Cheese, nuts, grapes, olives and glass of wine

Top Cheese and Wine Pairing Tips

I can’t deny that I’m in two minds about cheese and wine pairings, as the creamy richness of several cheeses can often overwhelm the wines they are being drunk with. However, cheese and wine pairing events are so popular that I’ve decided to embrace two of life’s great pleasures. Finding the perfect match requires taking texture, acidity, fat and tannins into account.

With over 400 cheeses to choose from at Checkers, you’re faced with a world of flavour. As with any food pairing, it helps to think of either complementary or contrasting flavours. Begin by tasting the cheese first by itself, to get a sense of its character then, take another bite with a sip of wine to see how they mingle.

Whilst there are a large number of exotic matches, and I encourage you to create your own, here are some happy pairings that might help get the ball rolling.

Smooth, soft and mesmerising:
Brie/Camembert – pair nicely with rich white wines or fruity red wines such as Chardonnay, Grenache and Pinot Noir. Fruity red wines typically have lower levels of tannins, making them a good pairing with bloomy rind cheeses. Rich white wines are also fitting companions to these cheeses because they are full-bodied, “big in the mouth” and have a long finish.
Pairing suggestions:
Emborg Brie with Tokara Chardonnay – exuberant ripe pear and lime freshness uplifts this soft, full cream cheese.
Fairview Camembert with Odd Bins Bin 982 Pinot Noir – ripe fruit of red cherries and raspberries complement the mild, creamy and supple texture of this cheese.

Firm and mature yet easy to crumble:
Mature Cheddar/Parmesan/Pecorino – pair them with medium to full-bodied reds depending on the aging of the cheese. Try medium-bodied Merlot or Shiraz with slightly younger cheeses as they have more tannins than the lighter reds. Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec match the intensity of cheeses that have been allowed to mature and develop in flavour.
Pairing suggestions:
Wyke Farms Extra-Mature Cheddar with Baronne Philippe de Rothschild Bordeaux Blend – this Cabernet Sauvignon driven blend has sufficient body and ripe tannins for the maturity of the cheese.
Quatro Colll Pecorino Romano with Viña Temprana Old Vines Garnacha – concentrated blackberry and raspberry flavours balance the saltiness of this Italian cheese.

Bold with outstanding features:
Gorgonzola/Blue/Roquefort/Stilton – these can have a pungent taste that pairs well with fortified wines, dessert wines and bold red wines. Their inherent sweetness balances the saltiness that is present in blue cheeses.
Pairing suggestions:
Clawson Blue Stilton with Backsberg Cape Ruby – the perfect way to end a meal. Fruit cake, raisin and spice match the robust character of this blue-veined cheese.
Igor Gorgonzola with Sensi Risalto Chianti Montalbano – full-bodied Italian wine bursting with cherries and attractive spice complement salty “bite” of cheese.

Fresh, versatile and ready to please:
Goat’s Milk/Gruyère/Edam/Emmenthaler/Feta/Mozzarella/Ricotta – pair wines that are crisp, fruity, grassy and light in colour. They go great with wines such as Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, light Rieslings, Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blends. Choose wines that exhibit fruity, floral or herbal aromas and an assertive acidity.
Pairing suggestions:
Gestam Goat’s Cheese with Obikwa Sauvignon Blanc – the zippy acidity in the wine matches the tangy acidity in the cheese. The combination of the two is fresh and invigorating.
Galbani Mozzarella with Odd Bins Bin 110 Chenin Blanc – zesty citrus, pear and litchi allow you to unleash your creativity with the fresh delicacy of this cheese.