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“A cheese board is full of complex and interesting tastes and smells so choosing wine to go with all these wonderful flavours can be challenging. So we have joined forces with our cheese buyer and paired our most popular cheeses with wines to complement and enhance them. This, with our tips on "How to host a wine and cheese tasting" is a great excuse the throw a party!”
Xenia Irwin MW - Waitrose Cellar Buyer
Soft cheese can include anything from camembert, brie, goats and simple cream cheese. When matching wine with these types of cheese you need something that doesn't have any tannins, ideally a white with zingy acidity, or a light style red. Why not try Waitrose Moody's Rosary Ash Goats Cheese with Waitrose Grüner Veltliner.
A baked camembert such as Waitrose Camembert de Normandie is perfect with Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir from New Zealand.
While Brie can be difficult to match because of the rind, a dry sparkling wine or champagne will work well with this cheese and will neutralise the tangy taste of the rind. Try Duval-Leroy Fleur de Champagne Premier Cru or Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Brut NV.
A cheese board wouldn't be complete without some cheddar, whether it is mild or mature there is a wine to go with it. Try Journey's End Sir Lowry Cabernet Sauvignon with Waitrose Westcombe extra mature Cheddar Cheese with 18 months' barrel ageing, this rich wine is packed with dark plums, chocolate and sweet spice flavours. Its bold South African style will match up well to the intense flavour of this aged cheddar
White wines especially Sauvignon Blancs are perfect with a range of hard cheese from mild cheddar's to regional favourites such as double Gloucester or red Leicester. Try Waitrose Sancerre La Franchotte or for something a bit different Chapel Hill Sauvignon Blanc from Hungary.
Blue cheeses are best matched to a sweeter style a wine such as a dessert wine or a port. However, a bend in the rules would be Gorgonzola with a full-bodied merlot dominated Bordeaux Saint-Émilion. With blueberry and cranberry flavours and a slight smokiness, and rounded tannins offset the rich butteriness of the Gorgonzola perfectly.
And for the ultimate blue cheese and wine match, Waitrose Roquefort with Waitrose Sauternes Château Suduiraut. This very fine, luscious and honeyed sweet wine is a wonderful example of its type. It's a fantastic match with this spicy blue cheese. The perfect end to a meal.
A general rule of thumb when matching wine and cheese (and this really comes down to personal tastes) is the more pungent the cheese you choose, the sweeter the wine should be.
Off-dry styles of Riesling and Gewürztraminer which have strong floral and spicy aromas balances the strong flavours of the cheese. Petit Munster Gerome with Cave de Turckheim Gewürztraminer or Louis Guntrum Oppenheimer Sackträger Riesling.
Another way of matching wine and cheese would be to pick wines from the same region as the cheese.
Epoisses was allegedly Napoleon's favourite and with its strong flavour and aroma, this classic cheese from Burgundy should be matched with a wine from the same region - a red or a white will be great. We suggest a Auvigue Le Clos, Pouilly-Fuissé or Domaine Lucien Muzard, Santeney Premier Cru Maladière.
1: You want to allow approx. 80g-100g of cheese per person.
2: Variety is the name of the game - use a mix of the below:
British Cheddar (Vintage Cheese), British Artisan choice (Lincolnshire Poacher or Sparkenhoe Red Leicester), Hard Continental (Comte, Gruyere or Gouda), British Stilton or regional blue, Continental Blue (Gorgonzola or Rouqueford), Goats or mixed milk cheese (Manchego or French Goats Cheese), Soft Cheese option (Brie de Meaux or Normandy Camembert), Washed rind option (Epoisses)
3: Lift the cheese out of the fridge 1-2 hours prior to the party to allow them to be eaten at room temperature.
4: Spend time on your display, showing off types, colours and shapes, as it makes for a great “wow” moment for your guests.
5: Get some key facts or details of the provenance of the cheese to impress your guests. Why not visits Waitrose.com and browse the cheese section or visit the Waitrose cheese specialist’s in-store for advice and details.
Ensure you get a selection of different wines and/or real ale for the party.
- A selection of dry and fruity red wines
- A selection of dry and sweet wines
- A couple of sparkling wines and champagne options
2: You can get your case of wine delivered directly to you for free when you shop with waitrosecellar.com.
3: Ensure you have enough wine glasses for the party as some guests may try a variety of whites and reds against different cheeses, requiring a fresh glass for each type of wine.
1: Ensure you have the right tools for the job. A selection of cheese boards and knives will be required to make sure your guests aren’t using the same knives across hard , soft and blue cheeses.
2: Make sure you pick up some quince and a selection of chutneys for your guests to try with their cheeses.
3: A selection of different biscuits and crusty bread (for soft cheese) will make up the basis of your accompaniments. Have a selection of fruits available for your guests to cleanse their palettes.
4: To add a bit more variety to your tasting you could add some light Tapas, like olives, prosciutto or salami meats.
5: Have a few bottles of chilled sparkling waters to hand for your guests to cleanse their palettes.
1: Eat blue stilton on a digestive biscuit with portions of cut apples.
2: Gorgonzola goes amazingly well with prosecco. Why not do up some mini entrees with crackers and gorgonzola to go with your guests glass of prosecco upon arrival?
3: Try serving grapes frozen – freeze three hours prior to the party.
4: Serve quince with Spanish cheeses.
5: Create little tent cards with the cheese names and key facts so your guests can identify the cheese.
6: Create a game where guests have to guess ‘country of origin’ or name that cheese’ to create discussion around your selection.
Have fun!! When pairing wine with cheese there is no right or wrong answer, just degrees of perfect vs. good. Everyone may have their own opinion and that's what makes the party fun and enjoyable with friends.