Despite being one of the world’s most well-known food and beverage pairings, not all types of cheese match well with all wines. Thanks to years of tasting, there are many suggestions for which cheeses to try with which wines. There is a reason why some wines pair better with particular cheeses.
So what cheese pairs with cabernet sauvignon? In the past, we’ve examined the foods that go best with cabernet sauvignon; now, though, we’re going to focus on the cheeses.
1. Introducing the Basics of Cheese and Wine Pairings
There is at least one rule that should be observed, according to many experts, “wine and cheese” connoisseurs, and gourmands: serve the milder cheeses first, paired with light wines, and work your way up to the stronger cheeses and full-bodied wines.
Personal preference also comes into play, and yours will undoubtedly direct you toward intriguing pairings. Regardless of your preferences, you should select cheeses from the fresh cheese, soft cheese, semi-soft cheese, firm cheese, and hard cheese categories.
They make scrumptious tiny nibbles to go with Champagne and sparkling wines when placed on biscuits. They go well with the majority of young white wines, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling, as well as some red wines, like Pinot Noir or Valpolicella.
Serve light, fruity wines with young Brie or Camembert, like a Gewürztraminer, Riesling, or Bordeaux. Serve drier red or white wines, like a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Gamay, if the cheeses are more ripe.
Monterey, Havarti, and Gruyère Jack pair well with light, dry wines from the Alsace, Orvieto, Entre-Deux-Mers, Chablis, Moselle, or Beaujolais. Serve robust wines like a Chianti or a Burgundy with semi-firm cheeses like Cantonnier, Noyan, or Oka, which have stronger flavors.
Pick dry rosé wines or fruity red wines to pair with mild or medium Cheddar, Emmental, Gouda, Friulano, or Provolone cheese. Serve full-bodied red wines, such as Bordeaux, Médoc, Côtes-du-Rhône, Zinfandel, Rioja, Chianti, or Saint-Émilion wines, with flavorful cheeses in this category (sharp Cheddar, Miranda, Aged Provolone).
Additionally, there is a rising trend among fans of wine and cheese to pair these cheeses with aged Port, Sherry, or Burgundy wines. Ermite or Bleu Benedictin blue cheese pairs beautifully with port, ice wines, ice ciders, or dessert wines like Sauternes.
When paired with extremely dry white wines like Alsace, Tokay, and Pinot Gris, a Canadian Parmesan is a genuine treat. It tastes well with sherry as well. Reds with ample body and flavor are also available.
2. What cheese pairs with Cabernet Sauvignon?
Now that we have a fundamental knowledge of why cheese and wine go so well together, let’s look at what kinds of cheese go well with Cabernet Sauvignon, our favorite wine.
In general, a semi-hard cheese that has some age to it is a good choice. These cheeses can counteract the tannins that will make your tongue feel dry and help the wine taste better.
Creamy or soft cheeses should be avoided since they might make Cabernet Sauvignon taste slightly metallic or harsh. Extremely hard cheeses can intensify tannins and cause your mouth to become overly dry.
2.1. Cheddar cheese
Cheddar cheese makes a great choice. For people who aren’t as experimental with their cheese, it’s straightforward, good, reasonably priced, and not too wild.
Aged, sharp, The flavor and fat level of cheddar are exactly right to counteract the tannins while also tasting wonderful. In addition to being a terrific palate cleanser, it will help bring out some of the wine’s citrus aromas. Cheddar cheese is the ideal choice if you’re searching for something that everyone is familiar with and that goes well with cabernet sauvignon.
Another excellent cheese to use with cabernet sauvignon is gouda. Like cheddar cheese, its high-fat content will aid in cutting through the tannins and lessen the wine’s tendency to become dry.
This sort of cheese maturing procedure does a terrific job of bringing out fruity flavors in the wine and making more robust wines taste a little lighter. Although these two cheeses are our top picks for pairing with cabernet sauvignon, there’s no reason you can’t try other cheeses as well.
For the ideal pairing with your cabernet sauvignon, we do suggest keeping with aged, semi-hard cheeses that have a higher fat content. While the aged element will help bring out some of the fruit/berry notes in the wine, the higher fat content will assist lessen the bite of the high tannin levels.
