With so many different styles and varieties of cheese, it is possible for almost everyone to find an example that they really like/love. It is mostly produced from cows, sheep, goats and buffalo but, frankly, anything that expresses milk will do; it is sometimes soft, sometimes hard, sometimes blue and sometimes very smelly.
The earliest production of cheese predates recorded history, so it’s been around at least 7000 years, but no one really knows from exactly where it originates. It was originally used as a way to preserve milk.
The cooler climates of Northern Europe saw the invention of aged, ripened, and blue cheeses. Many of the cheeses that we are familiar with today (cheddar, gouda, parmesan, camembert) were first produced in Europe during the Middle-Ages. But mass production did not start until 1815, when the first cheese factory was opened in Switzerland.
All of this means, of course, is that there is a very wide range of wines that go with cheese and that’s a lot of fun! However, here are just three great recommendations to help you on your way:
Classic: Alain Gueneau Sancerre ‘La Guiberte’ 2018 - The bright, grassy, citrus notes of this Loire classic are perfectly (and famously) matched with goat’s cheese, but it will also work beautifully with a Brie, Ricotta, and Feta.
Sommelier’s choice: Aurora Oloroso Sherry NV 50cl - This rich, complex fortified wine from the south of Spain pairs beautifully with really robust cheeses. In fact, it brings out the best in them - think aged Gruyere, Comte, mature Gouda, and Payoyo (made with a mix of goat’s and ewe’s milk in Andalucía).
The Wild Card: Frederiksdal Rancio NV 50cl - A wine made from cherries, in Denmark, aged in glass demijohns and Cognac barrels. Who knew? Well, the cherry fruit, along with notes of orange zest, figs, nuts and caramel works a treat with blue cheeses such as Stilton or Gorgonzola, and with other robust cheeses like mature Cheddar.