Cheese and wine go together like pancakes and Saturday mornings. It’s truly one of life’s greatest pleasures especially coming from a city like Cape Town which offers top class, home produced varieties of both. I'm not saying I'm obsessed but when someone pairs a mild cheddar with a Shiraz, I might have to take deep breaths and count to ten. In any case, I've rounded up some of my favourite options for a delicious DIY wine pairing menu so enjoy and if you have any standout pairings, let me know!
There are many mouthwatering varieties of cheeses, usually I choose these first and then select the wine accordingly.
Fresh cheeses consist of guilty pleasures like Burrata and Marscapone, Feta and Ricotta. Chevre is part of this clique as well but I'm not really about goats milk to be honest - the aftertaste is too much for me. Either way, you will bring out the best in these with dry, crisp red and white wines - think Rose and Pinot Grigio, Savignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Read next: A Rookies Guide to Red Wine.
I always like to include soft, mould cheeses on my cheeseboard. A pairing menu just wouldn’t be the same without it. Not only do they they look great on the board but also because they are the most versatile. These include your Bries, Camemberts and Robiolas and go amazingly with your Brut Bubbly, Chardonnay Savignon, Riesling, Chenin Blanc and any dry light bodied reds.
If you've run out of time putting together your wine pairing menu then go for these cheese options because you almost can’t go wrong.
Read: Proof That Desserts can be Art.
For cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan, Pecorino, Emmenthal and Double Gloucester - they go well with Pinot Gris, Pinor Noir, and Savignon Blanc. For hard cheeses like Aged Manchego try Cabernet Savignon, Zinfadel or Pinor Noir.
Semi Soft selections are Gouda, Havarti, Edam and Gruyere. You can unleash your inner sommelier with these by pairing them with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris in terms of white wine and for red wines, Pinor Noir.
General Wine Pairing tips:
Soft cheese pair well with sparkling wine or white wine light on oak flavour like Chardonnay.
Don’t pair a strong wine with a mild cheese.
Sharp and aged cheeses are balanced with bold wines.
Most importantly, don’t overanalyse too much, the info above are general rules. But if in doubt, have a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay option ready - either can work with most types.