A recent trip though the Chablis area of Burgundy was enlivened by the consumption of large quantities of cheese! One particularly runny Epoisses being highly memorable and the Soumaintrain has now become a favourite. Time to reacquaint myself with the art of matching cheese and wine I thought. With the variety of cheeses almost matching that of wines the ideal match can be a little daunting – hence this list.
But it’s common knowledge that red wine goes with cheese? Not for me it isn’t. I will pretty much always pick a white wine to accompany cheese.
If you have a range of cheeses choose a simple inexpensive wine to accompany them. If you really must have a red wine then New World reds cope well, along with oak-aged Spanish reds and red wines from Southern Italy. Best to avoid very strong or pungent cheeses though. Instead of several cheeses why not just select one winning combination at your next dinner party.
Amarelo – Portuguese goat and sheep`s milk cheese. A chilled tawny port should be superb
Asiago – Italian cow`s milk cheese. Try with an Italian Chardonnay or for a red a Bardolino.
Azeitao – A Sheep`s milk cheese from just South of Lisbon. Try with a Portuguese red wine, Tempranillo or Moscatel.
Baby Bel – a Beaujolais.
BallyOak – Pinot Blanc for a white, or Pinot Noir for Red. A Irish Cheese
Banon – See Goats Cheese.
Beaufort – Champagne Blanc de Noirs, white Hermitage.
Bel Paese – Barbera, lighter style of Chardonnay.
Bleu d’Auvergne – Monbazillac or other sweet wine.
Blue Castello – A Danish soft cheese, try with Sauvignon Blanc
Bougon – A goat`s milk Camembert. See Goats Cheese.
Boursin – A fresh and tangy Sauvignon from New Zealand or the Loire or an Entre Deux Mers. Perhaps also a Gewurztraminer.
Boucheron – See Goats Cheese.
Brendon – A strong matured goats cheese from Exmoor. Semi soft with a dense texture and sweet aftertaste.
Brie/Camembert – A difficult one as the classical tang of ammonia often jars nastily with wine. Try a red from the South of France – Fitou or Corbieres. An LBV port is also worth trying. Champagne works as would other dry sparkling wines.
Brillat Savarin – red Bordeaux.
Burrata – rosé Champagne.
Buxton Blue – A cousin of Blue Stilton.
Cabrales – a dry or sweet Sherry for this Spanish blue cheese or a sweet wine.
Caerphilly – Could I suggest a crisp dry English wine with this hard cheese. Or try an Albarinho (Portuguese white), a Spanish Red, a Zinfandel or Sauvignon Blanc.
Cambembert – at its best when the centre is still hard while the outer is creamy. Quite salty. Go for a red wine here – Cotes d`Castillon or other aged Bordeaux reds. A new world Pinot Noir would also suit. Also consider a Greco di Tufo.
Cantabria – a Spanish cheese so go for a young, fruity Spanish red.
Capricorn – A soft goats cheese from Somerset.
Castelmagno – a Barolo or Barbaresco.
Celtic Promise – A semihard cheese with a rich savoury taste, made in Wales and matured with Cider in Surrey so obviously a cider with this one.
Chaource – a Chablis or Blanc de Noirs champagne.
Cheddar – Buy the best you can afford and revel in the flavour combinations with a Sauvignon Blanc for a white or a good claret, Rhone, or Rhone styled wine from California or Australia. Zinfandel is great too. An Argentinian Bonarda makes a tasty, affordable alternative. Try an apple juice for something non-alcoholic. Classically serve a decent ale for a true British taste sensation. “Barolo is a dream combo for me“
Cheshire – Again a Sauvignon Blanc would be my first choice, a Riesling the second but for a red consider a Cabernet based wine from the New World.
Chèvre Brie – A goats cheese brie. See either category.
Cimbro – Cow`s milk cheese from north of Verona, Italy. Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is the wine to try.
Colby – red Bordeaux, Champagne, Riesling.
Comte – Grüner Veltliner or a Pinot Noir for a red. Jura whites also, as from the same region.
Coulommiers – a small deep brie with a sweetness rather than a saltiness to the taste. Try a New Zealand Pinot Noir or a Cotes du Rhone.
Cornish Yarg – at once creamy and crumbly with a tang, go for a good ale.
