Armani Ristorante's Tips For Cheese And Wine Pairings

Don't stress out while planning your menu for when you are hosting guests this holiday season. If you're looking to create an ideal spread of cheeses and wines to complement each other, look no further than New York City's Armani Ristorante.

The brand has taken the trouble out of second-guessing cheese and wine pairings by drawing inspiration from their own menu.

Here are a selection of wine and cheese pairings from their menus that are sure to impress guests:

Armani Ristorante often uses an Italian soft-ripened cheese of the Stracchino family known as Robiola. At the restaurant, they pair this with a low-tannin, fruitier wine like a barbera or pinot noir for a nice contrast to the cheese's earthy notes, while also cutting through its creamy texture. The restaurant offers the De Forville Barbera d'Alba 2010, which they serve by the glass, for example.

• The firm, savory sheep's cheese known as Fiore di Noce Stagionato works really well with crisp, moderately aromatic white wines like a gruner veltliner or a verdicchio such as the Bonci 2010.

• Following the "grows together, goes together" rule, the restaurant pairs a mildly sweet, full-bodied Piave cheese with a wine that's also from the Veneto, valpolicella. For a more powerful taste, the restaurant recommends the Ca La Bionda Casal Vegri 2009 or Bussola Ca del Laito Ripasso Valpolicella 2010. On the other hand, when paired with a white like the Muri-Gries 2011 Pinot Grigio, the cheese reveals more depth and some grassy notes, while the wine develops a subtle smokiness.

• Keeping it classic, Armani Ristorante pairs a traditional Pecorino Toscano with a fine brunello di montalcino; it is a marriage made in heaven, especially when paired with a bit of honey. 

• When it comes to a sweeter Testun al Barolo cheese, the restaurant keeps the pairing in the title and marries it with a young barolo wine, drawing out more flavor from the cheese, while the saltiness recedes.

• Armani Ristorante pairs the meaty, buttery taleggio cheese with a powerful, earthy wine such as a barbaresco or aglianico.

• For those who crave the bold taste of blue cheese, the restaurant pairs a beautiful Blue del Moncenisio with an Anselmi I Capitelli 2010. Made in the Soave region from dried grapes, the sweet wine comes off as concentrated but fruity.