Pairing Wine & Cheese

Pairing Wine & Cheese

Whitmore & White
Sometimes there's nothing better than sitting down with just a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers. The only difficulty is deciding which cheese to have with your wine. This month's blog is designed to lift the lid on matching cheese with wine. Although there are no hard and fast rules regarding matching up cheese and wine, it is helpful to remember a few things. Firstly, the harder the cheese, the more tannic the wine can be. Secondly, the creamier the cheese, the more acidic the wine will need to be. Finally, strong cheeses destroy fine wines. Only sweet wines can stand up to the flavours. So to begin with, let's start with soft, aromatic, creamy cheeses such as Brie or Camembert from France. A dry white Burgundy would work very well here. The acidity would help to cut through the creaminess of the cheese and Chardonnay is a bold enough wine to not be overpowered by the aromatics of this type of cheese. camembert_loup Camembert Dom.St Loup Absolutely the real thing. Made from unpasteurised milk that is hand-ladled to produce an undulating surface and a powerful, fruity flavour. Domaine de St Loup is one of a few true unpasteurised Camemberts that have survived the assault on the DOC by the big players. Staying with soft and creamy cheese but increasing the pungency, such as Munster or St Marcelin from France or La Tur from Italy. Here, a riper wine would be needed such as a Gewurztraminer or off-dry Riesling. If drinking red then a full bodied, chunky red such as a Corbieres or a Sicilian red. Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect accompaniment to a goats cheese or Feta. That naturally drier, almost sour flavour works very well with the grassy, nettle-like character of Sauvignon, especially Sancerre or Pouilly Fume. Soave from Italy will match very well too. Moving onto harder cheeses opens up much more variation to matching with wine. Reds and whites alike match well with many hard cheeses. Mature Cheddar is great with a red Bordeaux. Manchego from Spain goes so very well with Rioja. Pecorino and Parmesan (the proper stuff) really match well with Italian red wines such as Valpolicella Ripasso and Amarone. Beronia Rioja Crianza, DOCa Rioja Predominantly Tempranillo, with some Garnacha and Mazuelo, this Crianza is intensely fruity, with blackberry and strawberry characters and hints of spice and vanilla. Aged in mixed oak barrels for 12 months and bottle for a year prior to release. Beronia Rioja Reserva, DOCa Rioja Dense, bright cherry red in colour, intense aromas of red fruits, bread and fine wood. Aged for at least 18 months in mixed oak barrels, then aged in bottle for 18 months. Full and fresh on the palate, with a long finish, and sweet vanilla oak. Beronia Rioja Gran Reserva, DOCa Rioja This Gran Reserva is pure class. Aged in mixed oak barrels for 30 months, then 3 years in bottle before release. A wine of elegance and finesse. If you like your crumbly Lancashire or Wendsleydale cheese then try them with a new world Chardonnay. Not too oaky, but more fruit driven with a good acid backbone and you'll get a great combination of flavours. Finally we need to touch on blue cheese. From Stilton to Cambazola to salty Roquefort, these are cheeses that really do need something sweet as a matching partner. Sauternes is the classic partner to Roquefort but doesn't go so well with other blues. Stilton goes brilliantly with Port, especially if it's a Tawny Port. Sweet sherry and other sweeter fortified wines work well with other Blue cheeses. So there you go. Hopefully this little insight into matching wine and cheese will give you many pleasurable evenings to come. Until next time, Graham