Cotija – a Mexican aged cow’s milk cheese. Go for a Chardonnay or Riesling.
Crottin de Chavignol – a strong goat`s cheese from Burgundy. Dry and salty with a sweet and sour taste. Try with a Mersault or a Sauvignon Blanc.
Danish Blue – Sauternes is a good match as are other sweet wines.
Derby – similar in taste and texture to Cheddar. Go for the fruit juice of a decent Shiraz. For a white try a Chenin Blanc.
Double Gloucester – A good quality tawny port makes a good airing also look at Montepulciano d`Abruzzo or a Riesling.
Edam – Any Cabernet or Merlot based wine from Bordeaux and surrounds works very well. Try a Riesling for a white.
Elmhirst – a triple cream mould ripened cheese similar to Vignotte. Light texture and delicate flavour when young. Here a light
Italian white wine would be good.
Emmental – Sauvignon Blanc again goes very well try also a Californian Zinfandel or from Italy a Primitivo. Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône are also recommended.
Epoisses – Napoleon’s favourite. Strong in flavour and aroma, this classic cheese from Burgundy should be matched with a wine from the same region – a white of course, a Chablis preferably. I’ve also seen recommendations for matching with Gewurztraminer. Epoisses is washed in Marc and therefore matches well with Marc de Bourgogne.
Evora – From East of Lisbon, Portugal. Sheep`s milk cheese. If you can find it drink a local wine Vila Santa.
Feta – the soft cheese from Greece. A full dry wine such as an Alsace Riesling or a red Beaujolias. Retsina too, for a true Greek experience.
Fontina – a semi-soft Italian cheese. A Gewurztraminer is superb or try a Gattinara. Pinot Grigio too or for a red a Barbaresco, Barolo or Dolcetto.
Gaperon – from the Auvergne region of France containing garlic and ground pepper. Comes in a distinctive dome shape with a hard dry rind. A light red for this one – Beaujolais.
Gloucester – Pinot Noir or Zinfandel.
Goats Cheese – A catch all category for so many different cheeses – to match try a good Rhone Red or a Sauvignon Blanc. Classic taste combinations. Also perhaps an Italian Trebbiano.
Gorgonzola – A sweet wine is needed here. Look into getting a German or Austrian Trockenbeerenauslese or a Hungarian Tokaji. Sauternes is also good.
Gouda – a semi-hard cheese from Holland. Definitely red wine country here try a new World Merlot or Zinfandel. Also recommended with Amarone by Wine90.
Graddost – a semi-hard cheese from Sweden. Try with a good Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc.
Gruyère – Again a Sauvignon Blanc or for a red wine an Australian Shiraz, a New World Sangiovese or a Chianti. Champagne especially vintage or Blanc de Blancs is also recommended. Gewürztraminer for a white.
Havarti – A semi-soft cheese from Denmark. A red Bordeaux of Rioja would be good. For a white try a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
Jarlsberg – a hard cheese from Norway. A Merlot or Zinfandel here I feel.
Lancashire – Superb with a tawny port or a Sauternes/Barsac. Try a Sauvignon or better I think a Chianti.
Le Chevrot – A superb goats cheese. See Goats Cheese.
Livarot – a very strong tasting cheese from Normandy with a heavy moist texture. Chardonnay or a Pinot Gris or an Alsace Gewürztraminer.
Mahon – a Spanish red especially Rioja.
Manchego – A Spanish red for a Spanish cheese or open that aging claret. A Cava is recommended for a young cheese or a Fino or Amontillado Sherry.
Maroilles – a soft but powerful French cheese with a very powerful aroma. Perhaps too overpowering for wine but try with an Alsatian Pinot Gris or a Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Mimolette – Cahors or Saint Emilion or other Bordeaux Red.
Muddles Green – A Camembert style goats cheese named after the village in which it is made.
Munster – Try a Gewürztraminer from Alsace or a cheaper version from Chile or New Zealand if you can find one.
Montasio – A a cows milk cheese from the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia-Guiulia; go for a local white either a Chardonnay Colli Orientali, Pinot Bianco, Friulano Collio or Ribolla Gialla.
