Is there anything better than a cheese board and a bottle of wine? We certainly don’t think so. With winter settling in we like to perch in front of a fire with some hard cheeses and a glass of red, while in the warmer months there’s nothing more enjoyable than a chilled white, a soft cheese and the great outdoors.
Pair by intensity
A great rule of thumb when pairing wine and cheese is to try and match the flavours, even when it comes to those which are strong. A great example of this enjoying a sweet dessert wine with a smelly cheese. We’re partial to a Botrytis Semillon with a blue cheese like Gorgonzola. They balance each other out exceptionally well, with the cheese reducing the Botrytis’ sweetness and the wine bringing out the creamier elements of a blue.
Soft cheese likes high acidity
When it comes to a soft and sticky cheese, wines with a high acidity act as palate cleansers. In the case of soft cheeses, like Brie and Gruyere, the fat content can make it feel like it is coating your mouth, which in turn makes it harder for other flavours to break through, so this is where a palate cleansing wine comes in handy. A sparkling white amplifies this effect, but a white that is light on the oak flavour, such as Chardonnay, also works well.
Go bold and old
High-tannin wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, go excellently with an aged cheese. When cheese ages it loses water and increases in fat content, which can take the edge off the bitterness that can be present in tannic wines and draw out flavours on the mid-palate. Look for something that has been aged for at least six months, or even a year, such as a sharp Cheddar or Gouda.
What’s in your fridge?
Of course, sometimes cheese just ends up in the back of the fridge until you remember that it should be eaten so it ends up paired with anything (don’t worry, we’re guilty too!). For some additional suggestions; try Semillon with Ricotta, Tri Moir and Feta, or Merlot with Monterey Jack.