How do you match wines with cheese?

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Some tips on how to match cheese with wine.

The following are a couple of suggested pairings, some classic and some more unusual, which may help you get even further enjoyment out of the enduring partnership.

If in doubt look for regional/classic pairings, like Sancerre and Crottin Chavignol and work from there. Sancerre is Sauvignon Blanc and Crottin Chavignol is a goat’s cheese, so try a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with an Irish goat’s cheese like St Tola from County Clare. This method can be a little hit and miss – obviously the suitability of the match is ultimately determined by the individual character of the particular wine and the condition of the cheese – but it produces far fewer jarring mismatches than total shots in the dark.

White Wine
Sauvignon Blanc (especially Loire classics such as Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, Quincy and Reuilly)
Fresh and ash rinded goat’s cheeses such as Crottin Pasdeloup, young Crottin Chavignol AOC and St Maure de Touraine, or for an Irish twist St Tola Goat’s log.

Chardonnay
Difficult due to the numerous expressions of this variety from Burgundy to Australia. Try something like Corton Charlemagne, Meursault or even St Veran with hard mountain cheeses such as Comte or the swiss Etivaz, the regional pairing of soft, pungent Epoisses. More fruit-driven New World Chardonnay’s pair equally well with the hard mountain cheeses or even fruity blues such as Stilton.

Gewurztraminer
Not the most popular grape type but utterly wonderful with whiffy washed-rinds. The classic combination is Munster but Ardrahan and Milleens can be equally great.

Red Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon
Big tannic Clarets are heavenly with traditional English Cheddars, such as Montgomery. Equally try them with the marvellous Irish raw milk cheddars from Dan Hegarty in Cork or Lucy Hayes’ Mount Callan from Clare.

Syrah/Shiraz
Australian cheesemaker Lucy Hayes of Mount Callan Cheddar swears by big Aussie Shiraz with her aged Clare Cheddar. Try it also with Gubbeen or Beaufort.

Pinot Noir
Goes well with many different cheeses. Burgundian Pinot is especially good with mild cheeses which have an underlying pungence in the finish, a little like red Burgundy itself. Try Reblochon, Saint Nectaire, Morbier, Epoisses or Brie. Fruitier New World examples pair well with Reblochon.

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