Blue Cheeses And Aged Cheeses
Aging often intensifies and changes cheese, giving it a richer and more complex flavor profile. This means that you need to focus on wines with a rich flavor of their own. The nuances of gentler wines can get almost entirely lost when paired with an aged cheese.
For anyone wanting a wider variety of pairing options check out our posts on wine pairing with blue cheese and with aged gouda. Both types of cheese can be paired with a variety of wines, including some unexpected ones.
Port and Blue Cheese
Port is a type of fortified wine, one that tends to be thicker than other types of wine, with an appealing sweetness. This combination of features contrasts well against the pungent nature of blue cheese.
While port is often paired with cheese, the combination often doesnt work as well as you might expect. The problem is that port has an intense flavor. Blue cheese is strong enough to stand its own with port, but many other types of cheese fail.
If youre making a cheese board, red grapes, walnuts, and dark fruit are all fantastic additions. These provide a similar richness of flavor and create a cheese board thats full of complimentary flavors.
Port and Aged Cheddar
A well-aged cheddar is one of the few other types of cheese that can stand up to port. For this to work, you need a cheddar that is powerful and has been through a decent amount of aging. Cheese with subtle flavor just isnt going to work.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Cheddar
Malbec and Blue Cheese
Wine For Soft And Creamy Cheese
Soft and creamy cheeses are usually white on the outside due to the natural white mold. This cheese type tends to be creamy with a delicate buttery, sometimes pungent, flavour. These cheeses are best paired with wines that have good acidity to cut through the fat, such as sparkling wines and light-bodied white wines.
Classic wine parings for soft and creamy cheeses are:
- Brie with Champagne
- Délice de Bourgogne with Cava
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 goats cheese or unaged feta cheese.
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How To Pair Wine And Cheese
Its National Drink Wine Day, so were celebrating the only way we know how with our favorite wine and cheese pairings. Armed with just a little knowledge and curiosity, you can learn how to pair wine and cheese at home. Here are some of our favorite duos:
Alpine-style cheese & RieslingGrand Cru® washed-rind Alpine-style cheese is complex, yet crowd-pleasing. Careful crafting brings out light floral notes, nutty undertones, a hint of fruitiness and a mellow finish. It pairs perfectly with sweet and dry white wines like Riesling.
Prairie Sunset® & LambruscoOften described as a cheddar-gouda blend, Prairie Sunset is made with the heart of the midwest and aged for 4+ months in our cellars in Monroe, Wisconsin. Its mild and approachable flavor profile makes is the perfect cheese to complement a bubbly and fruity Lambrusco.
Havarti & Pinot NoirHavarti isnt the first cheese you think of to pair with red wine, but the creamy texture makes it a perfect accompaniment. Havarti loves a good red wine like Pinot Noir and Merlot, and can even stand up to the high alcohol of a Red Zinfandel. White wine lovers will enjoy it equally well with a Sauvignon Blanc or a buttery Chardonnay to complement its buttery flavor.
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Wine & Cheese Pairing Ideas
When it comes to buying cheese, you can stop by your local grocer or order online. If you live somewhere with a limited cheese selection, or would like to explore pre-selected cheese assortments, I recommend iGourmet.
They have a rather impressive roundup of cheese collections grouped under the heading Cheese for Wine and include different grape varieties for pairing such as:Chardonnay,Sauvignon Blanc,Pinot Noir,Cabernet Sauvignon,Riesling,Champagne,Rosé,Merlot,Syrah ,Zinfandel, andPort.
iGourmet also offers regional cheese assortments for England, Ireland, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Mexico, California, and the United States.
To make this guide more useful, I contacted two of my most trusted wine club partners The California Wine Club and SomMailier to see if theyd be interested in helping me pair their wines with the Cheese for Wine assortments from iGourmet. They said yes! Lucky you!
The California Wine Club has several wine club options and an online store. This woman-led small business works with family wineries, seeking out great wines youd be hard-pressed to find outside the winery tasting rooms.
I worked with The California Wine Club to pair wines with the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon cheese assortments. I worked with SomMailier to pair the iGourmet French Cheese Assortment and a specially-selected Blue cheese.
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Vintage Port And Stilton
The older the port is, the sweeter it is because the tannins have become soft over time and the acidity has decreased. Because of this, blue cheeses work well with it. The older the vintage port is, the stronger and smellier the blue cheese can be.
With these tips, you should be able to make cheese and wine pairing less complicated and more enjoyable. You can enjoy numerous combinations and experiment with this guide as a starting reference point.
About Our Team
Erin is a native Austinite that loves writing, wikipedia, online window-shopping for home goods, and riding on airplanes. When not writing articles at work, you can probably find her winding down with a glass of wine, a book, and her two favorite neurotic cats.
