Our guide to the tastiest cheese and wine pairings this Christmas
Merry Cheesemas! Check out our guide for the best local and organic cheese and wine pairings for your Christmas celebrations.
When you’re a cheese lover, nothing beats a good cheeseboard, and we’re truly spoiled to have so many mouth-watering, award-winning cheeses here in the south west. Our carefully selected range in our shops and cafes is a testament to how much we love a good cheese. Get inspired with our cheese and wine pairings to create a festive cheeseboard full of (jingle) bells and whistles.
First up, the cheese
A good rule of thumb is to go for variety. This means a mix of hard and soft cheeses, a range of flavours, textures and milk types (such as cow, goat or sheep’s milk). Depending on how enthused you are about cheese, pick around 3 to 5 cheeses. If aesthetics concerns you, odd numbers always look good on the plate.
When picking cheeses, it’s nice to start with a fairly ’safe’ flavour that you’re familiar with, such as a cheddar. You can build it up by adding to your range of milk types. Cow’s milk is versatile and is the widest range that we have in store. Sheep’s milk tends to be quite rich due to the higher fat content, and if you like a tangy cheese, goat’s milk is the go-to for that distinctive taste. If you’re looking for a plant-based option, we highly rate the dairy free che*se from Kinda Co. We give our recommendations below for the perfect cheese and wine pairings but ultimately, pick the ones you like!
The perfect cheese and wine pairings
We’ve picked our favourite five organic and local cheeses which are all also vegetarian. We’ve paired each cheese with a wine that is guaranteed to show it off at its best.
Green’s of Glastonbury Cheddar, cow’s milk, Glastonbury.
Yes, yes, despite what we said about cheddar being a ‘safe’ flavour, Green’s of Glastonbury Cheddar is no ordinary cheddar. Its full bodied, sweetly nutty, mature flavour gives it a lingering and deliciously satisfying finish. Since this cheddar is a hard cheese, it’ll keep a firm texture.
Pair with: Chateau Rochecolombe Cote du Rhone, France.
Mature cheddar is one of the cheeses that can take a nice full red. This weighty red, made from Grenache and Syrah grapes, brimming with damson plum and warm spice, is a delicious match.
Cotswold Brie, cow’s milk, Cotswolds.
Who doesn’t love the melt-in-the-mouth, buttery mellowness of brie? Creamy, buttery and mild, this is a must for our cheeseboard.
Pair with: Wildsong Pinot Gris, New Zealand.
Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio) produces richer, creamier wines in its spiritual home in Alsace, France. Wildsong takes more than a leaning on the style in their Kiwi interpretation. A perfect match for the Cotswold Brie.
Wyfe of Bath, cow’s milk, Bath.
The Bath Soft Cheese Co. created Wyfe of Bath inspired by Canterbury Tales, with a deep flavour reminiscent of ‘old England’. A truly succulent, creamy and nutty semi-hard cheese.
Pair with: Domaine de Petit Roubie Viognier, France.
What better to match the nutty, creamy Wyfe of Bath, than this stunning, smooth and creamy Viognier? Bursting with exotic, ripe fruit and a luscious mouthfeel. Decadent, but with balancing acidity.
Millstone, sheep’s milk, Shepton Mallet.
Crafted in Shepton Mallet, our only non-cow’s milk cheese in this top five, has also been likened to the more familiar Manchego. We love the crumbly texture and mild flavour of Wootton Organic Dairy’s Millstone.
Pair with: Bodegas Piqueras Wild Ferment Verdejo, Spain.
Fresh, zippy and lemony, with a bit of richness from oak aging. This is an obvious match (Verdejo comes from Northern Spain) to a Manchego-esque sheep’s cheese.
Perl Las, cow’s milk, Wales.
In our opinion, no cheeseboard is complete without a blue cheese and we’ve picked Caws Cenarth’s tasty Perl Las from over the border in Wales. Although it’s considered a strong cheese, the distinctive blue overtones are quite subtle and creamy.
Pair with: Stellar Organics Cabernet Sauvignon No Added Sulphur, South Africa.
A lighter bodied red with soft tannins is the perfect match for a blue cheese, and this Cabernet Sauvignon is just that. Soft blackberry fruits and gentle tannins combine to give a soft mouth feel brimming with fresh fruit. Easy drinking!
Kinda Co, dairy free che*se, Somerset.
With a wide variety of delicious dairy free cheese, we couldn’t pick just one to recommend! Farmhouse style, smoked, greek, flavoured with chilli, garlic and herbs, pick whatever takes your fancy. We also have a wide selection of vegan wines in store for you to choose from.
If you’re looking forward to picking wine to drink with your cheese course, there are only three rules you need to know when matching cheese and wine:
1. Not all wine goes with all cheese. (yes, we feel your collective noooooooo!) It would be lovely if we could just keep going with whatever wine we had with dinner, but some cheeses can spoil some wines. To make the most of both, think about choosing a wine (or wines!) to specifically go with your cheese course.
2. Contrast salty with sweet. Salty cheeses (particularly blues like Stilton and Roquefort) can make the tannins (mouth-puckering, drying sensation from red wines) taste even stronger. Think about wines that are a little sweet (particularly Port and dessert wines) to match salty cheeses – they offer a pleasing contrast. There’s a reason why Port and Stilton is a classic!
3. Complement textures. Consider the texture of your cheese and match it to the texture of your wine. For example, if you have a fresh ‘crisp’ goat’s cheese, try pairing it with an equally fresh sauvignon blanc. Or a creamy brie – try a rich chardonnay.
Serving up your cheeseboard
Find a large flat platter, chopping board, or even dinner plates if that’s all you have to hand. Cheese is at its best at room temperature, so put the cheese out half an hour to an hour before you intend to dive in. If your cheeseboard is being served on a particularly festive day when you’ve had too many breakfast chocolates (we’re not judging), simply cut each cheese in half when you’re compiling your cheeseboard – serve one half and save the other in the fridge for later.