Wine and Cheese Pairings

Which wines pair best with what cheeses?

Bajadock: A rules follower I ain’t.  Exploration, learning what I enjoy and finding new adventures is my thing.  Friends, a bottle and a cheese plate with bread can make a grand evening.  What’s yours?

Armed with the right information, you can create amazing wine and cheese pairings on your own. Let’s take a look at some classic wine and cheese pairings and why they work, so that the next time you’re on a wine and cheese getting mission, you’ll have no doubt what to choose!

Wine and Cheese Pairings Poster by Wine Folly
This Wine & Cheese Chart is available as a poster on the Wine Folly store.


Tip #1: Pair wines and cheeses with equal intensity.


This tip is the most important takeaway for creating your own pairings. The delicate flavors of Gruyère would be overwhelmed by a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon, but are perfectly balanced when paired alongside a Pinot Noir.

As a general rule:

  • Wines over 14.5% ABV are more intense and taste better with more intensely flavored cheeses.
  • Wines under 12% ABV are less intense and match nicely with more delicately flavored cheeses.

Tip #2: Bold red wines pair best with aged cheeses.

As cheese ages and looses water-content, it becomes richer in flavor with its increased fat content. These two attributes are ideal for matching bold red wines because the fat content in the cheese counteracts the high-tannins in the wine. For the best results, select cheeses that have been aged at least a year, including Cheddar, Gruyère, Manchego, Gouda, Provolone, or Parmesan-style varieties like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano.

Tip #3: Match super funky cheeses with sweeter wines.

Sweeter wines like Moscato, Gewürztraminer, Late Harvest dessert wines, and Port match wonderfully with stinky, washed-rind, and blue-veined cheeses. Why? The sweetness in the wine helps balance the “funk” in the cheese and makes it taste creamier. Also, the “stink” of the cheese will help balance the sweet taste of the wine.

Two classic pairings you must try if you like funky cheeses are Port with Stilton and Sauternes with Roquefort. Delicious!

Tip #4: Sparkling wines are incredible with soft, creamy cheeses.

Sparkling wines have high acidity and carbonation, which offer a palate cleansing effect to creamy, sticky cheeses such as Brie, Muenster, Camembert, Cremont, or Époisses de Bourgogne.

Tip #5: Wines and cheeses from the same place pair well together.

More often than not, you’ll do well to trust the local traditions and match wines and cheeses from the same region together. A few great examples of this include Sauvignon Blanc with Goat Cheese (Loire Valley, France), Chardonnay with Époisses de Bourgogne (Burgundy, France), and Garnacha with Manchego (Spain).

Tip #6: When in doubt, get a firm, nutty cheese.

If there are several wines being served and you’re not sure which cheese to pair, one of the safest bets and most popular choices with all styles of wines is a firm, nutty cheese. The cheese will have enough fat to counterbalance tannin in red wine, but enough delicacy to compliment delicate whites. A few examples include Swiss, Gruyère, Abbaye de Belloc, Comté Extra, Emmental, and Gouda.

Puerto de Ensenada Drone

Continental Divide Trail

Thanks, H.

Airline Adventures

                                                                                 by staff travel editor, Crusty Curmudgeon

Recent travel in the USA has me slapped around like a rag doll in a Cuisinart food processor.  Here are my recent experiences from June flights.

At 6AM, before my caffeine fix, howtheheck am I supposed to read, leave alone execute, the instructions on peeling the correct amount and spot of the luggage tag and affix it without it looking like a jet lagged shar pei puppy? Friday morning, I simply handed the tag to the agent and asked her to do it.  She happily showed me the way, including perky instructions.  She failed miserably and it looked like hell.  “Well, I guess I need more practice”.

LOVE TSA PRE lines, except when jeweled, pocket changed and big metal belt buckled passengers ahead of me can’t get the idea that the scanning machine you walk through is designed to detect metal.  “But, it’s just water in my water bottle!”.  Remember, these are the TSA “pre-approved” smart passengers, top of their class.  …says the guy who can’t affix a luggage tag.

I usually have little drama vs TSA.  My only problem is forgetting the corkscrew in my backpack.  Backpack always has my essentials of laptop, phone, laptop accessories, car key(+1 extra), tequila, assortment of condoms.  I have lost at least SIX corkscrews at TSA junction.  My 99 cent corkscrew made it due to stowing in my checked bag this trip.

