Good bread, cheese and a glass of wine. Is there a better lunch – especially in the open air on a sunny day? Or, how about a generous cheese board to share with friends towards the end of a meal? Whenever cheese is involved, a good glass of wine makes a perfect accompaniment. But which wine? A friend of ours declared recently that she always prefers red wine with her cheese. And why not? I’ve said many times before in these Blogs that you should drink what you like rather than what someone tells you is the ‘right’ wine to go with a certain dish.
But, as you might guess from the picture above, I’m not sure that red wine always works best with cheese. For me, it depends on the cheese.
If you go to the Sancerre region of northern France, they will serve a glass of the local white (Sauvignon Blanc) with their own tangy goats’ cheese – delicious! That wouldn’t go so well with one of those lovely soft creamy cheeses like a Brie, Camembert, or, my present favourite, Chaource, but a rich, unoaked Chardonnay or Chenin would be perfect.
Where I think red wines really come into their own is with hard cheeses, such as a tasty farmhouse cheddar. There’s the whole range to choose from but I’d suggest nothing too tannic, so a Pinot Noir or, perhaps, a village Beaujolais would be my top picks.
And then there’s the blue cheeses. Port and Stilton is the tradition – but not in our household! I love port and quite like stilton, but not together, thank you. But do experiment with sweet wines to match blue cheeses – Sauternes and salty Roquefort is a wonderful combination, for example.
Trying to match different wines with a varied cheeseboard is difficult in practice. How often do you want to open several bottles, one for each of the different tastes? But, at the end of a dinner party with friends, you might have a little wine left in a number of bottles. Just the time to mix and match and see what really works best for you.