Wine, Cheese and Charcuterie Guide

Charcuterie 101

Tasting Your Charcuterie

Enjoy your charcuterie with these easy tips that will help you expand your horizons and try new and exciting flavors. No two charcuterie taste alike, so take the time to get to know your charcuterie with these simple and easy tips:

"Respect the slice. Don't fold or ball up a perfectly sliced piece of prosciutto and pop it into your mouth, you've just covered up most of the surface area of the product before it touches your taste buds."
- Boccalone SF

Charcuterie Tasting Tips

Prepare the Meat

Take the meat out 45 minutes before enjoying and serve at room temperature.

Slicing the Meat

If not already pre-cut, a general rule of thumb is to slice large diameter items more thinly, and smaller diameter items more thickly.

Look at the Meat

Well-made products should have clear colorations, where the reds are red, and the whites are white. How does it look? Are the colors clear and vibrant? Avoid eating meats that are gray or gray-brown.

Smell the Meat

Cured meats will feature a range of smells. Avoid eating meats that have any "off" or rancid smells. What do you smell? Try to describe the aromas before placing in your mouth. Are they more herbaceous, savory, sweet, or salty smelling?

Taste the Meat

Cured meats should prominently feature an "umami" flavor. Pay attention to the texture and mouthfeel, the flavors and finish. How does it feel on the tongue? Smooth, grainy, fatty, rough? How does it taste? Is it strong or mellow? Is it salty or herby?

Charcuterie and Cheese Platter

Tips for Tasting

Taste the Strength

Taste your charcuterie in order of strength, starting with the delicate and mild products and working your way up to the bolder flavors.

What to look for

Whole muscle meats tend to be sweeter, nuttier and have a prominent "umami" flavor. Encased meats often have a tang, with intense notes of pepper, fennel, and truffle, depending on the seasoning.

Wine & Charcuterie

Pair like with like, matching delicate meats with crisp white wines or light-bodied reds; mild meats with medium-bodied, fruiter wines; and strong meats with full-bodied reds.

Mix & Match

Complementary flavors help concentrate what's shared, while contrasting flavors help bring out unique characteristics.

Texture & Acidity

Texture and acidity matters when pairing your charcuterie with cheese. Contrast texture, such as a thin, soft slice of meat with a crumbly cheese. Pair a tart, citrusy, and bright cheese with a fattier meat, or vice versa.

© Copyright , Folio Fine Wine Partners, a Michael Mondavi Family Co., Napa, CA