There’s nothing quite like a delicious plate of macaroni and cheese to warm your belly on a chilly winter evening. Add to that some fabulous wine, and you’ve got absolute perfection.
We figured there’s no better place to get wine-and-cheese pairing advice than Artisanal Bistro -- New York City’s Department of All Things Cheese and Wine. Let’s just say getting locked in their fromagerie with a stash of wine wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Luis Fuentes is the restaurant’s Wine Director. He gave us the 101 of pairing wine with mac and cheese. “You don’t want a fruit bomb like a zinfandel,” he said, “because you need acidity to cleanse the palate of fatty particles.” You do want to know what cheese is being used in the recipe, because there are so many different types.
So for homemade Macaroni and Cheese using basic cheddar, Fuentes said a New World cabernet sauvignon would be perfect.
When making it with cheese from the Loire Valley, using goat or alpine cheeses, he suggests drinking something white that’s lighter and more acidic like Sancerre.
The Artisanal macaroni and cheese dish uses Emmental, Gruyère and Parmesan. With that, he’d pair a crisp white like grüner veltliner from Austria. He said a German riesling might be “too sweet and get overwhelmed by the saltiness and nuttiness of the cheese.”
So, what if you’re sitting home and want the basic mac and cheese from a box? Fuentes said, there’s a wine for that, too. “I think an inexpensive merlot, a very fruity merlot, would do well with it. If you’re spending a buck fifty for mac and cheese, I don’t recommend opening up your 1982 Latour.”
Here are some of our picks based on the types of wines Fuentes recommends:
DOMAINE YVES MARTIN Sancerre Chavignol 2012 (Loire, France) $22
CLOS DU VAL Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Napa Valley, CA) $30
LOIMER Lois Gruner Veltliner 2012 (Kamptal, Austria) $14
SANTA EMA Merlot Reserve 2009 (Maipo Valley, Chile) $13
What’s your favorite mac and cheese pairing? Tell us below!