Which wine to pair with cheese ?

A basic strategy for pairing of cheese with wine is to select a wine which comes from the same region as the cheese you like to eat. This can be very easy for Italian, French and Spanish cheese but will be less obvious for other countries.

You often hear that red wine pairs well with cheese. This is true but not for every cheese. Sometimes it`s better to choose a white wine which complements the cheese aroma underlining the combination of wine and cheese.

Which red wines pair with cheese ?

Red wine combines well with hard cheeses like Cantal, Reblochon, Beaufort or Comte. You need to keep in mind that the best pairing between hard cheese and red wine will be with light round red wines with low tannin content. Tannins come from the stems, seeds and skins of the grapes as well as from oak barrels the wine is elevated in. Red wines to avoid with cheese are cabernet sauvignon, Nebbiolo, syrah, sangiovese, montepulciano and red wines with a barrique note.

A good choice of red will be a Cotes-du-Rhone, Cotes-de-Provence, Chateauneuf du Pape or a pinot noir.

Which wines pair with blue cheese ?

Liquorous wines pair very well with blue cheese. The slight honey notes and sweet fruity taste of a sauternes associates very well with the power of a gorgonzola as they appease the strong aroma of the cheese. You can also select a sherry, port or a TBA (Trockenbeerenausleese) from Germany or Austria.

Alternatively, you can select a very soft natural wine as a Banyuls or a Maury from Languedoc-Roussillon. The sweet side of these red wine calms the very stringent note of the Roquefort and underlines the unctuous character of the cheese.

Which wines pair with goat cheese ?

A demi sec white wine pairs well with a goat cheese or a tasty mellow white wine like a vouvray, loupiac or a pinot gris.

Which wines pair with hard cheese ?

Most of the white, burgundy wines pair very well with hard cheese. A good choice will be a white, Chablis or Macon.

Cantal & Saint-nectaire are hard cheese variations with a very dense skin which liberate their strong aroma only on removing the cheese rind. Depending on the degree of maturity different wines can be recommended. To refine the flavour of the cheese a wine of the same line as described above needs to be selected as a Cotes-du-Rhone or a Cotes-de-Provence red wine. For younger and fruitier hard cheese, we recommend a pinot blanc from Alsace or a chardonnay from burgundy.

Emmental and Comte harmonise very well with rich white wines which have nutty and buttery notes. A very good choice would be a yellow wine from Jura, a white grenache from Languedoc.


Which wines pair with soft cheese ?

Munster, Brie and Saint-Felicien are cheeses with strong aroma and pair well with soft liquorous wines. A different approach is to combine them with a more characterful wine like a Chateauneuf-du-Pape or a Cote-du- Rhone red wine. This is possible as the cheeses don`t show a strong bitter aroma like blue cheese.

Camenbert cheese will be just perfect with a red wine. A red wine with a strong character to stand up to the strong camembert needs to be selected. Our suggestion would be a light full bodied low tannin red wine like a Gamay, Beaujolais or a pinot noir.

Reblochon is a soft cheese with a very strong aroma which needs to be accompanied by white wines with a powerful taste and more important a certain acidity to avoid a bitter aftertaste which can remain. A Gewürztraminer from Alsace or a chenin from the Loire valley are able to master the reblochon cheese.

Summarising

Try to choose a wine from the same region as the cheese. Red wine can be served with cheese, but it needs to be a low tannin red wine. White wine can be served with all cheese variations if you remember that the acidity and aroma of the white wine need to complement the cheese. Blue cheese is best consumed with liquorous, sweet wines.

Christina Day
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