While I sleep at my window seat, why do my fellow passengers feel the need to put snacks in the seatback ahead of me?  “These gourmet crackers and pretzels are must treats for your taste buds and we did not want you to miss them.”  This happened on 3 of 4 flights on last trip.  I must ooze “lonely bachelor that can’t cook” look.  How about some Publisher’s Clearinghouse forms next flight?

Which do you prefer, crying kid or kicking kid?  Crying kid is too young to control.  Though my reading or sleeping peace has a hard time with the infant testing his operatic skills, the kicking kid obviously has shitty parents.  Had a kicker this trip.  I raised out of my seat, turned around and said, “Hi, I’m enjoying your child’s percussion skills on my back.  Any way to take off his shoes to lighten the body blows I am receiving for the next 5 hours?”.  Law enforcement met me at destination, tazed, cuffed and dragged me away.

Which do you prefer, chatty pilot/crew or unintelligible pilot/crew?  “Once again, thank you…” for the 8th time before we take off means that we are going to be hearing a lot from this team today.  “Once again, sit back, relax…”.  Where is the mute button?  And how do I mute and darken the must see video screen in front of me?

More video fun, why do airports need to connect me to “news”?  If you catch my trend, I’m not big on getting random audio and video barking at me while traveling.  Heck, even gas stations pelt me with news or advertising while I pump gasoline.  Intercontinental at Houston airport likes their CNN televsions in gate wait.  Maybe they could mute the tv?  Bring back the hare krishnas!

Loved the United Airline CEO mea culpa in their May magazine after the April passenger pummeling at ORD.  “We will do better.”.

Airport construction is at an all time high.  The quarters weren’t nearly cramped enough before, so add construction and walled areas of development to limit seating areas for gate wait. “Hi, I just got off a tube squeezed next to random strangers with odd habits for 3 hours.  Can I sit on your lap and have you tell me your life story, while waiting for next flight?”  I found a gaggle of wheelchairs in a corner and pulled one out for my lounge “safe space” this trip.

Airport food?  Hmmm.  How many different ways can you throw 500 calories of starch at a traveler for $12 USD?  I usually fly with an apple and almonds, but forgot my snack kit on this trip.  This little spot near gate E2 at IAH was a reasonable deal for a turkey, veg, avocado wrap for $11USD.  Most of the time, I avoid airport culinary delights.  This wrap was fresh and would do it again.  $11?  Yeah, but, I was hungry.

San Diego airport, my home runway, used to be a small airport.  It is still not ORD, IAH, LAX, but, the remodel has turned SAN into another shopping mall, disguised as an airport.

Google flights is my favorite tool(x-Southwest)

Didjaever reserve a flight with 7:30 as a takeoff time and not catch the “PM” tag?  I have never served in the military, but use military time(19:30) on my watch and in many other ways.  It works for me.  But, in a late night haste, caught a great deal for my return flight from MCO to SAN.  Tried checking in 24 hours before and caught a “your checkin attempt failed because it is more than 24 hours before your flight” error message.  WTF?  Realized I mistakenly reserved a night flight.  Had enough time, airline miles and a small fee to get a different morning flight to escape Mickey Mouse land as needed.  My good fortune increased as I was able to get my treasured window seats, not available on my previously goofed flight.

Last time I flubbed pm vs. am was in 2006, on my flight attempt to view, and hopefully, buy my lot in Ensenada.  That too was an inexpensive and lucky fix.  Bought my lot 2 days later.

Punta Banda International Airport photo courtesy of I.R.E.

Did I mention how thrilled I am to be home in my monastery?  Safe and easy travels wished to y’all.

Ensenada Scenic Road Report

Bajadock has been away past few weeks.  Was surprised to see the soutbound 2 lanes(sea side) torn up just south of Bajamar, approx Km 80.  Traffic was squeezed into 1 lane each for south and north drivers for about 2 miles, then rejoining the normal southbound flow at the SEMPRA gas plant.

The 1 lane squeeze just south of El Mirador in Salsipuedes has been on for approx 1 year?  This is at approx k87-k91, southbound after the drop down from El Mirador.

For some reason during my southbound drive home Friday, I noticed something new.  At K88, K90 and K95 there looked like new terracing on the hills above highway.  These slopes appeared to be mini versions of the big terracing at the K93 landslide.

Perhaps this has been reported many times and my coffee was not strong enough during my morning reads.  The only thing I have been reading about the Scenic Highway in this area is the endless fault studies and the continued discussion of the Bajamar alternate route possibility.

