A grilled cheese sandwich done right can be a great weeknight meal but, if we're being honest, grilled cheese really shines when paired with something else. The classic grilled cheese pairing may be tomato soup, but a glass of wine is just the ticket when you're looking to wind down. To help us understand what type of wine goes best with grilled cheese, we reached out to Doreen Winkler, natural wine sommelier, orange wine expert, and founder of Orange Glou — the world's first orange wine subscription service and wine store in New York City.
"Medium to full-bodied orange wines are an excellent pairing for grilled cheese," Winkler told us. "Grilled cheese is usually made with flavorful cheese like cheddar, gruyere, and Cheez Whiz. The texture and creaminess of the grilled cheese work really well with the fuller bodied texture of an orange wine like that (e.g. Georgian Rkatsiteli)."
It's a staple of wine pairing to identify the particular flavor profile of the food that you want to highlight and find a wine that helps draw those features out. Grilled cheese sandwiches are decadent and bold, perfect for a full-bodied wine. Winkler went on to add, "The notes of mushroom, tea, and juicy apricot also provide a great balance to the cheese."
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What Is Orange Wine?
For anyone not deep into the wine scene, orange wine probably isn't something you're familiar with. The classic genres of wine are red and white but they are by no means the only ones — there's rosé, green, and orange too. Although the differences can get somewhat technical when you dig deep into bottles of wine within each category, the view from 30,000 feet is pretty straightforward.
Orange wine is made with white grapes, much like white wine. Unlike white wine, however, orange wine is allowed to spend time soaking with the grapes' skin. The skin is what gives a wine its tannins, which are the chemical compounds responsible for the gummy dry feeling in your mouth when you taste a big-bodied cabernet sauvignon. Tannins are an essential part of understanding the spectrum of wine flavors. The reason orange wine goes so well with a grilled cheese sandwich is thanks in part to these tannins.
White wine is famously light on the tannins, leading to a sweeter flavor profile. Orange wines have a density and complexity thanks to their time spent with the grape skins that allows them to stand up to the richness of grilled cheese. A red wine would be too forceful, a white wine would be too thin, but an orange wine is right in the Goldilocks zone.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.