It’s America’s most ordered and beloved red wine. Cabernet is a great compliment to a savory dinner, but it also plays nicely with a well-appointed cheese plate, too. Forget the feta though, because when it comes to Cabernet, it’s good to be gouda.
Gouda cheese, a dense, yellow cheese originated in The Netherlands, is perhaps our favorite pairing for the rich, early flavors of a solid Cabernet. As a general rule of thumb, an aged gouda is better than a non-aged option. The full, rich body of the tannins in Cabernet compliment the nutty flavors of Gouda perfectly.
If Gouda is a bit too worldly or hard for your palate, fear not! A good cheddar is another incredible option for Cabernet Sauvignon lovers. And as is the case so often with cheddar, the sharper the better!
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to toy around with new combinations, you’re likely to be the most successful by first educating yourselves on the types of cheeses out there. As a general rule, cheeses can be broken into four sub-classes. They include:
Bloomy- Think rich, creamy, and indulgent! These cheeses are somewhere between soft and hard, but do have a soft rind. Brie is a perfect example. These cheeses pair well with sparkling or dry whites.
Blue- Easily identified by sight, these cheeses often have a blue tinge to them and showcase a salty, powerful flavor. Gorgonzola is a fine example. Pair these cheeses with a nice port or Riesling.
Fresh- Cheeses in this category are often quite soft, and can be used as a spread. They’re rarely aged but can range in flavor from mild to wild. Think feta or mozzarella and a nice, smooth white wine.
Hard- These are stiff cheeses, often with a nice salty flavor. When in doubt, look for something with “aged” or “sharp” in the title. Hard cheeses are the category where you’ll find your preferred matches for Cabernet and other acidic reds. Other popular examples of hard cheeses (aside from cheddar and gouda) include parmesan, fontina, gruyere, and pecorino.
To experience the pairings properly, experts suggest making sure that everything is served at the proper temperature; 60 degrees for red wine and cheeses that have been out of the refrigerator for between 30-60 minutes. Start by placing the cheese in your mouth and experiencing those flavors before adding wine. Allow the combination of flavors to mingle in the mouth before swallowing for the full effect.
Of course, when push comes to shove, we’re not big fans of playing by the rules around here. If you’re not a Gouda fan, don’t put it on your cheeseboard. At the end of the day the best cheese to enjoy with your Cabernet is simply the one you like the best.
Photo credit: http://www.yummymummykitchen.com/2013/12/how-to-make-beautiful-spanish-cheese.html?m=1