No, I did not stop for photos of these newly terraced hills, as home and happy hour were calling at approx 5:30PM yesterday evening.  But, at 5:30PM, the big honkin earth moving vehicles were still seriously engaged with the dirt. Will snap some photos in the next couple of week.

Anyone have any news on this?

Also, the humps and bumps from patches in the Salsipuedes stretch are getting worse.  That rumble strip at K96 southbound is beginning to catch my anger.

Did notice a few cops set up on shoulders south of La Mision.  None were engaged with drivers during my drive.

One last note was that the Tijuana El Chaparral border southbound crossing was easy at 4PM-is Friday.  It took approx 7 minutes to cross and add another 5 minutes delay to due the slow merge after the “U” bridge to Av Internacional.  And somebody fixed the huge pothole just before the “U” bridge.  For a Friday afternoon, that was an easy an uneventful border crossing.

Thrilled to be home.  And I’m loving the June gloom gray clouds.  CHEERS.

Sensual Storms

Thanks to friend, the “Coolest Bean”, here is a peak into my excitement, could be lust, for big storms.

I have never experienced a recorded hurricane, but, my now neighborhood, on the south end of Ensenada, Baja California, has seen at least three 80+MPH storms in my 10 years of residence.

One of my favorite storm memories was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with my girlfriend in 1987.  We enjoyed a huge dwelling at Kutuk Lodge with big windows viewing south on a summer weekend.  While wining and chopping veggies for a salad, the wind became fierce.

We stopped our butcher block bingo dance in favor of the view through a huge window showing a dark grey wall of water in the sky approaching from the south with a decent-but-no-recuerdo bottle of grape juice.  It was at sunset. The storm event likely lasted a total of 30 minutes.

But that Colorado evening of thunder, wind, rain, food, wine and ensuing frolic have stayed with me for more than 30 years.  I have lost track of D.A.S. and hope she is well.

Having lived most of my life in the desert of Colorado(28 years) and now the desert of Baja, rain is a sensory rich event for my soul.  My home in Ensenada receives approx 8 or 4 or 6 inches(must be a guy thing) of precipitation annually.

The mini squalls of approx 1 mile diameter that dance across Bahia Ensenada during “winter” are amazing entertainment.  They excite me more than a tv sit-com…do they still make those, or am I too old and white?… or a reality click bait program…or the “my politician is better than your politician” gaggle of adolescent baby bummers.

My friends are as different as each storm cloud formation.  Eccentric buddies are a postive energy field for me.

If I am lucky enough to enjoy a front seat to a storm, a bottle of wine, a simple dinner and share it all with good friend, I am lucky enough.

My wish is reality, as I am in Florida sharing my dream today with my favorite girl: mom. Two inches of rain fell today.  Two bottles of wine are also down. A.C. Jobim is playing.  Buena suerte.

Wine Valley Sky Diving Adventure

Bajadock: No, I don’t know if Globos VDG in this vid is the new combo hot air balloon PLUS sky diving crashes within a breath of your life this past week.  No news if bungee jumping from the balloon basket is next on the menu.

For the second time during the same weekend, a hot air balloon operating in Valle de Guadalupe collapsed when it was manned by the same pilot.

On both occasions all passengers were unharmed however this time the globe brushed electric wires and left the town of Francisco Zarco without light.

The official Public Safety report indicates that the balloon collapsed around 9:30 am from a considerable height despite the fact that the passengers were not injured.

The ballon fell on Sixth Street in the village of Francisco Zarco in the vicinity of Rancho El Mogor.

After the events was approached to the zone a crew of the Federal Commission of Electricity to reactivate the service.

Bajadock: Remember this little thrill?

Bajadock’s Little Paradise

Got these shots of my hood from a 15 mile round trip hike in 2011.  Missing my monastic lifestyle there now, as I have been away almost 2 weeks. Hope to return this week.

Surprise Panama trip with good friend in 2006 completely changed my ideas about money and the stuff filling my closets and garage.  Ok, I still enjoy several comforts that many lack.  But, my idea of needs vs. wants adjusted drastically toward simplicity.  Those 10 days in Panama cleared a path for my moving from Colorado to Ensenada, Baja California in 2007.

