines for pleasing the palate. When serving white wine, serve soft or strong flavored cheeses. If serving red wine, choose hard and milder cheeses. If serving a wide range of cheeses, its best to serve fruity and sweet white wines. If you're still not sure, serve Manchego, Parmigiano and Romano cheeses as they compliment the majority of wines.

Cheeses for the Wine Enthusiast
Bleu - Tawny Port, Sherry, Shiraz
Brie - Sweet Sherry
Cheddar, Mild - Chardonnay
Cheddar, Aged - Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Port
Colby - Riesling
Gouda - Riesling
Gruyere - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cote du Rhone
Havarti - Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon
Mascarpone - Moscado d'Asti
Monterey Jack - Riesling
Muenster - Zinfandel, Gewurztraminer
Provolone - Chardonnay
Swiss - Gewurztraminer

Serving Suggestions
A cheese's flavor is always at its best when served at room temperature. Cut cheese just before serving to keep it from drying out.

Red wines should be stored at room temperature, but placed in the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. White wines should be chilled, but removed from refrigeration 30 minutes before serving. These temperatures allow the wine to present best on the palate.

Adding fruit is a great way to enhance the appeal of a traditional cheese tray. We recommend serving grapes, peaches, pears, apples, strawberries and blackberries with various wines and cheeses.

Summer Wine Pairings in the Vineyards - June 10 at 6 pm
Join us for our second annual summer wine class taking place amid the beautiful vineyard and orchard landscape. Enjoy a tractor ride from the Country Store to the vineyard, where you will compare and contrast varietals and sample food pairings that work fantastically with these wines. Spaces are limited so please call (618) 233-0513 to make your reservation. $20/person

Wine, Dine and Jazz Festival - June 11 and June 12
Eckert's is excited to be the presenting sponsor for this year's Wine, Dine and Jazz Festival in downtown Belleville. We will also be hosting cooking classes at the event for the third consecutive year. Chris Eckert will be demonstrating a variety of recipes showcasing our local meats and produce. Each recipe will have an accompanying Illinois wine pairing. The cooking classes will be held in Eckert's cooking tent in Belleville's public square at 6:15 pm on Friday, June 11th and again at 3:15 and 6:15 pm on Saturday, June 12th. Classes are FREE and open to the public.

Enjoy 25% OFF seafood at Eckert's through June 8, 2010. CLICK HERE for a printer-friendly coupon.