A few years ago, research conducted by the Centre for Taste and Feeding Behaviour in Dijon concluded that cheese and wine go hand in hand. Not that we needed scientific approval to enjoy the two together; however, the study just confirmed that the interaction of chemical compounds found in wine and cheese are pretty often complementary to each other.
But like any other food and wine pairing, there are no strict rules to enjoy a variety of cheeses with different types of wine. In the end, it all comes down to personal preferences.
Still, a couple of combinations will enhance one another, so here are five of them for you to try when looking for a cosy night at home. Just don’t worry about the calories!
Délice de Bourgogne + Sparkling Wine
The rather indulgent Délice de Bourgogne is a cow’s milk cheese from Burgundy – the clue is in the name. It’s a relatively new kind of cheese, first created by Jean Lincet at Fromagerie Lincet in 1975. The soft texture of this triple-cream cheese requires a wine with a sharp acidity to cut through the fat, so a dry sparkling wine such as champagne or a good quality Cava will always be a great match. The sparkling wine’s acidity and pleasantly stinging bubbles create an exciting flavor contrast in your mouth. The cheese is so creamy that crackers or crispbread are recommended.
Kidderton Ash Goat’s Cheese + Etna Rosso
As with many goat’s cheeses, Kidderton Ash is coated in charcoal ash to protect it as it ripens. It has a unique silky-smooth structure, delicate and mild in flavor. It’s a versatile cheese for wine pairing, but I like to enjoy it with Etna Rosso, a typical red wine from Sicily.
Produced from two Sicilian grape varieties, Nerello Mascalese e Nerello Cappuccio, this is a light-bodied red wine, low in tannins but high in acidity be served slightly chilled. The key here is that the wine and the cheese won’t overpower each other but instead create a pleasant and harmonious mouthfeel.
Manchego + Off-Dry Riesling
Rooted in the La Mancha wilderness of central Spain, Manchego hails from the milk of the Manchega sheep. The cheese typically has a firm, compact consistency, and fatty texture, often containing small, unevenly distributed air pockets. Choose an off-dry Riesling from either Germany or Australia to consume with it, and you’re in for a treat. The residual sugar of the Riesling will form a great contrast with the saltiness of the Manchego and wash it all down with a refreshing finish.
Keen’s Mature Cheddar + Chardonnay
This Somerset cheddar producer has been making cheese since 1899, so they don’t mess about it. Their mature cheddar has a semi-firm consistency and distinctive crumbly texture.
As for the flavor profile, the cheese is nutty, with a sweet after-taste, which makes it a suitable cheese to pair with a nice and oaked Chardonnay, preferably from California. The buttery character of the wine wraps the cheese with a creamy and fruity layer, heightening the palate of each other.
Bleu des Causses + Sauternes
A bold and aromatic blue cheese, Bleu des Causses is originally from Aveyron, in the Occitanie region of Southern France. It is similar to Roquefort in style, so you can expect that lovely saltiness and touch of spice to make these French blue cheeses so moreish. As an after-dinner cheese, it can be paired with Sauternes, the dessert wine made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes affected by Botrytis – also known as Botrytis as ‘noble rot.’ The sweetness of the wine works like a balm in your mouth, coating the savouriness of the cheese spectacularly.
And here are my top three London retailers where you can source these and other cheeses from:
Neal’s Yard Dairy
Specialized in British and Irish cheeses, Neal’s Yard Dairy has four shops in London: Covent Garden, Borough Market, Bermondsey, and Islington.
Cheese and Wine at the Famous La Fromagerie
With three locations in central London – Marylebone, Bloomsbury, and Highbury – La Fromagerie is a cheese and wine shop, café, and wholesaler. Despite the name, there is much more than just French cheeses on offer.
Cheese and Wine from Whole Foods Market
The selection of cheese and wine at Whole Foods can vary depending on the branch you’re visiting, with Piccadilly and Kensington offering the most comprehensive range in-store. Staff are very knowledgeable about the products and are happy to guide you through the different styles and producers.