What’s your favourite part of Christmas?
For us wine nuts at Laithwaites, we believe each moment in the lead up to the big day is worth savouring. From the first Christmas film you watch to the last-minute gift-wrapping marathon on Christmas Eve … and everything in between!
But one of the best moments (in our humble opinion) is the get-together with friends. No fanfare is necessary, nobody needs to cook a big meal, just open up a good bottle of wine and tuck into a cheeseboard.
And it’s not surprising to us that one of the questions we’re asked most throughout December is which wines to serve alongside cheeses.
Fortunately, we’re well connected, so our go-to wine guy Grant Hedley teamed up with cheese expert Sam Wilkin to share some suggestions.
Light, fresh and acidic cheeses
For this pairing you want to be thinking about a goat cheese or something similar. Something that’s light, incredibly fresh and with plenty of acidity.
We’d pair this cheese with a wine that matches all of the above descriptors, a Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice … we love Hunter’s Home Block Sauvignon Blanc.
Both are light and bright, and often deliver notes of lemon which make them a match made in heaven.
Bloomy rind cheeses
Camembert and brie are both bloomy rind cheeses, categorised by their white, downy rind. They’re soft and creamy with deep savoury flavours which pair brilliantly with a light, fresh red like a Beaujolais.
For this pairing we’d go for something like this Fleurie Les 3 Madones which has lots of fruit flavours and aromas to balance out the savoury aspects of the cheese.
Mountain cheeses, alpine cheeses, and really all firm, cow’s milk cheeses such as cheddar, blend sweet and savoury flavours with nuttiness. Because it’s they can be so complex, they need an equally interesting wine full of character to match.
For this pairing we’ve chosen La Voute, an oaked Chardonnay with similar tasting notes to the cheese. Chardonnay grown in a sunnier climate leans more toward tropical fruit flavours, and that’s where this match really works … think cheddar and pineapple on a stick! Alternatively, to add a bit of sparkle to your cheeseboard, why not try Roche Lacour Cremant de Limoux?
Wash rind cheeses
Salty, savoury, pungent and aromatic are all words you could use to describe brine washed cheeses. They’re usually incredibly creamy and sticky … as well as stinky!
They pair beautifully with a cheese which is intensely flavoured but fresh, with layers of perfumed fruit character. We’ve chosen Purple Owl Pinot Noir but you could also go with an orange wine such as The Future’s Bright.
Stilton, gorgonzola and Roquefort are among the most well-known blue cheeses, and they all have big, bold, salty flavours.
The best wine match for a blue cheese is undoubtedly a sweet wine, and for this we’ve gone with the king of all dessert wines … the gloriously sticky L’Epiphanie de Sauternes. Or, if dessert wines aren’t your thing, we’d recommend Pillastro Primitivo.
Win Christmas by taking part in our Festive Pours giveaway
We want you to get involved in this most wonderful time of the year and are giving you a chance to win every single wine in our Festive Pours countdown to Christmas.
This includes FIVE of our favourite sparkling wines, from the luxurious Laithwaites Champagne Blanc de Blanc Premier Cru, to the flirtatious, winking L’Occhiolino Sparkling Red from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna.
Then there’s the still wines: an iconic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the country’s first vineyard to make the style, a full, creamy Chardonnay you won’t believe isn’t Burgundy, a trendy Orange wine from France’s Languedoc region, an organic Frappato packaged in 100% recycled glass and a juicy, fruity Californian Pinot Noir perfect for pairing with roast Turkey.
Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a party … so we’re including a pack of our Grazing Sun wine in cans, perfect to taking to someone else’s house!
To be in with a chance of winning, make sure you’re following @laithwaites.wine on Instagram and follow the steps on our competition post.