The simplicity theme pops up this week, because I notice homes that have been collecting stuff for 30 or more years.  Photos, souvenirs, what are all of these electronic adapters?, coins, holiday decorations, tools, and whatnot are on the scene.  My buddy who invited me to Panama liked to use the word “whatnot”.  “This, that and the other” are more of the same.  When is the last time you took a good look at your t.t.&o storage spot?

Just witnessed a weekend garage sale for an entire neighborhood.  I’m not the wealthiest guy on the block, but, I would rather pay someone $100 to haul away stuff than sell dozens of small items for $1 for 8 hours on a Saturday. “This pair of garden shears was only used on Sundays after church, so they include a special blessing for the next user.”  Gadzooks, I’m such a spoiled gringo!

One of the best feelings of my life was my homeless period of 2006-2007 after selling my Colorado house and emptying its contents to craigslist, friends and Goodwill.  We are possessed by our possessions.

I am so thankful for my simple little life that includes family, a few friends and lots of adventure.

You just do not know what changes the cosmic debris will throw your way.  Hope yours is fun.

Pemex Stolen Gasoline Sale

The phenomenon has become so widespread that officials say entire towns have been involved in protecting fuel thieves or benefiting from the trade.  (Reuters) 

Mexico closed seven service stations Thursday for allegedly selling gasoline and diesel stolen from state-run pipelines, the first confirmation that large amounts of fuel siphoned from illegal pipeline taps are being sold through officially sanctioned gas stations.

An official of the state-run Pemex oil company said authorities had caught red-handed such sales at a total of 14 stations — seven in Puebla, one of the states hit hardest by pipelines thefts, and seven elsewhere in Mexico. The official didn’t say why only seven had been shut down.

The thefts were especially brazen, given that the stations were selling fuel stolen from their own supplier. Pemex runs Mexico’s pipelines and supplies the approximately 12,000 official gas stations under a concessionary agreement. Thus, the company knows about how much a station and pump dispatches and whether that matches up with what was supplied.

At the 14 stations, the numbers didn’t add up.

“They stopped buying (gasoline) and they continued selling it,” said the Pemex official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name.

Observers have long said the amount of fuel taken in widespread pipeline thefts is too much to be sold from plastic containers by the side of the road. Many experts have long believed some of the gasoline and diesel siphoned off by illegal pipeline taps is being sold to businesses or at gas stations.

The phenomenon has become so widespread that officials say entire towns have been involved in protecting fuel thieves or benefiting from the trade.

In May, gunmen used residents of a small Puebla town as human shields and opened fire on army patrols investigating pipeline thefts. Four soldiers and six suspected criminals were killed in the clashes.

Treasury Secretary Jose Antonio Meade said this week that more than 6,000 illegal pipeline taps had been found in 2016 and officials have been detecting an average of about 20 taps a day this year. Earlier, he estimated that fuel theft costs the country about $1 billion a year.

The closure announcement Thursday was the first significant crackdown on such stations, though at least one station had been detected in the northern city of Monterrey as early as 2012.

There have been suggestions before that fuel theft was occurring on an industrial scale in Mexico.

In June 2012, the Mexican navy seized a Mexican-flagged ship in the Gulf of Mexico heading toward Honduras with nearly 80,000 gallons (300,000 liters) of stolen diesel aboard, presumably from Pemex. The next month, the navy caught another ship in the Gulf with nearly 106,000 gallons (400,000 liters) of presumably stolen diesel.

Tijuana Grave Digging Business Expands

A drug tunnel under construction was discovered Tuesday morning by Baja State Police in an unusual area of Tijuana.

The tunnel was found in a nondescript structure across the street from one of Baja’s largest cemeteries, about a mile west of the San Ysidro border crossing.

Most of the tunnels that have been discovered have been further east in the Otay Mesa area, where the soil is softer, sandier and easier to plow through.

According to investigators, the usual suspects — members of a Mexican drug cartel — are involved.

Five people have been arrested in connection with the discovery.

Michael Lettieri of the Trans-Border Institute says while drug tunnels continue to be used primarily to smuggle marijuana into the U.S., it’s actually an old strategy.

“Cartels are making most of their money, and what they’re fighting over now, is increasing the heroin and meth into this country. Heroin and methamphetamines are really easy to smuggle in cars, in water bottles. It’s small, it’s compact and it has tremendous value once it gets across for a very small amount,” said Lettieri.

Lettieri said cartels are likely to turn to other smuggling strategies such as catapults, submarines and drones to get drugs north of the border.

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