Wine and cheese. Two simple words that when uttered in the same revered breath tantalise, excite, and send the taste buds into a spin.
Like a match made in heaven pairing wine and cheese brings a real sense of occasion to well…any occasion.
So, here’s a few pointers to get your taste buds singing.
As with pairing any food and wine, there are no hard and fast rules to wine and cheese pairing, other than what tastes good and feels right.
But with so many potential wine and cheese pairings there are a few simple guidelines that can narrow down what goes with what. And what might be a more ambitious match!
As a general rule of thumb, the more intensely flavoured the wine, the more intensely flavoured a cheese you’ll want to pair it with. Likewise, wines with a higher percentage of alcohol will pair better with bolder cheeses, like aged cheddars, while cheeses with more delicate flavours will pair better with lighter wines.
Here’s our take on what works well.
Soft cheeses are unaged and retain some moisture and have a mild taste and a buttery texture that melts in your mouth. Soft cheeses include the likes of Brie and Camembert. With a thick and almost sticky texture, most soft cheeses need a wine that will cut through the richness. Enter Riesling which is a go to match at John Gehrig Wines. Local honey and baked Camembert anyone?
At Pfeiffer Wines it’s the Late Harvest Muscadelle – a wine made from the very last grapes to be harvested each vintage – that is a marriage made in heaven with triple cream brie style cheese.
As a hard cheese ages its richness of flavour increase, making them the perfect foil for a bold red, as the tannins in the red are a great complement to these attributes. Durif of Rutherglen fits the bill nicely. Or for something different at Morris Wines they pair sharp strong cheeses with the OPR Muscat or Grand Cellar Reserve Muscat with the characteristics of the cheese bringing out the pear, citrus, raisin characteristics of the Muscat.
A stinky blue cheese is one of the most evocative and exciting cheese to pair wine with. Whether it be a soft or washed-rind blue-veined cheese, you can’t go past a sweet wine to balance it, from a Moscato to a Late Harvest dessert wine. Over at Buller Wines they have a different take on the ultimate match for a blue – Buller Calliope Chardonnay with the flintiness and minerality from the barrel ferment and lees maturation enhancing pungent notes of blue cheese. Durif – one of the iconic red varieties of Rutherglen – also does a sterling job when match with blue according to the team at Morris Wines.
At Warrabilla Wines for a simple, indulgent treat they raid the fig tree in the warmer months, slice them halfway through from the top and fill with the soft Burramine Blue from nearby Boosey Creek Cheese then warm the figs the oven and voila – a delicious starter that pairs perfectly with chilled Rutherglen Muscat.
Washed rind cheese
Washed rind cheeses like Taleggio or Reblochon tend to be quite stinky. A wonderful wine pairing for these strongly scented cheeses is a fruit-forward wine such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc. Or a Sparkling Shiraz, which Anderson Wines chief winemaker Christobelle Anderson says is so versatile that it works at the start or end of a meal and is a knockout when paired with washed rind cheeses.
Goat’s cheese is a beautiful salty, crumbly curd famed for its tang and dense texture. While Pinot Noir is often paired with a goat’s cheese, Sauvignon Blanc is a wine you can’t go past if you’re looking for an unforgettable combination. The acidity of the wine perfectly balances the cheese and gives it some unbelievable herbaceous notes.
So, there you go – a few simple pointers on wine and cheese matching. Enjoy!