The perfect cheese pairings
When it comes to pairing cheese & wine, we are devoted to giving it our best try! We love to experiment with new flavours and combinations and try to think outside the box.
As a general rule the harder the cheese, the bolder and more tannic wine can be. The creamier the cheese, the more it needs acidity to cut through the richness, but rules are made to be broken, aren’t they?!
White wine is close to the perfect match for cheese and generally better than red wine. The freshness of the white wine, the perfumed notes and the combination of sweetness and acidity suit many cheeses. However, pairing the right wine with the right cheese remains important and at The Cheese Yard in Knutsford, we are on hand to help you find the perfect match. Check out some handy tips below or shop online today.
"Fromage frais" and "fomages blancs"
Fromage frais and fromage blanc are cheeses that are not ripened. The texture of these cheeses is creamy and melting whilst characteristically high in water content with dry content often ranging between 15 to 35%. These cheeses are white in colour with a smooth but slightly bitter taste that is sometimes flavoured.
Wine suggestions: if served with sugar or honey, go for wines high in sugar such as natural muscat based sweet wines (Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de Mireval) or aromatic sweet wines (Gewurztraminer late harvest, Pinot gris late harvest, Jurançon); If served with herbs, salt and pepper, go for a dry aromatic wine (Condrieu, Pinot gris d‘Alsace, viognier vin de pays).
Soft cheeses with bloomy rind
These cheeses are put through a controlled ripening process. Their rind is white with a downy texture and the inside is soft and creamy, verging on melting. These cheeses release a delicate aroma of mushroom. A few examples are: Camembert, Brie, Pérail, Neufchâtel, Brillat-Savarin, Chaource and Saint-Félicien.
Wine suggestions: Camembert or Brie work well with supple light reds such as Beaujolais, Touraine and Anjou-gamay.
Soft cheeses with washed rind
These soft cheeses are characterised by a moist orangey coloured rind. Inside, the cheese is almost ivory in colour. In contrast to their strong odour, their flavour is generally less pronounced. It is during the course of the ripening that they are washed and brushed giving them their unique taste. A few examples include: Munster, Maroilles, Epoisses, Langres, Mont d‘Or and Pont l‘Evêque.
Wine suggestions: Munster, Epoisses and Livarot require powerful, aromatic and lively whites like an Alsatian Gewurztraminer.
Uncooked pressed cheeses
This is a cheese whose curd has been pressed at the time of moulding for maximum drainage. A pressed cheese is considered uncooked when the curd has not been subjected to any kind of heating process. Their taste and flavour come from the rind. A few examples include: Reblochon, Cantal, Bethmale, Mimolette, Moulis and Ossau-Iraty.
Wine suggestions: Cantal and Reblochon appreciate fleshy and spicy red wines in harmony with the cheese's dense pâte: Côtes-du-Rhône-villages, Gaillac, Fronton or a Provence red. A white wine with personality, fatty and aromatic such as a Châteauneuf-du-pape will bring out the fruity character of the cheese.
Cooked pressed cheeses
After being pressed, the curd belonging to these cheeses, also known as "hard cheeses", is heated. Their rind is firm and thick. Renowned for their finesse and their fruity flavour, these cheeses come with soft, melting or firm textures. They also preserve the richness of the milk produced in summer from the mountain pastures after the snows have thawed. A few examples are: Comté, Gruyère, Emmental, Beaufort, Parmigiano Reggiano, Abondance, Appenzeller and Etivaz.
Wine suggestions: Comté, Beaufort, and Emmental are great with fatty, slightly woody whites, with notes of hazelnut and butter such as wines from the chardonnay grape or, for a very original pairing, a yellow wine from the Jura or a Gaillac vin de voile.
Blue veined cheeses
The curd of these cheeses has not been heated. It is when the curd is moulded that fungus spores are added to the cheese such as Penicillium glaucum or Penicillium roqueforti depending on the cheeses. They are then pierced with long needles. These holes favour mould development and enable the veins to spread evenly throughout the inside of the cheese. Their texture is normally crumbly and the taste pronounced. A few examples: Roquefort, Fourme d‘Ambert, Gorgonzola, Stilton and Bleu d‘Auvergne.
Wine suggestions: Roquefort and blue cheeses in general are usually delicious with sweet natural red wines such as Banyuls, Rivesaltes and Maury whose aromatic power and smoothness work very well with the fattiness of the cheese. Dessert wines are also good for pairing as are powerful reds (madiran).
There is a multitude of goat's cheeses just as much in terms of tastes, as in shapes. These are the oldest of cheeses. They come fresh, ripened, dry or covered in ash, grapes, in a variety of aromatic herbs, spices or marinated. A few examples include: A Casinca, Banon, Cabécou, Crottin de Chavignol, Selles-sur-Cher and Sainte-Maure.
Wine suggestions: Cheeses with personality require lively and fruity whites such as sauvignons from the Centre-Loire or Touraine regions. Chardonnay wines aged in vats are also an option, e.g. a macon. When the cheese is very ripe, a Rivesaltes ambré or a semi-dry Montlouis-sur-loire soften the pairing.