Wine and cheese are two delicious treats and could be consumed on their own but what a wonderful experience when they are perfectly paired together! We all know it’s not easy to find the perfect combination considering all the different wines and cheeses produced around the world, so we put together a few examples of wine and cheese pairings that we really like. We’ve also listed some general guidelines to make your next wine and cheese pairing a real success!
As wine experts, we do know a thing or two about wine and cheese pairing but to get it perfectly right, we’ve partnered with Cheezelo, a independent cheese shop near King’s Cross, where you can find all the cheese you’ve ever dreamed of. Together we created really interesting pairings with our wines and Cheezelo’s delicious cheeses. So if you are a cheese lover don’t hesitate to visit the shop or their website.
Beaujolais “Rochebonne” 2017 from Maison Trénel
First, let’s start with a red Beaujolais. This wine is made of Gamay, which is the only red grape variety allowed in the appellation. Located between Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, Beaujolais usually produces generous, fruity red wines with not much tannins and quite easy-drinking. Our pick is the Beaujolais “Rochebonne” 2017 from Maison Trénel, a light to medium-bodied red wine developping red fruits aromas like cherry, raspberry or blueberry. It is fine and smooth on the palate with hints of liquorice and pepper on the finish.
For this wine, the perfect pairing will be The Vacherin Mont d’Or, a French cheese made in Franche-Comté region close to the Swiss border. This is a seasonal cheese, usually available between September and March. Either eaten hot like a fondue or cold, this soft and creamy cheese is delicate, nutty with a taste of spruce which holds it. Matching it with a Beaujolais, will balance out the intensity of the cheese by revealing the fruity notes of the wine, this smooth and light to medium-bodied Beaujolais will help to rinse out and balance the strength of the cheese.
Alternatively, you may try it with a Bleu d’Auvergne, a blue cheese made in Auvergne region (France). It is soft, creamy and not too overpowering with a slight salty and spicy finish. The combination of the wine and this cheese would balance out the intensity of blue light spices and the peppery notes of the wine. A great combination for those who are looking to reveal the strength of both wine and cheese together.
Anjou Blanc 2017 from Domaine de la Treille
For the second wine, we have chosen the Anjou appellation from the Loire Valley with the Anjou Blanc 2017 from Domaine de la Treille. This is a medium-bodied white wine made of Chenin Blanc, the main white grape variety of Anjou. This elegant wine has floral notes, yellow fruits, almond and dried apricot flavours. Thanks to the specific wine process of ageing on fine lees, the palate is round but well-balanced with a nice acidity on the finish.
With this round and refreshing wine, we recommend a soft and fresh goat cheese, like Chabichou or an Ash goat cheese, like a Selles Sur Cher or Saint Maur de Touraine. Focusing particularly on the balance of acidity and tanginess found in the goat cheese will match really well with the floral and citrus notes of the wine. On another hand, the wine will help reducing the acidity of the goat cheese and its sharpness.
The other alternative would be to have a richer and creamier cheese , such as the Brie de Meaux or a Camembert. Those cheeses have a slight scent of mould with mushroom and nutty condensed flavours. Although, there is not an intense acidity in those cheeses, the pairing with the Chenin Blanc from Anjou will be based on the floral flavours and acidity of the wine that will help revealing the sweet nuttiness of the cheese.
Chinon 2016 from Château du Petit Thouars
For the final wine, we stay in Loire Valley with a red wine from Chinon made of Cabernet Franc. The Chinon 2016 from Château du Petit Thouars is a light to medium-bodied wine with plenty of red fruit flavours like wild strawberry, red currant and cherry but not to overpowering. It is perfectly balanced with soft tannins and a nice fresh finish.
Our suggestion for this wine is Ossau Iraty, an ewe’s cheese made in the Basque Country in the South-West of France. It is a hard cheese that usually matures for 5 months or more. It has a complex and smooth hard texture with hazelnut aromas, and when more mature you can even find hints of caramel and cashew nut. Pairing with a red Chinon wine will intensify the nutty taste of this cheese thanks to the melted tannins and the cherry aromas of the wine. They match really well together!
Another cheese would be the famous Comté from Franche-Comté, particularly a mature one of 18 months old or older. Comté is a hard cheese well-balanced on sweet and savoury notes, usually hints of apricots, nuts, mountains flowers and peppercorn melting under the palate. Given the intensity of this cheese, pairing it with a Cabernet Franc from Chinon will reveal stronger notes of red fruits and bring a floral freshness in your mouth as well.
Wine & Cheese Guidelines
Let it breath
Like the red wine, leave your cheese at room temperature at least 30 min before serving. If you consume your cheese too cold you might miss out on some flavours and aromas.
White wine is your cheese wildcard!
It is usually easier to pair cheeses with white wine due to the higher acidity, which helps balance out and wash the nutritional fat and proteins of the cheeses. White wine is very versatile and can work well with many cheeses.
Birds of feather flock together
Wines and cheeses from the same French terroir usually pair well together. For example, try a Touraine goat cheese with a Loire Valley wine, Epoisses from Bourgogne with a Burgundy Wine, Munster with Alsatian Gewurztraminer, Mountain cheeses from Franche Comté with Wine from Jura, Languedoc-Roussillon wines with cheeses produced in the South of France, etc...
Who are the cheaters?
There are some “cheater cheeses” which will always pair well with wine. Those are usually extra mature cheeses, over 12 or 24 months old, like Comté, Beemster Gouda, Gruyere, Parmigiano or Cheddar. It is a good option if you are serving different wines, as the firm nutty cheese will have enough fat content to balance a bold red wine and bring out the delicate aromas of white wines as well.
Last but not least
Or final tip, try to pair cheese and wine of the same intensity. Wines over 14% of alcohol will pair better with more intensely flavoured cheeses (extra mature, blue cheeses, truffle cheeses…) while wine under 12% of alcohol will taste better with more delicate cheeses (soft cheeses, semi soft, some goat and ewe cheeses).
So if you know exactly which wine you want, dive into our wine list to match it with your favourite cheese, but if you still think that choosing a nice wine is too hard, why not let us do the work - we are wine expert afterall - and take advantage or our wine subscriptions.
Every month, we would send you a new wine box created around a specific theme, this is an easy way to enjoy and discover new French wines. You will receive 3 bottles carefully selected by our expert Sommeliers with matching tasting cards to explain you a bit more about those wines.
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