6 of the Best Wine and Cheese Pairings
It’s important to remember that when pairing wine and cheese, food always has the upper hand. Sugary and acidic flavours, along with chilli heat, have the power to alter the taste of wine considerably, in the worst cases making it bitter, while salt will improve a wine’s fruitiness. So it’s important to choose your wine and cheese pairings wisely so as not to spoil what’s in your glass.
When deciding on the best wine and cheese pairing, perhaps to host a cheese and wine tasting at home, it’s important to consider three characteristics of wine: flavour intensity, body and tannins. Each will have an effect on your wine, so it’s up to you to make sure that it’s a positive one.
Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec with Hard Cheese
If a wine has big flavours, high alcohol levels and ripe tannins, you’ll want a cheese that has the boldness to match. Put simply, red wine and cheese pairings should be like for like in terms of flavour. Hard, salty cheeses that intensify with age, such as aged cheddar or Parmesan, will work well with intensely flavoured wines a such as Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 or a malbec such as Terrazas de los Andes Malbec 2018.
Pinot Noir with Nutty Cheese
Pinot noir cheese pairings should be kept light. This is because if a wine is light in body, flavour intensity and tannins, you’ll need to choose a cheese with similar characteristics. Gruyere or Comté are two nutty-flavoured cow’s milk varieties that work very well with pinot noir, especially if it’s a glass of Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2018.
Sauvignon Blanc with Fresh Cheese
White wine and cheese pairings are less talked about than red wine and cheese, but when chosen well, a crisp, dry white wine that was made to drink young is the ideal partner to fresh and tangy white cheeses. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2020 has high acidity, notes of grapefruit, lime and lemongrass and a beautiful mineral quality that would be the perfect accompaniment to a rindless soft goat’s cheese or unaged feta cheese.
Rosé Wine with Goat’s Cheese
Cheese with rosé wine pairings are even less commonplace than those combining white wine and cheese, but a dry Provence rosé such as Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel 2020 is ideal paired with a rindless soft goat’s cheese that brings out the wine’s fresh and fruity flavours and pleasant minerality. When rolled in dried herbs, the cheese will also complement the herbal notes of this wine.
Sweet Wine with Blue Cheese
A blue cheese pairing might seem tricky as the flavours as so intense. But stinky blue cheeses or veined Roqueforts pair exceptionally well with sweet wines because the high sugar levels in the wine help to make the cheese taste creamier. Next time you want to find a Roquefort wine pairing, think Sauternes from Château d’Yquem.