Red wines and cheese – a primer

Red wines and cheese – a primer

Red wines are not the easiest to pair with cheese. It’s worth thinking about the weight of both the wine and the cheese. Acidity in wine is also important; it cleanses the mouth, balancing the creaminess of the cheese. Wines lower in tannins can present an easier match for many cheeses.
We’ve put together a short cheat sheet to guide you through things.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Profile - dry, full body, medium to high tannins, medium acidity
Flavour notes – cherry/blackcurrant, warm spices
Works well with harder/more intense cheese

  • Clothbound Cheddar
  • Aged Gouda
  • Hard aged cows milk cheeses

Pinot Noir

Profile – dry, medium body, low tannin, medium to high acidity
Flavour notes - cherry, mushroom, spices (as opposed to spicy, think clove particularly)
Pinot noir’s soft, silky mouthfeel makes it a great choice for cheese pairing.

  • Onetik Ossau Iraty
  • Époisses de Bourgogne
  • Peaks Artisan Mountaineer
  • Semi-hard ewes milk
  • Washed rinds


Profile – dry, medium body/tannins/acidity
Flavour notes -dark fruits (blueberry, plum) sometimes green peppercorn/herbal/tobacco
Just as you might pair shiraz with grilled meats, savoury cheeses particularly rich cows milk cheese work well here.

  • Peaks Artisan Mountaineer
  • Cantal AOC
  • Aged Gruyère/Comté


    Profile – dry, medium to full body, higher tannins & acidity
    Flavour notes - cherry, anise, leather/earth
    Nebbiolo’s brightness and higher tannins makes it a natural partner to more intense, complex cheeses.

    • Occelli Testun al Barolo
    • Tuscan Pecorino
    • GCravero Parmigiano Reggiano
    • Aged hard Italian cheeses



    Profile – dry, medium to high body/tannins/acidity
    Flavour notes - cherry, dried fig, cedar, tobacco
    Versatile with ewe, goat and cow cheeses, semi-hard and hard cheeses

    • Farmhouse Manchego
    • Hard ewes milk cheese
    • Semi hard goats milk cheese


    Sparkling Shiraz

    Profile – off-dry, medium body/tannins/acidity
    Flavour notes - dark berries, black pepper, tobacco
    Has a natural affinity full-flavoured cheeses, from both cow and sheep milk

    • GCravero Parmigiano Reggiano
    • Tuscan Pecorino
    • Clothbound Cheddar

     By Olivia Sutton & Amanda Kennedy

    Download printable version here