Cheese & Wine Pairing Tips
Simon & Garfunkel, Ant and Dec, Laurel and Hardy – the best things often come in twos. Cheese and wine is no exception, but it’s often hard to keep track of the rules. With national Cheese & Wine just past, why not celebrate by enjoying some of our wonderful cheeses with a drink to top it off. If you aren’t an expert already, here are a few tricks for making the most out of our delicious Lidgate cheeses.
The good news is that cheese and wine will always be a crowd-pleaser, but interestingly the art of pairing can be harder than you think. Of course, there is a huge variety of cheese and wine out there. Cheeses vary in moisture content, fat content, texture, and flavour, amongst other things. Wines, too, vary in acidity, sweetness, body, and structure. One can easily be overwhelmed, however, there a few basic guidelines that help us predict what combinations will hit the sweet spot, and make us look like we know what we’re doing...
The adage that suggests ‘white wine with fish and red wine with meat’ is commonly drawn upon and focuses on matching the richness or body of a wine with the heaviness of a given food. Another way of thinking about things, is to consider the age and intensity of a cheese and its wine companion. Whilst some people enjoy a fresh milky cheese that has a delicate texture, others prefer the hard-aged cheeses which are richer and savoury. Aging cheeses not only has a drying and concentrating effect, but can influence flavour. Bloomy-rind cheeses like Brie are gooey and spreadable, and have fantastic earthy notes, whilst older cheeses like Gruyère develop nutty flavours. Of course, blue cheeses are notorious for the pungency which develops through the aging process through mould.
Similarly, the depth and complexity of wine can correlate with age, too. Young wines are often fresh and aromatic, containing notes of fruits, flowers, citrus, or herbs. Wines that have spent time in cask or bottle take on additional notes of oak, toast, earth, umami, amongst others. On this basis, you might enjoy pairing older cheeses with wines that have more body and complexity. In these summer months, enjoying young cheeses with wines that are juicy, fruity, fresh and spirited, is the perfect way to go. Pop open a bottle of sparkling wine, or perhaps a crisp white or dry rosé to compliment younger cheeses perfectly. If you prefer a glass of red instead, treat yourself to one with good acidity and fruitiness for maximum enjoyment.
Certainly, enjoying your wine with a well-crafted cheese board elevates the experience and brings out otherwise hidden flavours. If you want to take a few more steps towards becoming a connoisseur have a look here. Our pairing suggestions can be seen below.
From the Lidgate Cheese Counter:
Barbers Vintage Mature Cheddar & a sparkling Brut Rosé such as the Guv'nor Sparkling Rosé. The great think about sparkling wines is that they accompany a wide variety of cheeses very well. This wine is ripe and fruity, with delicious flavours of peach, strawberry and raspberry. Barbers Cheddar is a vintage, complex cheese. It’s infectiously creamy with both savoury and sweet notes that complement this kind of wine very nicely.
Breberiousse D'Argental & a Riesling such as the Definition Mosel Riesling. This unique cheese is a silky soft ewe's milk brie with a unique lactic sweetness. Ewe's milk naturally contains about twice the fat of cow or goat milk, so you'll notice a dense texture and viscous, buttery finish. This wine is sweeter and has a balancing acidity that's a treat with cheeses. The combination of freshness, zest, and crispness is enhanced by the sweety creaminess of the cheese.
Montagnolo Affine & a Pinot Noir such as the Toast & Honey Pinot Noir. Montagnolo is a delicious German full fat award-winning cheese. It's a soft mould ripened, blue vein cheese made with pasteurised cow's milk (suitable for vegetarians and those with a lactose intolerance). This is a wonderful blue to try for those who may not be the biggest fans as it has a delicious saltiness that’s hard not to like. It pairs extremely well with any medium to full-bodied wines but Pinot Noir is the classic pairing.
Roquefort & a Sauternes such as the Parcel Series Sauternes. This much-loved full flavoured blue ewes milk cheese is matured in the French Roquefort Caves. Sauternes is a favourite match, creating the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness counterbalancing the saltiness of the cheese exquisitely. Wines similar in style (Monbazillac, Sainte Croix du Mont) are a more affordable alternative. The Parcel Series bottle is remarkably complex and indulgently honeyed, with flavours of candied apricot, citrus and acacia flowers. It has a snappy acidity which is so great with blue cheese.
Remember to check out our cheese accompaniments to add an additional flourish to any cheese and wine pairing.