Cheese is the epitome of wine pairings. Much like wine, cheese is best aged, and just like wine, there are many different types of cheese to choose from for a pairing. With all of the possible combinations out there, it is hard to know where to begin, which is why we’ve put together a quick guide to this classic combination.
As a rule of thumb, harder cheeses are best paired with aged reds because they can handle the more tannic wines. Creamier, softer cheeses, on the other hand, are best with a more acidic wine to cut the richness of the cheese. Here are some suggestions to act as a starting point for pairing wine with cheese:
Gouda: Known for its hard, but creamy texture, Gouda is rich and typically made from cow’s milk. The nutty and sweet flavors complement the dark rich fruit flavors of Syrah. The firm tannins and brilliant acidity complement the creamy flavor of the cheese, while the flavors of black cherries, red currants and spice pair well with the nutty component of the Gouda.
Brie: Named after the French region of Brie, this soft cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a bloomy (soft and white) rind. Brie is best paired with fruity red wines, like Merlot, with lower levels of tannin. The refined mouthfeel of the smooth 2011 Splashdown Merlot has flavors of blackberries, blueberries and currants with hints of dark chocolate. These flavors, when paired with Brie, highlight the mild and tangy nutty fruit aspects of the cheese.
Muenster: Another soft and creamy cheese, Muenster is smooth and moist in texture. Though it has a pungent scent, Muenster can range in flavor from mild to sharp. This makes it the perfect match for the berry and spicy flavors of the 2011 Splashdown Zinfandel. The more mild versions of this cheese don’t overpower their pairing and are perfect for snacking.
These are but just a few of the many possible wine and cheese pairings! With the examples above, you now have the necessary starting points to begin exploring the vast and exciting world of wine pairings. Cheers!