Wine and cheese have always been a match made in heaven. But how do you know which types of wine to pair with certain types of cheese? If you’re thinking of ordering a cheese board from our menu, here’s our easy guide to get you matching cheese and wine like the experts.
If you have decided on eating a hard cheese such as a mature or mild cheddar, a firm Italian cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano or a Spanish cheese like Manchego, opt for a medium-bodied red wine such as a Rioja or a Cabernet Sauvignon to balance out the intense flavours – especially if you are eating a very strongly flavoured, extra-mature cheddar cheese. Chardonnay also makes a good pairing with many different types of hard cheese.
Hard washed-rind cheeses
Also affectionately known as ‘stinky cheese’, hard washed-rind cheese varieties include Epoisses, Taleggio and Reblochon. The rind of the cheese is washed with a damp cloth (soaked in salt water or brine) while it is maturing. This changes the make-up of the cheese, and causes a bacteria to grow on the surface that is tolerant to salty and humid conditions, which in turn changes the flavour and makes it more punchy. Because this type of cheese has such a strong flavour, it can be difficult to find a wine to pair with it. A dry white wine works surprisingly well however, and so does a strong red wine such as a Shiraz.
From soft, spreadable cheese to gooey Brie and soft Camembert – the strong, rich and tangy flavours in these types of cheese are offset very well with a fruity red wine such as a Beaujolais or a Pinot Noir. If you want to be a little more experimental and come away from the norm, a rosé wine works very well, too.
From Stilton to Gorgonzola – the key when pairing wine with a sharp, tangy blue cheese is to complement it with a sweeter tipple. Port works very well with Stilton, while Sauternes is a great accompaniment to Gorgonzola. Ale or stout can also be a great match, and if you’re looking for something completely different, a sweet sherry will be just as flavoursome as a sweet red wine.
It’s no secret that the go-to wine for any type of goat’s cheese is a Sauvignon blanc. A rosé will also work well, as will a fruity red with strong berry notes such as Beaujolais.
A crisp white wine is always a safe bet if you are tucking into a cheese fondue. Admittedly, it can be hard to match a good wine with melted cheese, as a cheese’s flavour generally changes as it melts, but stick with something fresh and aromatic and you can’t go wrong. Champagne is a good pairing.