Wine and Cheese
It’s amazing how quickly a pile of cheese and crackers can become a meal when set against the backdrop of the festive season. Now is not the time to wonder why that is - it’s time to find out how to do that meal justice, and that means the right cheeses and the right wines.
We’re not breaking new ground here in saying that wine and cheese are incredible together. Probably with a capital “I”. Incredible. There, that looks better. Cheese is almost as varied as wine, which can make pairing a little tricky, but if there’s one time of year to get the combos right, it’s Christmas. So here are our suggestions, tried and tested by the team (it’s a tough job…) to make that late night cheeseboard a feast!
Stilton and Port
Totally classic but with good reason. Stilton is the best known of the strong cheeses. Blue, bold and brave, it needs a partner who can give as good as it gets. That’s why you need port. The rich, sweet flavours of raisin and bramble make the salty creaminess of the cheese pop. For port, look no further than our wonderful LBV from Quinta Do Portal.
Comté and Red Bordeaux
This is a bit of a treat pairing. People who are really into wine are big Comté fans because it goes so well with red Bordeaux. The cheese is hard and unpasteurised and all the things you’d expect from a strong, sharp number with lots to give. The Bordeaux is a perfect partner for this type of cheese as the sharpness is softened with a fruity, tannic edge. Wonderful stuff, and useful if you want to impress traditionalists! The Chateau Dallau is our pick of the bunch.
Cheddar and Côtes du Rhône
It’s on every cheese board and a favourite of the less adventurous cheeser. Cheddar has a lot of charm. The more mature is gets the stronger the flavour, and to make that sing you need strong wine with lots of juicy goodness. Côtes du Rhône is the only sensible choice, so let’s not overthink. The Boutinot 'Les Coteaux' Côtes du Rhône is a brilliant bottle for any occasion (including late night snacking).
Mozzarella and Chiaretto
Ok, it’s an unusual one for the cheeseboard, but bear with us. It probably misses out because it’s more of an “all or nothing” cheese, but there are fewer delights than ripping pieces of mozzarella apart to sample. The absolute best partner for such indulgent moments is a rounded Italian rosé like the Bardolino Chiaretto.
Brie and Beaujolais
Soft cheese has its place and is especially excellent with crackers. When it comes to brie, the OG soft cheese, you want something sweet and light to set it against. Look no further than Beaujolais. It’s wonderfully light, full of red berry flavours and SO easy to drink. The Les Pivoines Beaujolais is always a winner.
Goats Cheese and Rosé
If you’re into goats cheese (and you should be) then you’ll know it’s a delicious option. Creamy and rich, you want a wine that offers the same thing. Anything red is too bold, so rosé is the best option, and you’ll want to pick something with plenty to say for itself. The Éminence de Bijou Rosé says all the right things and it’s certainly speaking our language.
Gruyère and Pinot Noir
So, you want a cheese that feels posh but isn’t so artisan that it costs more than the wine. Good choice. Always spend more on the wine. Gruyère is a great cheeseboard cheese. Rich, creamy, salty and nutty, Gruyère has plenty of flavour, but it’s not so sharp it needs a port to partner. Pinot Noir is lovely for the Swiss cheese, and the James Bryant Pinot Noir is delicious.
A last bit of advice. If you’re going to load up a board with a bit of everything on it, consider strength. No, not the strength to resist the extra portion, but strength of cheese. Strong cheese needs strong wine, and light cheese loves light wine. Find something that balances well, and if in doubt, you can always have a cheeky port on the side.