How To Pair Cheese To Wine
When in doubt, it is usually safe to pair wines and cheeses from the same region. If you have a great parmesan, for example, pair it with an Italian Chianti. If you have a cheese you enjoy, such as brie, take into account its class. The best pairings are the ones that draw a contrast between the flavors of the wine and cheese. Brie is a soft, creamy cheese, which means it will go well with a lush, acidic wine, like Chardonnay. Harder cheeses go better with wines that are more tannic, and salty cheeses go well with sweet wine.
Because every palate is different, you may find that you prefer certain pairings over others. To find the right combination:
- Take a bite of the cheese by itself to assess its taste.
- Take another bite and hold it in your mouth with the wine.
- Consider how the two mingle together to determine if its a match.
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Wine For Fresh Cheese
Fresh cheeses are a bit salty with a pronounced milky flavour and acidity. They are not aged and their flavour is mild. They need to be paired with delicate wines in order not to be overwhelmed. A good wine for fresh cheeses is crisp and dry light-bodied white wines.
Classic wine pairings with fresh cheeses are:
- Mozzarella with Pinot Grigio
- Ricotta with Vermentino or Chablis
- Feta with Assyrtiko or Sauvignon Blanc
- Grilled halloumi with Assyrtiko or a dry rosé wine
Enjoy your cheese and wine!
Pinot Noir & Cheese Pairing
The Pinot Noir Cheese Assortment from iGourmet includes: Manchego, 6-months Aged Comté, and a Chocolate Capri Log.
The Manchego DOP is a classic Queso Manchego aged a minimum of 3 months. Its made from pasteurized milk produced by heritage breed black ewes that graze the Parra Family vineyard in La Mancha, central Spain. The cheese is semi-Firm, with exceptionally high moisture content giving it a creamy mouth feel despite its slightly crumbly profile. The cheese has a zesty, buttery, lanolin scent. Its flavor is nutty, herbaceous, sweet and savory with a slight saltiness. La Oveja Negra is moister, more complex, sweeter and less salty than factory-made Manchegos.
This Comté, made from unpasteurized cows milk, is aged for six months, where it develops a tight-knit texture and satiny body. On the palate, one can detect notes of fruits, hay, and a slightly nutty, smoky flavor gained during the process when the curd is cooked.
The Chocolate Capri took 1st Place at the American Cheese Society Awards in the Flavored Goat Cheese category. If the notion of a semi-sweet chocolate goat cheese appeals to you, you must try this creation from Westfield Farm. Fresh goat cheese is blended with bittersweet Venenzuelan chocolate. Rich and creamy with a slightly goaty tang .
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Beyond These Wine And Cheese Pairing Tips Go With What You Like
Wine and cheese have gone hand-in-hand for centuries. But since there isnt just one type of wine or a single kind of cheese , getting the right pairing can be a bit tricky. Just as wines can vary immensely in color, acidity, and complexity, cheeses span a range of tastes and textures. The mouthfeel of each cheese variety depends on moisture content, fat content, acidity, and age.
Ultimately, the goal of wine and cheese pairing is to find a bottle that wont overpower the cheese and vice versa. Start with tried-and-true combinations like those listed above to see what works for you. From there, have fun mixing things up to discover a delectable pairing that suits your tastes.
Wine And Cheese Pairing Guide
Wine and cheese pairing possibilities are endless. To simplify the strategy, cheeses can be divided into six categories.
Soft and rindless, these can be made with cow, goat or sheep milk. Theyre not aged and have a mild, slightly tangy flavor. While a log of bright white goat cheese is iconic, the category also includes farmers cheese, ricotta and others that come in tubs.
These are named for the bloom of white mold on the outside. They tend to be the richest and creamiest type of cheese, with a soft, spreadable texture. The rind is edible, and it has a stronger, funkier flavor than the interior.
A bath in brine, beer or wine produces a distinct orange rind. Theyre rich and creamy, and they can be soft or semi-soft in texture. Theyre funkier than bloomy cheeses, with gamy, often pleasantly pungent notes.
Theyre not spreadable, nor do they break in shards like a hard cheese. They tend to be creamy and fairly mild in flavor. Many are excellent to melt and perfect to slice. Some cheeses like Gouda are semi-soft in younger styles, while when aged, their texture turns hard.
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The product of aging, these are quite firm and break into crumbles or shards. They tend to have nutty and complex savory notes. Some are fairly pungent and salty.
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Wine With Melted Cheese
Its not a cheese style in its own right but melted cheese classics such as fondue and raclette deserve a mention. They arent the easiest dishes to match, but a good bet is a crisp or aromatic white wine from the region where these dishes are popular. Youll find some specific suggestions in this post: the best wine pairings with cheese fondue, raclette and tartiflette.
