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cheese and wine pairings that will make your Christmas

Let’s face it, Christmas is all about the cheese board and wine to wash it down with. In fact, a recent study conducted in France (obviously) confirmed what we already knew – there’s a certain magic that happens on our palettes when we combine glorious wine and heavenly cheese.  To inspire our wine aficionado’s and help our beginners pair cheese and wine like a pro, we’ve put together these top tips.

Pair wines and cheeses with equal intensity

The delicate flavours of gruyère would be overwhelmed by a big, bold cabernet sauvignon, but pair perfectly with a pinot noir. As a general rule:

  • Wines over 14.5% ABV taste better with more intensely flavoured cheeses. 
  • Wines under 12% ABV match nicely with more delicately flavoured cheeses.

Why not try this powerful pairing? Pinot Noir and gruyère cheese.

Bold red wines go best with aged cheeses

As cheese ages and loses water content, it becomes richer in flavour thanks to its increased fat content. These two attributes are ideal for matching aged cheeses with bold red wines, because the fat content in the cheese counteracts the high tannins in the wine. For the best results, select cheeses aged at least a year, including cheddar, gruyère, manchego, gouda, provolone, or parmesan-style varieties like parmigiano-reggiano and grana padano.

Shop the Campo Viejo Rioja Garnacha and pair it with this manchego cheese.

Match funkier cheeses with sweeter wines

Sweeter wines like moscato, gewürztraminer, late harvest dessert wines such as riesling, and port match wonderfully with stinky, washed-rind, and blue-veined cheeses. Why? The sweetness in the wine helps balance the funkiness of the cheese and makes it taste creamier. The smell of the cheese will also help balance the sweet taste of the wine. Two classic pairings are port with stilton and sauternes with roquefort.

Take a look at one of our favourite combos, the Rozes Port Ruby and the Cropwell Bishop Blue Stilton.

Partner sparkling wines with soft, creamy cheeses

Sparkling wines have high acidity and carbonation, which offer a palate-cleansing effect to creamy, sticky cheeses such as brie, camembert, cremont, or époisses.

Here’s one of our pairings, Asti Martini Sparkling Italian Wine and Le Rustique Camembert.

Couple wines and cheeses from the same place

Trust the locals – what grows together, goes together – so match wines and cheeses made in the same region. A few great examples of this include sauvignon blanc with goat’s cheese (Loire Valley, France), chardonnay with époisses (Burgundy, France), and garnacha with manchego (Spain).

For a fine French influence, explore our Calvet Reserve Sauvignon Blanc with Reflets de France Selles-Sur-Cher Ash Covered Goats Cheese.

When in doubt, get a firm, nutty cheese

If you’re serving several wines and you’re not sure which cheese to pair with them, one of the safest bets and most popular choices with all styles of wines is a firm, earthy cheese such as Swiss, gruyère, comté extra, emmental, and gouda. These cheeses have enough fat to counterbalance tannin in red wine, but enough delicacy to compliment delicate whites.

Shop the Comte and the Emmental here.

For more brilliant food pairings, read more on our blog here. And for some Christmas inspiration take a look at our Merry and Bright Cocktails and How to Cook the Perfect Turkey.

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