When matching wine and cheese, it’s important to make sure that they both enhance one another and don’t overshadow it. You don’t want a cheese that fully negates the tannin’s influence because that would alter the winemaker’s intention when making the wine, nor do you want a wine that completely overpowers the cheese because then you won’t be able to enjoy the cheese. When it comes to wine and cheese pairings, it’s a delicate dance, but feel free to experiment to see what works for you.
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3. Pairing cheese with Cabernet Sauvignon
#1. When purchasing cheeses to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon, keep an eye out for the following varieties and traits:
- Aged cow’s milk cheeses that are semi-hard—The cheese develops a subtle crunch and rich, nutty flavors during the maturing process. The tannins in the wine link to the protein and fat in the cheese, enhancing its softer, nutty texture and smooth flavor while bringing out the berry notes in both young and older Cabernet Sauvignons.
- Past favorite combinations with Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon include Wisconsin’s Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Beemster 18-Month Aged Gouda from Holland, and Vermont’s Cabot Clothbound Cheddar.
- Sheep’s milk semi-hard cheeses that have aged a bitThese cheeses’ tougher texture, greater complexity, and subdued nutty tastes enhance rather than compete with a cabernet’s structure and finish.
- Additionally, sheep’s milk cheeses frequently have a subdued gamey flavor that complements cabernet. San Andreas and Ewenique from California, Ossau-Iraty from France, and the Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon cheese plate have all previously been chosen.
- Cheeses that are softly matured and have earthy notes—Only if you’re matching them with a young, lighter-style cabernet, choose earthy, slightly firm varieties. This is because a creamy cheese will bring out the tannins in a more potent cabernet, making the wine extremely chewy.
- The dry herb smells in a young cabernet are complemented by soft-ripened cheeses with an earthy or herbaceous component from the rind or an added ingredient, such as truffles, which also helps to soften the tannins and enhance the berry notes.
- The only soft-ripened cheeses I’ve discovered so far that reach an elevated pairing for both the wine and the cheese are Nicasio Valley Locarno, Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt Tam, and Marin French Triple Crème Brie with Truffles—all from West Marin County. The pairing, however, is very different from vintage to vintage.
#2 Avoid four categories of cheese with cabernet sauvignon:
- Often referred to as chèvre, young, soft goat cheeses. These are notably tart and have a high acidity level, which overplays the alcohol content of the cabernet. The sole exceptions are those with dried herbs or a herb crust, which go well with a young, refined cabernet or Bordeaux’s herbaceous aromas.
- The most famous Camembert in France, as well as triple-crème cheeses like Brillat-Savarin and Saint André, are examples of creamy, soft-ripened cheeses that often bring out the metallic or bitter notes in cabernet while muting its fruit qualities. If you want the fruit in your cabernet to truly stand out, as mentioned above, experiment cautiously with creamy cheeses.
- Hard cheese, like Parmigiano-Reggiano. The pineapple and caramel taste in these cheeses’ saltiness and, ironically, sweetness might make the wine lose its fruity flavor. The finest red wine to combine with Parmigiano is a light red with little tannin; consider still or sparkling Lambrusco, which many Italians choose to mix with Parmesan cheese. The salt in the cheese will accentuate any tannins in the excessively strong wine.
- Blue cheeses, particularly strong varieties. Due to the way blue cheese typically alters the flavor of cabernet, these combinations can be challenging. Most mild blue cheeses pair better with champagne and thin, crisp white wines like a Sancerre or a young Jordan Chardonnay. Two softer blue cheeses, Caveman Blue from Rogue Creamery in Oregon and Neal’s Yard Cashel Blue from England, can pair nicely with younger, bolder, fruitier vintages of Jordan. Both cheeses have buttery textures and a hint of sweetness that go well with the fruit and structure of the Jordan Cabernets from 2012 and 2013.
#3. Cheese and cabernet sauvignon tasting notes:
Coastal Creamery Central Goat Gouda, a goat’s milk cheese from Paso Robles, helped the 2011 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, a leaner, more Old World vintage, develop its mid-palate or body.
