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Wine and cheese have gone hand in hand for centuries. And with all the fabulous wine being produced here in the Pacific Northwest, there’s nothing more fun than taking your favorite Tillamook Cheese and experimenting to find a perfect wine match. I did just that over the holidays, with some friends, and had to share our conclusions with all our fans! I’m no master sommelier, so keep in mind there are no hard and fast rules here – it’s all about finding a combination which appeals to your taste buds! Here were our favorites:

My current “go to” wine is Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp and clean and sometimes citrus-y, we found we really liked Tillamook Swiss Cheese with this varietal. The depth, warmth and nutty flavor of the Swiss paired well with this lighter wine.

A favorite northwest varietal is Pinot Gris. A white with more body and fruit than the Sauv Blanc, we really liked it with Tillamook Pepper Jack.  The mellow Monterey Jack base with the kick of the jalapeño spiciness made a great compliment to the honey overtones in this wine.

Peppery and spicy Zinfandel was our next selection and, on this one, we were split. Some found a spicy on spicy match with Tillamook Garlic Chili Pepper Cheddar worked well.  But when I drink Zinfandel, I think Italian. And when I cook Italian, that means lots of garlic so I really liked Tillamook Garlic White Cheddar with the Zin. You can’t beat a bowl of pasta with marinara sauce, lots of shredded Garlic White Cheddar on top and a glass of Zinfandel. Yum!

Last but not least, being in Oregon demands that you drink some Pinot Noir. We enjoyed the richness of Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar with the bottle we opened. The earthiness of the cheese complimented the medium body and fruit of the wine without overpowering it.

So there you have it. Just remember – wines will vary greatly in quality and consistency within their varietal category. But whatever Tillamook Cheese you choose you can count on one thing: the same great quality and consistency every time. So go get some cheese, grab a bottle of wine and ring in 2012 in style!

Happy New Year from all of us at Tillamook!

~ Susan of the Tillamook Team

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