- by Dustin Wilson
The Best Cheeses to Pair with Your Favourite Corkbeard Wines
As far as matches made in heaven go, wine and cheese are pretty high on the list. How and why did this centuries-old relationship become so intertwined, especially today when having a wine and cheese night is the popular thing to do?
Recent studies theorize that astringents and fats are often paired in gastronomies around the world, but food scientists don’t really know for certain why or how they work. The basic idea is that astringent and fatty foods together create a balanced “mouthfeel”, with astringents, like wine, binding with the lubricating fat proteins in the mouth to more or less wash it away—or in other words, cleanse the palate.
Wine and cheese share many similar properties (for example, aging and fermentation) and as such there is a lot to consider when pairing wine and cheese, like texture, fat, acidity, and tannin levels. Just like with wine, there are hundreds of different varieties of cheese. And as with wine, cheese is also categorized into several types: fresh, soft, semi-soft, medium-hard, hard, blue, washed-rind, and processed. There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to cheese, but suffice to say, there’s a right wine for every type and variety of cheese.
A common belief is that with so many different types of wines and cheese out there, the possibilities for pairing must be endless... right? Well, not quite. Like with any wine and food pairing, done right, wine and cheese pairings should complement and bring out each other’s flavours.
A Few Basic Rules for Pairing Wine & Cheese
When pairing wine and cheese, keep in mind these simple rules:
- First pick your wine and then pick your cheese(s) to accompany it (see below for our suggestions!).
- Pair wines with cheeses of equal intensity. In other words, do not pair a strong wine with a mild cheese, and vice versa, or you’ll be in for a world of hurt (speaking from personal experience).
- Hard cheeses go with tart, tannic wines.
- Creamy cheeses go with mellow, acidic wines.
- Salty cheeses go with sweet wines.
- Match wines and cheeses from the same region—they often complement each other with similar properties.
- Not every wine goes with every cheese! White wines, especially sweet ones, tend to go well with more cheeses than red wines.
- As for cheese, a hard cheese with a nutty flavour goes well with all wines.
Pairing Corkbeard Wines with Cheese
So now that you know a little of the background of wine and cheese and some of the basic rules of pairing them, the whole world is, er, ripe with pairing possibilities. Where do you begin in what could possibly be a time- and cost-consuming activity?
Start with Corkbeard wines! At under $20 CAD a bottle, our Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rosé wines are easy-drinking and perfect additions for wine and cheese nights with friends, dinner parties, or afternoon snacking. Plus, these three popular varieties of wine can be paired with a whole bunch of different cheeses. Let’s take a look at what we have to recommend:
Chardonnay is one of the most popular wines in the world; it’s smooth, sweet, and easy-drinking. Our lightly oaked Chardonnay is mixed with a little Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo and tastes like creamy butter with a bright pop of citrus, sweet starfruit, and crisp green apple.
To bring out these flavours and textures, try Chardonnay with:
- Mild Gouda - Aged 3 months from Sylvan Star
- Fresh cheeses like feta and mozzarella.
- Soft and creamy cheeses like brie, camembert, and goat cheese.
- Semi-soft cheeses like gruyère, Havarti, provolone, and edam.
Hard cheeses like mild cheddar and parmesan.
Another well-loved wine, and our top-seller, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the best red wines to pair with cheese. Our Cab Sauv is light on the oak and blended with a dash of Merlot and Zinfandel to create a medium-bodied wine. Rich, dark fruits like black cherries and plums and a hint of vanilla create a smooth, dry, and light flavour and texture. It’s simple and unfussy, yet perfect for any occasion.
Since our Cabernet Sauvignon is a lighter style cabernet, try it with these cheeses:
- Grizzly Gouda - Aged 12-24 months from Sylvan Star
- Soft, creamy cheese like camembert.
- Semi-soft cheeses like gruyère.
- Hard and semi-hard cheeses like extra sharp cheddar, comté, and parmesan.
- Blue cheeses like Roquefort and gorgonzola.
Pro tip: The more aged the cheese, the better it will taste with Cabernet Sauvignon
Rosé is a wine that is exploding in popularity across the globe. Easy and sweet, it’s a crowd-pleasing wine perfect for everyone, including wine newbies. Our Rosé is a blend of Zinfandel and Tempranillo. It is dry, with a bright and tart start that softens into sweet summer fruits like apricots, strawberries, and raspberries.
The mild taste of rosé means it goes best with mild yet flavourful cheeses. Try it with:
- Cumin mild from Sylvan Star
- Fresh cheese like mozzarella.
- Soft cheeses like rocchetta, soft or aged goat cheese, ricotta, feta, and brie.
- Semi-soft cheeses like Havarti, fontina, and gruyère.
- Hard cheeses like provolone and Appenzeller.
Now that you’re armed with these easy starter recommendations for Corkbeard wine and cheese pairings, try them out and let us know what you think! Are there any pairings you think we should add to our lists?
P.S. Wine and Cheese Night idea: Get one of our barrel top signs to use as a serving tray for your wine, cheese, and other food pairings!