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Cheese & Red Wine: Natural Bedfellows or not?

As a wine merchant selling cheese we clearly believe in the happy union. Indeed, when I first coined the term “Marriage in Heaven” I was talking about a specific cheese and wine match: Golden Cross, a goat`s cheese, and Sancerre Blanc, the pale, dry white wine from France`s Loire Valley. The high acidity in both cheese and wine “chime” deliciously, like the bells to church. I used the term again to describe another famous coupling: the blue cheese Roquefort, a sheep`s cheese this time, and the golden sweet wine Sauternes; the salt of the cheese contrasting magnificently with the sweetness in the wine; “opposites attracting”. Yet another fine match: the pungent Munster from France`s Alsace region, a cow`s cheese, together with the golden dry wine, Alsace Gewurztraminer. The wine is dry, but rich, with a heady smell of Turkish Delight. Having evolved in the same area you might say these two are “made for each other” – as it turns out, both smelly! And have you noticed the one common denominator, here? Yep: None of them are reds! Indeed, despite what many believe, reds are not the natural choice for cheese. Sweet reds can be – stilton cheese and port a case in point – but not so much dry reds, and especially those with a high tannin content. Tannins, from the skins of red grapes, can be astringent, even chalky, and jar with cheese. To continue the coupling analogy therefore (yes, I must), “they are like `chalk and cheese`, not meant for each other”. Oh please! But if you are a red wine drinker through and through – and I get that – then I suggest red wines from thin-skinned, low-tannin grapes, such as Pinot Noir, Grenache or Gamay Noir. Our Brie de Meaux and Fleurie by Dominique Morel work well together. Or with a harder cheese I might be tempted to flirt with a darker, richer, fruit-driven style, such as a pretty and voluptuous Australian Shiraz. Sometimes it`s worth the risk! Cheers everyone.

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