We all must have heard it at least once: red wine goes with meat, white wine with fish. That’s a basic rule to remember when it comes to wines. Cheeses, too, have been imposed strict guidelines when it comes to enjoying them with wine
. But do hard rules really apply when it comes to pairing wine
and cheese, or have we been missing out on serendipitous taste combinations?
It’s honestly subjective; whatever tastes good on your palate is probably what you should follow. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt to hear some friendly tips before uncorking that bottle you’ve been saving. So here are ten cheese-and-wine pairings that can create matches made in heaven and make your Christmas dinner extra special. What’s more, you can find them readily available in supermarkets, gourmet stores, and online!
1. Bold Shiraz and Aged Cheddar
Wine: Girard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (PhP2,590), available at winery.ph
Cheese: Australian Cheddar (PhP345/pack), available at gerald.ph
Hard, aged cheeses like cheddar are terrific with tannic red wines.
If you happen to have sharp-tasting cheese like aged cheddar on your table, look for a full-bodied red wine to live up to its strong flavor. A spicy Shiraz or an oaky Old World Cabernet Sauvignon would perfectly complement the intensity of a hard and naturally salty cheese.
2. Pinot Noir and Comté
Wine: Montes Limited Selection Pinot Noir 2015 (PhP1,045), available at https://manila-wine.com
Cheese: Comte (PhP599/pack), available at gerald.ph
If you’re serving Pinot Noir, the delicately flavored Comté deserves a spot on the table.
Mumumío via Wikimedia Commons
Pinot Noir is a very light red wine and is coveted for its low tannins and berry flavors. It is for this reason that it pairs fantastically with one of France’s most popular cheeses—Comté. The cheese is mild tasting and semi-firm, younger and less salty than a Pecorino, which is a famous hard and sharp-tasting Italian cheese.
3. Sauvignon Blanc and Gruyere
Wine: Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc (PhP999), available at gerald.ph
Cheese: Gruyere (PhP520/pack), available at gerald.ph
Gruyere is well loved for its versatility and pairs very well with the ever-reliable Sauvignon Blanc.
A Gruyere, produced in Switzerland, or a Beaufort, which is a gruyere-style cheese produced in the Savoie region of the French Alps, is famed for its pleasantly nutty and fruity taste and firm texture. A cool glass of citrusy Sauvignon Blanc pairs very well with this flavor profile and brings out the natural earthiness of the cheese. Experts recommend that if you can find a cheese and wine from the same region, you’re more likely to find a harmonious balance.
for more Christmas food ideas.
4. Chardonnay and Triple Cream Brie
Wine: Cosecheros Y Criadores Infinitus Chardonnay Viura (PhP540), available at https://www.winedepot.com.ph
Cheese: Brie Cheeese (PhP550/pack), available at gerald.ph
That gooey, rich triple cream Brie works best with whites like Chardonnay and Champagne.
A soft, velvety cheese like a triple cream Brie has a lush texture and rich taste that marries well with the buttery and oaky chardonnay. The heaviness of the cheese paired with the wine’s weighty palate sensation can be a decadent and delectable pairing. If you want a lesson in contrast, however, switch it up to a sparkling wine or Champagne. The crisp bubbles and acidity of the wine is a nice counterpoint to the Brie and should cut through the creamy cheese.
5. Riesling and Goat Cheese
Wine: Saint Clair Awatere Valley Reserve Noble Riesling (PhP1,540), available at https://manila-wine.com
Cheese: Goat Cheese, available at Malagos Farmhouse Cheese’s website, https://malagosfarmhouse.com
See which type of goat cheese tickles your fancy, then pick between Riesling and Rosé for a great pairing.
Fresh goat cheese always seems to go well with apples and melons. So why not have it with a vibrant and young wine with the same taste notes? A dry Riesling from Germany is a classic choice to match up with chèvre (goat cheese). You can’t go wrong with a bottle from Dr. Loosen—Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Best German Producer of the Past 25 Years. If you want to relish the goat cheese as if it were a summer’s day picnic in France, grab a carafe and pour out a bright, light-bodied Rosé to go with it instead of the Riesling.
