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Dec 19, 2006 01:34 PM

Good red wine to go with a cheeseboard?

I am giving my boyfriends parents a cheeseboard for christmas, it will consist of a mild herby soft sheeps cheese (fleur de marquis), a salty goats cheese (selles sur cher), a gruyere (comte), a sweet hard sheep (berkswell) and maybe a washed rind too (either epoisses or camembert calvados). Can anyone think of a good red wine that would go with this as a whole cheeseboard?

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    1. 5 to twenty pounds.
      which is 10 to 40 dollars.

      1. A nice Beaujolais is almost a no-brainer for cheese. Get a light one, like a plain undefined "Beaujolais" or a Beaujolais-Villages from a good negociant. At the most, I wouldn't get anything more forward than a Fleurie or Moulin-a-Vent. As prices for these in the US are around fifteen to twenty-five dollars, that should meet your requirements.

        1. In my tastings I use a scale of 1 (horrible) to 10 (perfect), the following are the best matchups for your cheese selections:

          Fleur de Marquis... not sure,

          "Salty Goats Cheese": matches Cabernet, Rioja, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel about equally, and all extremely well, rating 8.00 on my scale. An "essential" cheese on any great cheeseboard. Also an 8.00 match with Chardonnay and an even better match at 8.50 with Sauvignon Blanc.

          Gruyere (Comte): A great match for Syrah among reds (8.00). Second choice would be Rioja at 7.50. But this is an even more ethereal match with white wines, especially Gewurztraminer at 8.50, and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc both at 8.00.

          Berkswell: not sure. I'll do a leap of faith and assume this is something like a Pecorino for which Syrah at 8.50 and Rioja at 8.00 are the best matches.

          Epoisses: Not a particularly great "cheese wine". It matches best with Pinot Noir at 8.00 and Zinfandel at 7.50

          Camembert: Good with Rioja and Zinfandel at 7.50.

          Of the cheeses listed above, the most consistently "connected" red wines would be Rioja and Zinfandel.

          If you're a bit flexible and want a tremendous cheese matchup focusing on a red wine then consider the following:

          Syrah with: Parmesan Reggiano (8.00), Pecorino Stagianato (8.50), Aged Gouda (8.00), and "salty goat cheese"/chevre at 8.00.

          Zinfandel with: Chevre (8.00), Parmesan Reggiano (9.00), Italian "real" provolone (8.00), and Roquefort (8.00)

          Cabernet Sauvignon or a Cab/Merlot blend with: "real" Provolone (8.50), Parmesan Reggiano (9.00), Gouda (8.00), Chevre (8.00), and a medium-aged Cheddar around 4 years (8.00).

          These matches would have no "outliers", all the matchups are superb.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Chicago Mike

            Keep in mind that there are plenty of awful cheese & wine combinations. And many combinations that sound great don't pan out to be in the real world. All the ratings above are from actual tastings.

            1. re: Chicago Mike

              i'd be v. interested to learn more about pairings, may i ask if you have a reference book that may be of use to me to get started? i'm pretty familiar with cheese and wine, but not necessarily pairing.

              1. re: Chicago Mike

                Good ideas - I might suggest a Giagondas or good Cotes du Rhone which would strike at the heart of many of these selections. While I love Burgandies, they might be too light for some of these cheeses, and a Cab might be too heavy (no fruit bombing types). A full bodied valpolecella or a soft primitivo might also be nice.

              2. A fantastic pairing for cheese would be a young, ripe Zinfandel. Rosenblum makes some ultra-ripe Zins that go great with rich cheeses. It's hard to find just one wine to go with all of your cheeses, given that they have varying degrees of richness... but to ensure that your wine doesn't disappear under the richest ones, I'd go with a Rosenblum Zin... especially if you can get your hands on a Rockpile, Lyons, or Hendry's vineyard output from '02, '03, or '04.

                I do however get the impression that you are in the UK... in which case finding Rosenblum Zins would be very difficult. You'd have better luck finding a Ridge Zinfandel... I'm pretty sure they have them at Berry Bros & Rudd. Any vintage and vineyard of a Ridge Zin would be pretty great with assorted cheeses.