Top Tips for Cheese and Wine Matching
It’s great fun exploring cheese and wine matches, especially if you stumble upon that match made in heaven where the cheese and wine compliment each other perfectly, revealing different flavours and taste-bud-tingling harmony with every new mouthful.
But where to start? While it’s not an exact science, here’s some tips to get you on your merry cheese and wine matching way:
Like for Like
Flavour-wise, some cheeses and wines have a lot in common which can create a happy match. If you have a goat’s cheese with a fresh, light, acidic flavour like this St Maure it will work a charm with Sauvignon Blanc – which also has a crisp, slightly acidic finish.
On the other hand, some cheeses work best with their complete wine opposite, case in point: the strong, salty flavours of Roquefort paired with the cloyingly sweet, honey-like notes in Botrytis Semillon. Or pair a decadent triple cream like Delice des Cremiers with Champagne – the lightness of the bubbles helps cut through the incredible richness of the cheese and highlight the underlying creaminess.
The old adage ‘what grows together, goes together’ is a simple rule of thumb that can be applied to cheese and wine pairing. Generally, cheeses and wines from the same region will partner well – some classic examples include this Tuscan pecorino and Sangiovese, and Manchego and Tempranillo.
Above all else, this is probably the most important consideration. You don’t want your wine to overwhelm your cheese, and vice versa. Regardless of whether you are looking for complimentary flavours, or contrasting, always try to match the ‘level’ of the flavour in your cheese to that of your wine. The stronger the cheese, the fuller-bodied the wine should be, for example:
- Lighter bodied match: Creamy Small Cow Brie and Chardonnay
- Medium bodied match: French Comté and Pinot Noir
- Full bodied match: Matured English Cheddar and Cabernet Sauvignon
Learn more about the art of cheese and wine pairing at our regular Cheese & Wine nights at Formaggi Ocello.