6. Tempranillo and Manchego
Wine: Hacienda Lopez de Haro Tempranillo Reserva 2013 (PhP1,280), available at winery.ph
Cheese: Manchego Semi Curado (PhP2,688), available at https://thegreengrocermanila.com
Manchego can go by many names, depending on its age. Semi-curado is aged around three months, while curado is aged for at least six months.
Image: christopher_brown via Wikimedia Commons
Let’s take it from the Spanish, producer of some of the finest cheeses and liveliest wines in the world, that the combination of Manchego (cheese) and Tempranillo (wine) is divine. The bold and fruity red wine holds its own against the sweet, semi-firm cheese produced from sheep’s milk in La Mancha.
7. Pinot Grigio and Mozzarella
Wine: Beringer Main & Vine Pinot Grigio (PhP615), available at https://manila-wine.com
Cheese: Grass-fed Buffalo Cherry Mozzarella (400 grams) (PhP448), available at https://thegreengrocermanila.com/
Enjoy an Italian feast of refreshing Pinot Grigio that punches through mozzarella and tomatoes with its citrusy flavors.
Mozzarella often gets snubbed in favor of its more commercial counterpart in pizzas and other Italian staples. But fresh mozzarella is certainly creamier as well as more pliant and moist—especially mozzarella di Bufala, which comes from the milk of the Italian water buffalo. Drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with some basil and tomato, this well-liked cheese is lovely when eaten with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio. This white wine is the grape equivalent of the Mozzarella in that it is very light and mild-tasting but you can’t seem to get enough of it.
8. Sangiovese and Pecorino
Wine: All Saints Sangiovese Cabernet 2018 (PhP1,270), available at https://winery.ph
Cheese: Pecorino Romano (PhP2,268), available at https://thegreengrocermanila.com
Because of its saltiness when aged, Pecorino Romano needs a big red wine like the Tuscan Sangiovese.
Aside from coming from the same region, this cheese and wine duet is an elegant example of robust flavor coming from highly complex taste characteristics. The Sangiovese, with its substantial plum and cherry taste and herbal aromas, doesn’t come shy when put up against the salty and tangy Pecorino.
9. Zinfandel and Gouda
Wine: Morgan Bay Cellars Zinfandel (PhP850), available at https://liquor.ph
Cheese: Gouda Moon Cheese (PhP330/pack), available at https://realfoodph.com
You’ll know it from its signature red wax, and the Gouda is rich in flavor and lends itself well to the jammy, fruity Zinfandel wine.
Zinfandel wines can run a spectrum of light- to full-bodied styles within its variety. For the bolder Zinfandel, aged or smoked Gouda can be a joy to sample, while lighter versions can call for a younger Gouda cheese. Zinfandel from California is quite fruit-forward in its reputation, so try top-rated ones from Napa Valley for a refreshing experience.
10. Port and Gorgonzola
Wine: Porto Quevedo Ruby Port (PhP1,050), available at https://winery.ph/
Cheese: Gouda Blue Cheese (PhP3,304/kilo), available at https://thegreengrocermanila.com
Aged Port wine takes on caramel and vanilla flavors that can stand up against the power of blue cheese.
There’s a reason why dessert wines like Port are paired with stinky blue cheeses. Their sweetness just works well with the pungent, piquant taste of moldy blue cheeses. The blend is considered polarizing to some but delightful to a lot of foodies. If you’re feeling adventurous, try an equally saccharine late-harvest wine that’s been aged so that most of the acidity is gone and what remains is a golden, honeyed liquid that offsets blue-veined picks like Gorgonzola, Stilton, or Roquefort.
The key is to keep things simple and not be afraid to experiment and try even the oddest combinations. Who knows what you’ll get? The next time you decide to invite your friends over for some vino, you’ll be able to throw a wine and cheese party that will make them think you’re a pro.