Fiona Beckett, writing for National Geographic Traveller, provides an exploration of which wines go best with different cheeses. The traditional pairing of cheese with red wine, particularly during the colder months, is recommended, with a focus on medium-bodied reds known for their soft, smooth tannins. Suggested favourites include mellow Rioja Reservas, Côtes du Rhônes and Malbecs with a year or two of bottle ageing.
Beckett advises matching the wine with the region of the cheese’s origin. Classic combinations like goat’s cheese with Sauvignon Blanc and Comté with a Jura Chardonnay or Savagnin are highlighted. Champagne and similar sparkling wines are also recommended, particularly with Vacherin Mont d’Or or truffle-infused cheeses. To accompany these pairings, good bread or homemade crackers are suggested to enhance the wine-cheese experience. Below is a list of the five recommended wines:
- Berry Bros & Rudd William Pickering Tawny Port – Ideal for Stilton and cheddar, this rich and nutty tawny port from Quinta do Noval is priced at £30.50.
- Socalco Douro 2019 – A warm and brambly red table wine from the Douro, reminiscent of ripe blackberries, available for £13.99.
- Tesco Finest Viña del Cura Rioja Reserva 2018 – A mature Rioja aged in French and US oak, suitable for hard sheep cheeses like Manchego, priced at £10.
- Marcelo Pelleriti Malbec 2021 – This full-bodied Argentinian Malbec, smooth and velvety, is a versatile choice for various cheeses, available for £12.99.
- Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve North Coast Zinfandel 2020 – A lush Californian red, bursting with damsons and black cherries, perfect for blue cheeses and cooked cheese dishes, priced at £23.50.
I suggest trying Tawny Port if you haven’t already, even without cheese. This recommendation comes particularly if you find standard Ruby Port somewhat lacklustre. My introduction to Tawny Port was at a Wines of Portugal tasting event in 2014, where one of the Portuguese servers suggested we try it. Since then, it has become a firm favourite in our household.