Food & Wine forChristmas - Cheese

The cheese course is a complete food and wine minefield. Whilst it is customary to continue with the red dinner wine in actual fact very few cheeses go well with red wine. Why is this? Well first of all there are the numerous different types of cheeses. Some are full fat or salty, often they are very strongly flavoured and the texture can be very gluey and mouth-coating, so trying to choose one wine to go with a wide selection of cheeses is impossible.

Then there is the problem of tannin which clashes with cheese – and if there’s any salt in the cheese that will clash with the tannins too.

Therefore if you insist on red wine you should select a mature example that will have softer tannins. Red wines tend to go best with hard cheeses that are neither very strong nor salty. Classic English cheeses are the best accompaniment; in fact hard cheeses are the most accommodating with all types of wine.

Vintage Port and stilton is one of the marriages made in heaven. Both are powerfully flavoured and match one another’s strength.

On the whole it is white wines that fair better with the cheese course because they have no tannin, especially sweet white wines such as Barsac or Sauternes, which served alongside Roquefort is another classic food and wine marriage made in heaven.

Other cheese and wine matches:

  • Goat’s Cheese
    Match the acidity and tangy flavour with Sauvignon Blancs. Sancerre is the classic choice
  • Soft rind cheeses (like Brie and Camembert)
    The most difficult cheeses to match with wine, good White Burgundy will match the weight whilst it’s acidity will cleanse your palate from the grease-like coating
  • Crumbly English Cheese (like Wensleydale)
    Another mouth-coating cheese that requires a high-acid wine to cleanse the palate. New World Sauvignon Blancs or Chardonnays will do the job admirably as well as complement the cheese’s tanginess

More about Christmas Food Matching