The goat’s milk cheese Cypress Grove Midnight Moon from Holland has a creamy, rich flavor that enhances the fruit flavors in all three vintages. However, it makes the 2011 vintage stand out because it broadens the fruit flavors and creaminess on the palate and adds a pleasing saltiness to the finish that entices us to take another sip.
Both the 2009 and 2013 cabernets’ tannins were mellowed by the cheese, and the red fruits in 2009 were rendered brighter while the 2013 cabernet’s acidity was sharpened. a nice cheese complete with all three vintages.
The earthy truffle, mushroom, and grassy aromas in this slightly creamy goat cheese from Humboldt County defied our generalization that chèvre pairs best with Cabernet. This creamy, smooth cheese is regarded as a flavor powerhouse because of its herbal and mushroom undertones, which brought out the fruit in all three cabernets. With the 2011 vintage, it truly shone, enhancing the palate’s dried herb notes and the finish’s vibrant fruit flavors.
Sheep’s milk cheese from Bellwether Farms San Andreas, located in Sonoma. All three vintages complemented its delicate flavors, which are similar to Pecorino. The cheese smoothed out the tannins in the 2013 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon and added a tasty baked cracker flavor to the end.
The leaner mid-palates of the 2011 vintage and this cheese, together with their complementary textures, make for an attractive match. This cheese’s tartness also counteracts the acidity of the 2011 vintage, resulting in a harmonious combination. The 2009 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon’s tannins were further mellowed by the fat in the cheese, which also enhanced the wine’s acidic and buttery characteristics.
Cheese made with sheep’s milk, Bleating Heart Fat Bottom Girl (Sonoma) – The flavors in the three vintages were not enhanced or diminished by this mildly salted cheese with understated nutty and buttery undertones. The 2009 and 2011 vintages made the cheese taste even more mellow. These kinds of impartial pairings may even be preferable.
A neutral combination – one where the cheese and wine both hold their own even if they don’t raise either to memorable status – is perfectly fine and delightful because as a winery, we never want a cheese-paring that takes away from the tastes of the wine.
Keen’s Cheddar (England, cow’s milk cheese) – The 2009 Jordan Cabernet, the oldest vintage, was enhanced by the nutty flavor, earthiness, and mild crunch of this cheese. The wine’s tannins had a nice, somewhat bitter walnut note that was brought out by the cheese’s nuttiness.
The cheese enhanced the red berry notes of the 2011 cabernet, while the 2013 cabernet was the most intriguing of the bunch. The 2013 vintage’s earthiness, goût de terroir (taste of the soil), dustiness in the tannins, and rustic blackberry flavors were all enhanced by the cheese.
Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar (a cow’s milk cheese from Washington) – All three cabernets make for a lovely match. The leaner 2011 Jordan Cabernet’s red fruit and even citrus aromas were brought out by the cheese’s protein crystals (which form in some types of cheese as they age) and slightly creamy texture, which also widened the wine’s mid-palate.
On the taste, the cheese overpowered the fruit characteristics of the 2009 Jordan, but on the finish, it boosted the wine’s acidity and red fruit flavors. Additionally, this richer, creamier cheese mellowed the tannins in the 2013 Jordan while enhancing the flavor. Each cabernet’s protracted finish was infused with the nuanced tastes of the cheese.
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (cow’s milk cheese from Vermont) – Even though this cheese and young Jordan Cabernet vintages (2006 and 2008) were a favorite coupling four years ago, neither the wine nor the cheese’s characteristics were enhanced by any pairing with the 2009, 2011 or 2013 vintage during our tasting with other vintages. Once more, a neutral pairing, which is okay.
Reserve on Essex Street Comté (cow’s milk cheese; France) is regarded as a superb cheese match with brut Champagne because of its earthy, herbaceous, nutty, and fruity qualities. When paired with the 2009 Cabernet, this cheese added a beautiful hazelnut flavor and helped the wine’s tannins to become more supple. Although its flavor and texture did blend well with the younger cabernets, 2009 was the standout match.
