Zoink!’s Wine & Cheese Guide

Pinot Noir Wine

While we do a lot of dinners with wine, we love to pair our red wines with that perfect cheese that leaves us abundantly cheery. Here’s a simple wine and cheese pairing guide that would help you on your next wine and cheese night. A few tips to keep in mind: Pairing wines and cheeses from the same region is a good, “safe” place to start wine and cheese combinations. For example, a good Italian Chianti and a potent Parmesan will provide a fascinating mix. Also, remember that the harder types of cheese (i.e. Cheddar or Parmesan) can handle more tannic wines. While creamy cheeses, such as Brie, typically pair better with wines that have more acidity, like a Chardonnay. Give salty cheeses a sweet wine partner (i.e. Blue Cheese and Port).

1.       Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernets can be mellow and mild, hearty and rich. It has a deep red colour, with the primary taste being black currant. Other overtones can include blackberry and mint. Traditionally aged in oak, the wine also takes on an oaky, vanilla flavour. Higher quality cabs age extremely well (although a bit slowly), developing a sprinkling of five or six tastes within it.

Cheese made out of cow’s milk complements the Cabernet Sauvignon best. We suggest the Brie, Camembert, Danish Blue and Strong Cheddar for this red wine.

2.       Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is typically a lighter-bodied, fruit-forward red wine. Its flavours are reminiscent of sweet red berries, plums, tomatoes, cherries and at times a notable earthy or wood-like flavour, depending on specific growing conditions.

The distinct floral and fruity fragrance of this wine is most suited for Swiss, Brie, Gruyere and Muenster cheeses. Avoid blue cheese with the Pinot Noir – disastrous pairing.

3.       Shiraz/Syrah

Syrah or Shiraz is a dark-skinned grape grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce powerful red wines. Strong flavours like black cherries and roasted pepper are very distinct of this wine.

With the extremely fruity flavour of a Shiraz, cheeses like Farmhouse Cheddar, Edam, Gouda and Alpine-style cheese are recommended which really help enhancing the flavour of the wine.

Fruity Merlot Wine

4.  Merlot

Merlot is the Zoink! Team’s favourite red wine. It has a very versatile flavour profile and we love it because it can be paired with anything from meats and vegetables to pastas and salads. A range of fresh flavors such as plums, cherries, blueberries and blackberries mixed with cocoa and black pepper tones, often dominate this type of red wine. This medium bodied red wine with its fruity juicy flavours often make it a hit among the ladies.

The fruit flavours of this often are quite dominant and their flavour is enhanced when complemented with Brie, Camembert, Cheddar, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Parmesan

5.  Chianti

Chianti comes from the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy. Chianti is a red wine, strong and bold. Typical flavors in a Chianti include cherry, plum, strawberry, spice, almonds, tobacco, vanilla and coffee. Chianti goes well with well-seasoned foods and is often called a “fruity” wine, which makes it extremely appealing to new wine drinkers.

The strong cherry and plum flavours of the Chianti wine often go well with Italian style cheeses like Fontina, Mozarella, Parmesan or Provolone.

6.  Zinfandel

The colour of a zinfandel wine is deep red, bordering on black. Zinfandel is a spicy, peppery wine, with a hint of fruity flavour – berries or dark cherries are often the taste range. Zinfandel goes well with “typical American” food – pizza, burgers, and steaks. It’s hearty enough to match up with thick red sauces.

With the extremely strong flavours of this wine and the sweetness being very prominent, a variety of cheeses go well with this wine. Blue cheese, Asiago, Blue, Feta, Gruyere and Muenster are a heavenly pairing with this type of wine.

Do you have any other fantastic wine and cheese pairings that you have tried and tested or discovered by accident? We’d love to hear about it! After all, we love our cheeses, and love how cheery and blissful it makes us with that glass of wine! 🙂


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