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The Perfect Match
By Rebecca Giantonio

Intro | Balance | Cheese Please | Party! | The Set Up

Time to party
A wine and cheese party is a great way to sample a variety of different wines and experiment with pairings… not to mention an opportunity to wow your friends with your newfound wine knowledge.

Choosing the goods
Maureen recommends having one of each type of cheese and two reds and two whites at opposite ends of the spectrum. For whites, try a Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. A Cabernet and Shiraz or Malbec are good red choices.

Anticipate that guests will drink an average of two glasses of wine. A bottle yields four to five 4-ounce glasses. When in doubt, buy an extra bottle of a white and red. It'd be a shame to end the party early due to a wine shortage, and the worst that could happen is you end up with an extra bottle to keep around your place. Help friends gain some wine know-how and save your wallet by asking them to pick up one of these wines before the party.

Serve it up
When pouring the vino, keep two things in mind: temperature and glassware. Champagnes and sparkling wines taste best chilled at about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, while whites should be served at about 50 degrees. The fruity taste of light reds, like Pinot Noir, come out best at 55 to 60 degrees, while stronger reds, like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, are served warmest at 60 to 65 degrees. Many make the mistake of serving whites too cold and reds too warm. To get the right temperature, place reds in a bucket of ice and let whites sit out five to 10 minutes before serving.

When it comes to glassware, focus on shape for maximum taste and aroma.

Champagnes and sparkling wines
Choose smaller, narrow glasses, like a flute glass. A small glass means you'll refill often, so your drink will always be cold. Narrow glasses keep champagne's bubbles from escaping.

White wines
A smaller glass that narrows at the top will keep your white chilled and concentrate its aroma.

Reds and robust whites
Large, round glasses allow air exposure and swirling, which releases these strong wines' aromas and flavors.

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