Nicasio Loma Alta (cow’s milk cheese; Marin County) – A crisp white wine, such as Jordan Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, would pair wonderfully with this light, buttery, semi-soft cheese. Sadly, it didn’t go well with any cabernet vintage. The fruit was subdued, and the tannins were overemphasized.
Nicasio Reserve (Marin County, cow’s milk cheese) – Its robust taste swamped the more elegant-bodied older vintages, but it suited the full body of a youthful, masculine vintage like Jordan’s 2013 Cabernet.
Nicasio Locarno (cow’s milk cheese, Marin County) – Although it enhanced the mid-palate of the Jordan Cabernet 2011 but muffled the flavor in the 2013 vintage, this silky, creamy cheese. However, it was by far our top pick for the best cheese to pair with the new Jordan Cuvée; as a result, visitors can probably expect to see it premiere at our Spring at Jordan event in May.
Recommended Cheeses for a Variety of Cabernets:
- 2009 JORDAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON with KEEN’S CHEDDAR
- 2011 JORDAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON with BEECHER’S FLAGSHIP CHEDDAR
- 2011 JORDAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON with CYPRESS GROVE MIDNIGHT MOON
- 2013 JORDAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON with BELLWETHER FARMS SAN ANDREAS
4. Here’s The Bottom Line on Pairing Cabernet with Cheese
Young cabernet with mild tannins: select aged cheeses—great choices for cheddar and gouda, Pecorino-style sheep’s cheese, and goat cheese are listed above.
Choose semi-firm cow’s milk cheeses such as aged cheddars, aged goudas, sheep’s milk cheeses, and Comté to pair with older Cabernet Sauvignon with mild tannins.
Since Jordan does not produce higher-alcohol, bolder cabernets, powerful cheddar cheeses, and aged Gruyère, they were not included in the tasting of big, rich cabernets.
The finest cheeses to pair with various types of cabernet sauvignon tend to be aged cheddars since they have a complex flavor profile that can withstand the wine’s extended finish. If in doubt, go for aged cheddar instead of cabernet.
5. Selecting the Best Cheese Board for Your Wine Tasting
5.1. The beginner cheeseboard
The cheeses on the starter plate are simpler to find in stores and will appeal to a wider range of palates.
- Humboldt Fog: This Californian delicacy features a famous line of edible vegetable ash running through the middle and a rind similar to brie and paste similar to known chèvre logs.
- Champlain Valley Triple Cream: This cheese is fluffy and smells like freshly baked bread, and it has an opulent 70% butterfat content.
- Manchego: Try this Spanish sheep-milk snack in place of your regular Cheddar block.
- Point Reyes Blue: A mild, creamy, and salty beginning blue.
5.2. The intermediate cheeseboard
Consider using some more sophisticated curd concepts for the middle plate. These options might need to be requested from a cheesemonger, though you can also order them online.
- Coupole: A ripened goat cheese snowball with a distinctively patterned rind.
- Cabot Clothbound Cheddar: This cheddar is not the same as the one you are used to. As you chew, caramel flavors emerge as savory, crumbly, and sweet textures.
- Roncal: A meaty masterpiece made in Spain from raw sheep’s milk.
- Gorgonzola Dolce: This silky, scoopable cheese has a strong sour cream flavor.Beginning blue that is not stinging and salty.
5.3. The advanced cheeseboard
Advanced options for intrepid travelers prepared to explore the uncharted and search for their favorite cheeses.
- Valencay: This distinctively shaped cheese from the Loire Valley was initially created as a pyramid as a present for Napoleon during his military exploits in North Africa. He commanded that all tops be removed after he fails in Egypt. This goat cheese’s mineral and citrus overtones, which you won’t get in your typical log of chèvre, come from its slight aging.
- There is no getting around the fact that this cheese stinks, Meadow Creek Grayson. Thoughtfully taste for hints of meaty French onion soup.
- Ewephoria: This cheese tastes a lot like aged Gouda but has a weird aftertaste that’s best compared to a flinty Butterfinger bar.
- Saint Agur: The mild green veins mold results in a cheese that is creamy but peppery, similar to a more approachable Roquefort.
6. Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Cheese and Wine Experience
In the evening, a wine and cheese party is customary, and it can be a wonderful tradition to add to your list of leisurely pursuits. You can serve a choice of wines and cheeses that pair well with one another at such an event for guests to sip and savor, respectively. If you want to sample various wines and cheeses, hosting a wine and cheese party is undoubtedly a great idea.
Several things need to be done before the table is set, the chair cushions are primed, and the lights and candles are strung up. If you want to make the most of the occasion, planning for your wine and cheese pairing party is a requirement.
When you have the right information, planning an event like this is not too difficult. Keep in mind the following fundamental advice as you prepare for your wine experience:
- Choose a day and a time of year. Decide on wine and season it appropriately. For instance, red wine is a wonderful choice when it’s cold outside. Summertime pairings are great with white wine and crisp champagne. No matter what you pick, serve it on the day of your choosing.
- Pick a location. Whether you’re planning a small-scale gathering or a formal affair, pick a location that fits the bill. For a formal environment, a hotel or restaurant function space is ideal. When it comes to private social gatherings, your home will never let you down.
- Specify a smaller guest list. Due to the cost of wine and cheese, keep your guest list simple. Any number less than ten is excellent.
- Obtain and send invitations. Sending invitations is simpler after your guest list is full. Wine and cheese party invitations can be made by you or bought from a card shop.
- Set a spending limit. You must set a budget in advance since otherwise, the costs can exceed what your wallet can bear. It is a good idea to make a checklist that includes all of the expenditures for materials, amounts, location, etc.
Q: What is cabernet sauvignon best paired with?
Nearly all types of red meat, including prime rib, New York strip, and filet mignon, combine best with Cabernet Sauvignon. Try lamb or ahi tuna with a pepper crust as well. The wine is fantastic in sauces or reductions and is best appreciated with food.
Q: Does brie go with cabernet sauvignon?
Several red wines, such as Beaujolais, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, merlot, pinot noir, and zinfandel go well with Brie because of its versatility. Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc are examples of white wines.
Q: Which cheese pairs with red wine?
Strong, robust, and aged cheeses like cheddar or gouda pair well with red wines. Red wine has more tannins than white wine, but these cheeses can withstand them.
Q: What appetizers go well with Cabernet Sauvignon?
Great appetizers that go especially well with Cabernet Sauvignon are fruit salads, cheese curds, mushroom tarts, and pretzels.
Q: Does Cabernet Sauvignon go with pizza?
You’ll need a wine that can handle these intense meaty flavors, and Cabernet Sauvignon is a reliable choice. The meat’s fattiness will pair wonderfully with its increased tannins, and the wine’s rich fruit qualities will create an unmistakable flavor combination.
Q: Does blue cheese pair with cabernet sauvignon?
Additionally, bolder blue cheeses like Roquefort go well with it. You can miss some of the cheese’s more nuanced flavors if you mix Cabernet Sauvignon with a lighter blue.
Q: What wine goes with Gouda?
Pinot Noir pairs well with smoked Gouda. Cabernet Sauvignon is a traditional match for well-aged gouda.
Q: Does Brie cheese go with red wine?
You can pretty much serve any red wine with Brie Cheese, including heartier red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, or Shiraz. Brie Cheese’s proteins and fat soften the tannin in the wine, giving these wines an outstanding and smooth flavor.
Q: Does Cabernet Sauvignon go with pasta?
Red pasta meals based on tomatoes go well with Cabernet Sauvignon, a rich variety of red wine. These pasta dishes’ rich tomato taste will be evenly balanced by the Cabernet’s acidity.
Q: Does Cabernet Sauvignon go with Italian?
Rich red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon go particularly well with the majority of red sauces on pizza and pasta that are made with tomatoes. The wine is renowned for going well with rich red meats including sirloin, ribeye, and rump steaks.
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In 2014, Leo Colon began working with Big Cottonwood Winery. Over the years he has remained part of this prestigious winery’s team and is also a contributor to other notable wine publications. As an ardent advocate for knowledge, Leo continues his vinous education to this day.