Wine and cheese are both exceptionally unique in flavor and style. Similar to wine, some cheese gets better with age, while others should be enjoyed early on. At Concannon, we pride ourselves on the complexity of our wines, and how each brings something special out of the cheese we pair it with. Join us as we taste through these exceptional wine and cheese pairings!
What are the different types of cheese?
Cheese come in all shapes, sizes, textures, and flavors. In general, you can categorize cheese into a few different types: fresh cheeses, bloomy-rind cheeses, washed-rind cheeses, semi-soft cheeses, hard cheeses, and blue cheeses, but many cheeses fall into more than one of these categories. We should note that there are many different types of rind cheeses, but we stuck to two very common ones for this article.
What are Fresh Cheeses?
Fresh cheeses are those that don’t have a rind and, in general, are mild in flavor. Some examples of fresh cheeses are Ricotta, Goat, Mozzarella, and Feta.
Fresh Cheese and Wine Pairings
Herbed Goat and Sauvignon Blanc
Our 2016 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc boasts stone fruit flavors and notes of thyme, which enhances the herbs found in the Goat cheese while balancing the tang of the cheese.
Feta and a Dry, Fruity Rosé
Our crisp and dry 2017 Reserve Rosé of Petite Sirah is a dry wine with hints of minerality and fresh-picked strawberries. This balanced wine softens the salty, tangy flavors of feta. A delicious pair.
What are Bloomy-Rind Cheeses?
Bloomy-rind cheeses are high in moisture and tend to be creamy in flavor. They are called bloomy-rind because they have a layer of fluffy white mold that grows around them. Some examples of this type of cheese are Brie, Camembert, and Coulommiers.
Bloomy-Rind Cheese and Wine Pairings
Brie and Pinot Noir
Pairing this rich, buttery cheese with a light, more subtle wine like our 2015 Reserve Russian River Pinot Noir helps to soften the creamy intensity of the cheese while enhancing its unique flavors.
Camembert and a Dry Sparkling Wine
Similar to how Pinot Noir softens brie, a dry sparkling wine like our 2017 Reserve Brut Sparkling helps to soften camembert. The refreshing bubbles help to enhance the herbaceous and nutty flavors usually missed in a bite of camembert.
What are Washed-Rind Cheeses?
Washed-rind cheeses are ones which are continuously bathed in a salt-water brine or alcohol to inhibit mold growth on the rind. They are notorious for their pungent smells, but make up for it in their delicious flavors. Examples of washed-rind cheese are taleggio, muenster, and appenzeller.
Washed-Rind Cheese and Wine Pairing
Muenster and Chardonnay
The 2016 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay is a perfect complement to a slightly tangy, stinky Muenster cheese. The soft and supple fruit flavors of the Chardonnay add complexity to this fan favorite, while the aromas of toasted vanilla help to mask the washed-rind smell.
What are Semi-Soft Cheeses?
Semi-soft cheeses are slightly firmer than fresh cheeses, and vary in flavor and smell depending on how they’re made and how long they are aged. Examples of these semi-soft cheeses are havarti, fontina, and gruyere.
Semi-Soft Cheese and Wine Pairings
Havarti and Cabernet Sauvignon
A nutty, creamy havarti goes well with our 2014 Concannon Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon, which enriches the cheese with intense dark fruit flavors and hints of cocoa and spice. The subtle herbs and white pepper draw the cheese through a deliciously long, smooth finish. Simply delightful.
Gruyere and Red Blend
Rich, creamy, and slightly nutty, gruyere deserves a complex, nuanced wine to complement its subtle flavors. There’s no better fit for this cheese than a red blend that takes the best flavors from each of its added varietals. Our popular 2016 Reserve Crimson & Clover Red Blend boasts bright fruit flavors layered with bold mocha, creamy vanilla bean, and rejuvenating lavender notes. Be prepared to taste something unexpected with this pairing.
What are Hard Cheeses?
Hard cheeses are savory cheeses that develop this dense composition after having the whey removed before pressing the curd. Some examples of hard cheeses are cheddar, manchego, and pecorino.
Hard Cheese and Wine Pairings
Aged Cheddar and Malbec
A sharp cheese like aged cheddar needs a fruit-forward red to take on its high salt content. Our 2015 Reserve Malbec is an approachable wine that’s rich with dark fruit and supported by sweet spice and subtle tannins. The saltiness of the cheese enhances the luxurious fruit flavors of the wine without overpowering it, making it an exceptional pairing.
Pecorino and Zinfandel
Similar to aged cheddar, pecorino is a sharp, salty cheese that is best complemented by a bold wine so that neither overpowers the other. Behind its lush black cherry flavors, our 2015 Reserve Zinfandel exhibits hints of peppercorn that enhance the flavor of the cheese. The nuances of this wine are well cut out to take on a cheese like pecorino.
What are Blue Cheeses?
Blue cheeses are those that contain the mold Penicillium, as can be seen from the blue veins within them. They are very strong in flavor and are quite polarizing…You either enjoy them or you don’t. Examples of these cheeses are: Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese, Gorgonzola, and Roquefort.
Blue Cheese and Wine Pairing
Reyes Blue Cheese and Petite Sirah Port
An intense Bleu cheese deserves an equally powerful wine. Bleu cheese meets its match with a deep, fruity-red like our 2016 Petite Sirah Port. Chock full of spice and rich flavor, this wine and a bite of Bleu cheese are an extraordinary pair. Note: This wine also pairs well with Gorgonzola.