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Cheese Bar: Wine and Cheese Pairings

Written by Justin Hammack

Wine and Cheese Pairing

Join us as we adventure into the mysterious world of wine and cheese pairings with Steve Jones, professional cheese monger and owner of Cheese Bar, Portland OR.

How to Pair Wine and Cheese Guide

If You Know the Wine

Step 1 Regional Match: When pairing wine and cheese you can’t go wrong with regional matches. French cheese for French wine, American cheese for American wine and so on. This is your starting point and should be relatively self explanatory, but is an essential first step.

Step 2 Contrast Match: Harder cheese with lighter wines and softer cheese with bolder wines. Then consider who is going to be the star of the pairing? If you have a bold in-your-face wine, then look for an understated cheese, or vice versa. The idea is to compliment the more prominent pairing. This is a great pairing. For a perfect pairing you’ll need to know the flavor profile of the wine, then match it with the flavor profile of the cheese. This will take some trial and error.. Tough life, eh?

Cheater Cheeses for Any Wine

Compte Extra: A semi-firm French cheese made from cow’s milk. This is the most common of the cheater cheeses and possibly the safest all-around bet. It’s relatively hard, yet flexible, appealing to a wide range of cheese lovers with a strong and slightly sweet flavor. It will comfortably pair with just about any wine, however it will show best with lighter reds and creamy whites.

Abbaye de Belloc: A semi-firm French cheese made from sheep’s milk. Made by Benedictine Monks at the abbey of Notre-Dame de Belloc (how cool is that?), it’s a fine, dense, fatty cheese with caramelized complex flavors. A perfect pairing cheese for lighter wines. It’ll work with lighter/medium-bodied reds but is most at home within the full spectrum of whites. An ideal choice if you suspect beer drinkers and champagne lovers will be present.

Colombier: A creamy French farmhouse cheese made from goat’s milk. Yup, you’re going to get a little bit of barn-house with this unique cheese, so I’d look towards an old world pairing. If you suspect your cheese needs to stand up to robust powerful wines, hearty meals and rich ingredients, this is your cheater cheese.


Written byJustin Hammack

When I'm not drinking wine, I'm also.. a rails developer, vegetarian foodie, coffee addict, casual gamer, lover of cult movies, driver of insane turbo-2.0L ... in Seattle.

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