For every type of cheese that you fall in love with, there will always be the perfect wine to compliment it. With a diverse variety of flavours in both cheese and wine, you’ll never be limited for choice – instead, you can look forward to an exciting culinary journey of exploration!
A good rule of thumb to begin exploring flavour combinations is to look at the type of cheese you are working with. Cheeses generally fall into five main categories: hard, blue, washed rind, semi-soft, and bloomy. Each of these has a distinct texture and flavour, and different types of wine will enhance the flavour.
Hard cheeses such as Tommes, Pecorino and Parmesan will often have a distinctive, character-filled flavour, intensifying as they age. These are often best served with a dry white wine that will enhance their flavours. Sparkling wines such as Champagne can be a delicious partner to younger cheeses, while a vintage Chardonnay will bring out the best of a more mature cheese.
The deliciously sharp, strong taste of blue cheese work especially well with sweeter wines, to offset the hint of salty tang in the cheese. Saint Agur’s creamy, smooth blue brings a fresh, refined taste, and can pair deliciously with a rich, fortified red wine such as a vintage Port.
Washed rind cheeses have a distinctively pungent aroma, with a rich, delectably smooth and gooey interior. The creamy smoothness of a washed rind cheese such as Pié d’Angloys works well with wines that compliment their richness – try a dry unoaked white wine such as an Alsatian Pinot Gris, or a more tannic red, such as Pinot Noir.
Semi soft cheeses such as Gruyere and Fol Epi have a delightful tenderness and depth of flavour, making them so enjoyable. These often work well with wines selected from the same region – opt for dry, white wines with a hint of oak such as Chardonnay or Condrieu, or rustic reds such as Chianti or a young Bordeaux, to bring out the rich, mellow flavours.
With a characteristic soft, powdery white rind, bloomy cheeses such as Le Rustique’s Brie and Camembert have an indulgent, buttery body, with a distinctive hint of pungency. These are best enjoyed with a young, fruity red wine – look for dry, light bodied wines such as Pinot Noir, and wines such as Médoc and Graves.
Sheep and Goat’s Cheese
When pairing the more distinctive flavours of sheep or goats cheeses, choose wines that will blend notes effortlessly together, for the best taste experience. Sheep’s cheeses work well with both sweet and dry white wines. When pairing a goat’s cheese with wine, a lighter tasting cheese such as Chavroux hits the perfect balance of smooth and sharp, and is brilliant with a dry white such as Chablis, or a medium red like Beaujolais.
What are your favourite wine and cheese pairings?