Wine and cheese have been paired together for centuries, but with ever increasing options of cheese, knowing how to pair them with your favourite wines is becoming more of a fine art. We have previously given you suggestions on how to pair wine with fish, but it is just as easy to couple your reds and whites with cheese.
As you are most likely aware, Camembert de Normandie is a vegetarian, French cheese very similar to Brie but, due to being produced in smaller wheels, it has a stronger flavour. Served at room temperature, its rich, buttery flavour will pair nicely with a Cabernet Sauvignon from California, or a Chenin Blanc from Loire Valley, France.
Another delicious soft cheese is Boursin from France. This creamy and crumbly cheese made from cow’s milk is easily spreadable, with a buttery, smooth flavour. It’s a great vegetarian option, and an ideal pair with Gewürztraminer from France or Germany.
Greek Feta cheese is made from goat and sheep’s milk, which imbues the cheese with a strong, tangy, and salty flavour. It’s a creamy and crumbly cheese which is sold submerged in brine to preserve its delicate nature. A light Beaujolais Nuveau is the ideal pair to balance the richness of feta cheese.
Spanish cheese, Manchego, has a fruity, sweet, and nutty flavour; the older – or more curado or viejo – the cheese, the more developed the flavours. Its firm and supple texture pairs wonderfully with Malbec wine from Argentina.
Made from cow’s milk, the classic English Cheddar has a compact texture and a sharp, creamy flavour. A Rioja from Spain, or French Champagne, will pair beautifully with this firm cheese.
A glass of French Merlot pairs nicely with Provolone Italian cheese, made from cow’s milk. It is sweet, tangy, spicy, and buttery, with a firm and grainy texture. The pleasant aroma will intensify if it is aged for more than four months.
If you have a bottle Chardonnay from Chile or a Pinot Noir from Italy, they will be fantastically complemented served with Gruyère. It is sweet and salty, with a nuanced nutty and earthy flavour. It’s made from cow’s milk in Switzerland, with a dense and compact texture.
Azeitão cheese from Portugal is beautiful with a deep coloured Tempranillo from Spain. Made from unpasteurised sheep’s milk, this cheese is buttery, sour, and salty. Azeitão is a perfect vegetarian option, as the flower of a locally grown cardoon plant acts as coagulant and gives it a slight herbal taste.
Switzerland’s Emmental cheese has a sweet aroma and a fruity taste with a slight hint of acidity. Although it’s produced from cow’s milk, its walnut-sized holes are the result of a complicated fermentation process. An easy choice to make, however, is to opt for a glass of Chateauneuf-du-Pape from France, which tastes simply delicious with this cheese.
Gorgonzola cheese from Italy will pair wonderfully with a Cabernet Franc from California; as a blue cheese, it has a strong flavour and a salty taste. Port wine from Portugal will balance Gorgonzola’s strong flavour perfectly.
Maytag Blue cheese originates from the United States and it is characterised by its strong smell. Made from cow’s milk and ripened over six months, it has a lemony and tangy flavour. As such, a beautiful, classic Italian Chianti or a Zinfandel from California will complement this cheese wonderfully.
Blue Castello from Denmark, also made from cow’s milk, is creamy and smooth in texture. A Sauvignon Blanc or a Chenin Blanc from the French Loire Valley balance its buttery and tangy taste perfectly.
As you can see, personal preference for a soft or a harder cheese won’t compromise your enjoyment with a beautiful bottle of wine. This is where it pays to have a wide variety of wines in your cellar, to ensure that any cheese you bring to the table can find its perfect partner, and to give your taste buds the taste-totality that they deserve.