Monterey Jack – An American semi-hard Cheese best with Rieslings or Californian Chardonnay. For a red try with Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Morbier – This is a mild cheese made in two sections with a thin charcoal layer between. Worked very well with an unoaked Chardonnay. Try also with a decent Fleurie or other Beaujolais. Arbois white or red.
Mozzarella – Do people eat this on its own? Try with a crisp white like a Cotes du Duras or Bergerac or a Beaujolais or an Old Vines Zinfandel for a red.
Neufchatel – from the north of Normandy. A smooth texture with a core of crumbly, dryer cheese. Go for a good quality red Loire – a Chinon for example.
Old Chatham Ewe’s Blue – recommended with a full-bloodied American Zinfandel.
Ossau-Iraty – from the Pays Basque region of France. Try with Bordeaux or Rhone reds.
Parmesan – If eaten on its own try with a Spanish Cava, an Amarone or a Super Tuscan wine.
Pecorino – Great with a rich Zinfandel or try with a full Italian red, an Amarone (a traditional match), Chianti Classico or Brunello.
Pie d`Anglous – a light soft cheese ideal with a ripe plum or sweet grapes. Try any sweet wine – Sauternes or Monbazillac.
Picos de Europa – Northern Spanish cheese try with high Acidity/high tannin red wine, Italian Primativo, Zinfandel or certain Merlots.
Pont l`Eveque – White Bordeaux, Chardonnay from anywhere or try a white Rioja. For a red try with a red Burgundy.
Port Salut – A good quality Cotes du Rhone or similar blend works well as does a lighter style Italian red such as a Bardolino
Raclette – A hard French Cheese best with a Beaujolais or a Sauvignon Blanc.
Reblochon – A mountain cheese from the Savoie. A thin orange rind, a smooth fatty texture and a nutty aftertaste. Try with a fino sherry or if you can find one a Vin Jaune. A lighter styled Pinot Noir for a red.
Red Leicester – Pick a nice Rioja or a full and rich Australian Shiraz. Very good with an ale.
Robiolina – Italian cheese/Italian wine – a white, Falanghina.
Roquefort & Stilton – The classic combination is with a Sauternes, but try also with any botrytis affected wine (Australian Semillon for example), a sweet Jurancon or cheaper sweet wines from anywhere really. Aged tawny port is also delicious. Vintage Port is wasted on it though.
Rosary Ash – An English Goats cheese from Salisbury, rich, fresh with a hint of lemon.
Saint Andrews – A supple creamy textured Scottish cheese. Went very well with a Bordeaux white (Sauvignon-Semillon blend) although a straight Sauvignon Blanc would be just as good.
Soumaintrain – a glorious cheese from Burgundy a must-try with the richer styles of Chablis such as Vieilles Vignes, Chablis with some oak or Chablis with some age to it
St.Marcellin – A French full-fat soft cheese made from cows milk. Fresh, yeasty aroma and a mild fruity taste. Try with a Savoie white – Roussette for example.
St.Nectaire – try with an off dry Vouvray for a white or a Bordeaux red.
Sao Jorge – Full flavoured unpasteurised cow`s milk cheese from the Azores. Accompany with a LBV Port.
Taurus – A rare cows cheese from Somerset. Full flavoured and creamy. Went very well with a Bordeaux white (Sauvignon-Semillon blend).
Taleggio – a full-fat soft cheese from Lombardy, Italy. An Italian white wine would be superb or try with a Chianti Riserva. Traditionally matched with Barbaresco.
Tornegus – a farm house Caerphilly.
Vacherin – a Blanc de Blanc Champagne, an Alsatian Rielsing or a red Beaujolais.
Vermont – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah or an off-dry Riesling are suggested.
Vignotte – a triple cream cheese from the Champagne region. Mild soft texture. A St.Emilion is great.
Wensleydale – A sweeter wine needed here like a German Spatlese or a late picked Muscat from Australia. But it is also recommended with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
White Cheshire – As an accompaniment try a Riesling.
White Stilton – often found blended with cranberies for which a champagne is recommended.
Woolsery – An English Goats cheese, moist, open texture with a distinctive taste with hints of almonds and pinenuts.
Several of the suggestions above, especially for the American cheeses are taken from What To Drink With What You Eat, an excellent food and wine guide available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
Just half of the cheese selection at Hostellerie des Clos, Chablis, France