When it comes to pairing food and wine, rule number one is to choose pairings that you like, because there is no one right answer. Here, our Chief Wine Adviser Béatrice Dominé tells us her approach to pairing, with three suggestions of cheese and wine combinations that she enjoys. We hope you’ll like them too ?
The Basis of Food & Wine Pairing
The aim of a food and wine pairing is to show the products at their best. Each must bring out the best in the other so to speak – or in other words, 1+1 must make 3. You can go about this in two ways. Either by matching textures or contrasting them. For our wine adviser, this very much depends on the season: “I like combining matching textures for a comforting effect when it’s a little cold and contrasting textures when the weather is warm”.
With cheese, when you serve it can be of importance, too. The wine you serve won’t be the same if the cheese is served as an hors d’oeuvre or at the end of a meal.
Pairing Cheese and Wine
Wine pairing with cœur de neufchâtel cheese
This heart-shaped cheese made from raw cow’s milk comes in the soft, bloomy-rind category and originates from the Pays de Bray area of Normandy. It is at optimum maturity from April to August, which is why I picked it. To accompany its creamy texture, I wanted to pair it with a white wine with some creaminess and ripeness of fruit, but also one with some vivacity in the finish. Pessac-Léognan Château Baret fulfils all of these conditions brilliantly.
Wine pairing with pecorino pepato cheese
Pecorino Pepato is an Italian ewe’s milk cheese of the hard, pressed kind. Sicily is its native region. It is a characterful cheese, studded with black peppercorns which give it an intense aroma. When you think pepper, Rhône Valley Syrah springs to mind. So my thought was to go with a Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, to match this spiciness. This wine’s black fruit character also complements the cheese as would a dollop of black cherry jam.
Wine pairing with morbier cheese
Morbier is a protected designation of origin cheese which is made from raw cow’s milk in the Jura Mountains of France. It is named after one of Jura’s villages, Morbier. It is a pressed, uncooked cheese. If we had wanted to keep things local, I would have opted for a supple Jura red; in fact, if you happen to have a Poulsard or a Trousseau in your cellar, there’s nothing stopping you from giving that a go. However, this time, I’ve gone for an appellation which is sure to surprise you! Here I wanted to illustrate how you can pair contrasting textures, with the selection of a richer red wine. Take care, though, not to go too far by choosing an overly tannic red! I personally opted for a Saint-Emilion with a Merlot dominant blend. Its delicious red fruits and hint of undergrowth will go well with this soft-textured cheese without out doing it.
I deliberately selected white and red wines for these cheeses so as to offer something to please everyone. Because, while some people are still very fond of red wine with cheese, others swear only by white wine associations. Now, the ball is in your court. Give it a go and why not share your favourite pairing with us?
To learn more
Now that cheese and wine pairing is no longer a mystery for you, learn in which type of glass you should serve your wine, for the perfect experience all round! Read the article