Cheese And Wine Pairings Infographics
Although there are no universal rules to identify precisely what cheese goes with wine perfectly, cheese and wine pairing is not just a matter of personal taste. There are several useful tips worth paying attention to when you choose cheese for wine or vice versa. The main tip is to match acidity in a right way. Creamy and buttery cheeses should pair with smooth and mellow wines, while tangier cheeses match to tarter wines. Cheeses with high acidity contrast well to sweet wines, whereas wines with high acidity are finely complemented by salted cheeses. The other important thing is the strength of wine: the stronger the wine, the sharper the cheese should be served. One more rather common pattern to pair good cheese with wine of a certain varietal is to choose these two products from one region of origin. Manufactured under the same natural and climate conditions, both the cheese and wine should have complementary qualities and properties.
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What Red Wine Goes Well With Cheese
If you are serving a selection of light cheeses, such as brie, red smear cheese and other white mould cheeses, its a good idea to serve a light and fruity red wine. Pinot Noir or Gamay are especially lovely and you rarely go astray with a light Bourgogne or Beaujolais, both of which come from north-eastern France.
What Else Should I Include On A Cheese Board For Wine Tasting
Well, youre in luck, because I took a wine class in culinary school, and I still have my GIANT textbook.
It gave me lots of great ideas for snack and wine pairings for my wine and cheese board, including:
- strawberries pair with pinot noir
- chocolate chip cookies pair with syrah or cabernet sauvignon
- candied pecans or walnuts pair with riesling
- pepperoni pair with syrah
- sweet potato chips pair with moscato
- white chocolate pair with champagne
- prosciutto pair with pinot noir
- castelvetrano olives pair with sauvignon blanc
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Protip: Consider Age And Intensity
All of cheese-dom lies along a continuum from fresh through hard-aged. Young fresh cheeses have a high water content and a milky and delicate texture. As a cheese ages, a process called affinage, the moisture in its body slowly evaporates, leaving behind fat and protein. Since fat and protein carry flavors, older cheeses tend to be more rich and savory.
In addition to drying and concentrating the cheese, age also introduces new flavors. Bloomy-rind cheeses like Brie remain gooey and spreadable, but have picked up earthy notes from a few months in the cave. Older cheeses like Gruyère and Emmental acquire nutty flavors. Blue cheeses develop pungency from the mold in their veins. Washed-rind cheeses like Époisses earn a funky, bacon-y redolence that you either love or hate.
Like cheeses, wines also run the gamut from delicate to bold, and their depth and complexity can correlate with their age, too. Young wines are fresh and spirited, with lively aromas and bright flavors of fruits, flowers, citrus, herbs, or spice. Wines that have spent time in cask or bottle have had a chance to knit together and acquire more nuance. In addition to their primary fruit flavors, they take on secondary notes of oak, toast, earth, oxidation, minerals, umami, and more. Like cheeses, these wines tend to be more complex and savory than their younger counterparts.
Extra Sharp Cheddar & Merlot
According to Wisconsin Cheese, red wines pair better with stronger, aged cheeses, like the extra sharp cheddar. The tannins in the red wine pair well with “full-bodied, flavorful cheeses” and can serve as a palate cleanser as you sip between each bite. “Keep in mind that red wine often doesn’t pair well with fresh cheese, as the tannins and low acidity can cause fresh cheeses to taste chalky,” they recommend. So as for an extra sharp cheddar, like their Black Creek®, it will pair well with a medium-bodied Merlot.
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Red Wines Pairing Guidelines
Although it is believed that whites match different cheeses better than reds, nothing bans to experiment and pair the types of the world s best cheese with red wine, and find fabulous combinations.
Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Pairings
This is a full-bodied and rich-flavored red wine, rather assertive and tannic, with a fine blackberry tint. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing includes meat dishes and mostly hard cheeses, such as Asiago, Cheddar, Manchego, Parmesan and Pecorino.
Malbec Wine Pairings
Malbec is a soft wine with a berry and rather spicy touch, though its flavor characteristics greatly depend on the region where it is produced. It pairs well with Asiago, Manchego, Mimolette and Taleggio.
Merlot Wine Pairings
Pinot Noir Wine Pairings
Light and delicate, with a slight berry smack, this is one of the noblest and the most versatile wines. It is great with meat, poultry and vegetable dishes. Pinot Noir cheese pairing varies from Brie and Epoisses to Gouda and Gruyere.
Syrah/Shiraz Wine Pairings
Syrah or Shiraz, as it is called in Australia, is a spicy wine with a large diversity of berry, meaty and peppery flavors. It goes well with smoky and rather sharp cheeses, such as Edam, Gouda or St. Nectaire.
Cheese For Aromatic White Wine
If you are drinking an aromatic white wine with a hint of sweetness, like Riesling or Gewürztraminer, choose pungent washed-rind cheeses like Munster, Morbier, Raclette, Taleggio and Livarot. These wash-rind cheeses are usually very strong and pungent with a creamy or semi-soft texture. These stinky cheeses require wines with acidity and a hint of sweetness to balance the strong flavours of the wine.
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