The glorious cheeseboard. Synonymous with wine and over-indulgence, but which wine is best to serve with which cheese?
When eating singular cheeses, think regionally, pairings such as Champagne and Brie, Crottin de Chavignol paired with Quincy or Menetou-Salon, Manchego and dry sherry.
But when you have a cheeseboard, you typically want a wine that will go with most of the board, therefore we have designed styles of cheeseboards and pairings with them; soft washed-rind cheeses, hard cheeses, goat cheeses and blue cheese.
If you’re indulging in a melty-cheese feast, such as Tartiflette, Swiss Fondue or raclette, a rich yet refreshing Chardonnay such as OLIVIER LEFLAIVE Montagny 1er Cru. The wine would have enough acidity to cut through the richness but have enough body to complement the flavours and complexity of the cheese. A favourite pairing of mine is BENITO FERRARA Greco di Tufo with Tartiflette - the salty bacon lardons picks out the slight salinity in the wine, and it has enough richness to stand up to the cheese.
Aged Cheddar, Comte, Manchego, Gruyere, Parmesan. These are great with a classic Bordeaux something not too tannic (ideally from a ripe vintage like 2010, 2015 or 2016) where the fattiness of the cheese can withstand a bolder wine. CHATEAU FONBEL Saint-Emilion 2016 is a great choice, the fruit in the wine pairing well with perhaps a fruit chutney served on the side, and the tannins allayed by the creaminess of the cheese. Alternatively, an aged oaked white such as PIEROPAN 'La Rocca' Soave with its nutty palate enhancing the flavours in cheeses such as Gruyere or Emmental.
Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Cambozola. The saltiness of the cheese is the perfect match to an unctuous sweet wine. The classic pairing of Stilton and Port is tried and tested, but a potted Stilton is also perfectly matched to a medium-dry solera Sherry like XIMENEZ-SPINOLA Pedro Ximenez 'Old Harvest' Oloroso allowing the more fragrant aromas of the cheese to shine through. Gorgonzola is perfect with the greats of the sweet wine world- Hungarian Tokaji such as TOKAJ CLASSIC Tokaji Aszu '5 Puttonyos' or a classic Sauternes from Bordeaux. The Botrytis notes of the wine pair beautifully with the flowery mouldy notes of the Gorgonzola without overwhelming it.
Ticklemore, Chevre log, Crottin, Banon. These with their fresh acidity pair very well with a light, fresh wine; traditionally paired with Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume from the same area as the cheese. Casamatta Bianco de Toscana a white blend from Bibi Graetz, with its freshness from the Vermentino and a touch of sweetness from Moscato Bianco would be a lovely alternative match.
A crisp Provence rose like CHATEAU PARADIS Coteaux d'Aix en Provence or a lightly chilled young Beaujolais would match up well, especially if adding some charcuterie to the mix as well.
Soft and Washed-Rind Cheeses
Taleggio, Vacherin Mont d’Or, Reblochon, Epoisses, Brie, Camembert. Washed-rind cheese, the riper the cheese, the bolder the wine, but the stinkier the cheese, the harder it is to pair a wine- its best to not pair your best wine with these cheeses. An Alsatian Pinot Gris or a Gewurztraminer such as TRIMBACH Gewurztraminer with their floral notes counteract the pungency of the cheese and are rich enough to stand up to them.
Soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert (especially if layered with slices of black truffle) require a little more subtlety in their pairings, a Blanc de Blancs Champagne or a Franciacorta like FRATELLI BERLUCCHI Franciacorta Brut 25 would be absolutely perfect. Alternatively you could go for a light red such as New Zealand Pinot Noir or a youthful Loire Cabernet Franc CHATEAU DE VILLENEUVE Saumur-Champigny are two very good examples. Pure berry fruit and a touch of farmyard, rustic aromas work very well together.
These are just a few suggestions but there are, of course, many more. Please do visit our shops, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us in the online chat. We'll be glad to help!
By Maddie - WSET3
Comments from our expert team from Dunell's
I asked the cheese fiends in the team for their favourite cheese and wine (even beer) combinations. We hope this inspires you!
XIMENEZ-SPINOLA Pedro Ximenez 'Old Harvest' Oloroso (Medium-Dry) and Comte (Nicolas)
AGRICOLA PUNICA Montessu IGT Isola dei Nuraghi and Mature Pecorino (Kasia)
CHATEAU DE TRACY Pouilly-Fume and Ste Maure de Touraine (Kasia)
Verdant Don’t Tell Gus IPA and Snowdonia Whiskey infused Cheddar (Mike)
Glogglich Imperial Red Ale and Stilton (Mike)
OTA SEVCIK Orange Wine + Aged Comte (Erik)
TRIMBACH Gewurztraminer + Vacherin (Erik)
FINCA MANZANOS Rioja Tempranillo and Manchego (Fiona)
QUINTA DE LA ROSA 20yr Tawny Port and Parmesan (Jose)
DOMAINE POUDEROUX Maury Rouge and Roquefort (Paulo)
CHATEAU LAFON ROCHET and Snowdonia Green Thunder Cheddar and (Neil and Jane)
QUINTA DE LA ROSA Ruby Port and Papillon (A type of Roquefort) (Armelle)
HAUTS PEMIONS Muscadet and Raclette cheese (Armelle)
ANDRE DEZAT Sancerre and Soft Goats Cheese (Maddie)
CHATEAU DE FONBEL and Ossau-Iraty (Michelle)