Christmas Entertaining: Pairing Wine and Cheese

Although wine and cheese are both delicious on their own, perfectly pairing the two can enhance the flavours of both. You don’t need to be a qualified sommelier to do this either. The trick is to find a wine that enhances the strength and complexity of the cheese’s flavours, without overpowering them. 

So, for the times you have friends or family round this Christmas (or on other occasions for that matter) and serve cheese for nibbles or a cheeseboard for a dessert, here are the wines you should pair your cheeses with.

Hard Cheeses 

For hard cheeses such as parmesan, you ideally want a dry white wine like a white burgundy or a light to medium-bodied red wine, like a rioja or a pinot noir. This is because the tannins in the wine work well with the structures of the cheese. 

As hard cheeses age, they can be harder to taste match. So, look for something relatively young and relatively hard.

Soft Cheeses 

For a soft cheese like a brie or a camembert, you want a wine that has a high level of acidity. This is because you need the acidity to cut through the fat content and create balance. 

For a white wine, try a Chablis or a pinot grigio. If you’d prefer a red, try a light pinot noir. If your festive dinner party is a fancy affair, then champagne also matches perfectly. 

Blue Cheeses 

Blue cheeses like stilton are powerful and difficult to balance. As a result, they don’t tend to pair too well with red wine. 

Generally speaking, the creamier the texture, the sweeter your wine should be. This also creates a great contrast between the saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the wine. For a good balance, try a chardonnay.  

If you’re not a big fan of white wine but would like something to pair with a blue cheese, then try port. Its sweetness and thick body pair perfectly with a more pungent cheese. 

Goat/Sheep Cheeses

Goat cheeses and sheep cheeses are actually relatively easy to pair. As long as you have a fresh wine with a lively acidity, you’ll create a beautiful pairing. As with soft cheeses, the younger the cheese, the easier it is to match to a wine because the flavour develops and strengthens over time. 

Festive Treats 

At Christmas time, we all love a mulled wine. However, this is a very strong taste, so you need a cheese with a strong flavour. For this, saltier cheeses are better, so try a gorgonzola, a stilton or even a gruyere. 

If you Only Want One Option… 

Pairing wine and cheese is a fantastic way of enhancing the flavours of both, but it can be a little tricky. If you have quite a few cheeses, it can also get pricey. 

So, if you want one wine that matches a whole cheeseboard, then sherry and tawny port are good options. These aren’t too delicately flavoured and their flavour profiles are similar to chutneys and dried fruits, which are usually served with cheeses. 

Christmas Wine and Cheese Events with McCarthy Stone

At McCarthy Stone, we regularly host a number of events at our developments, including things like wine and cheese nights, and over Christmas selected locations will have special festive editions of such nights for you to enjoy. 

We pride ourselves on making these great social events where residents and visitors alike can mingle and make new friends. 

So if you want to know more about what’s happening at your local development over Christmas, speak to the House Manager, or if you’re a resident you can also check your development’s bulletin boards.