Top pairings | The best wine pairings for cheddar cheese

Top pairings

The best wine pairings for cheddar cheese

As with most cheeses the ideal wine pairing for cheddar depends how mature it is. A mild to medium block cheddar is going to be a lot easier to match (and in most cheeselovers’ eyes a lot less interesting) than an aged cloth-bound cheddar of 18 months or more.

For the purposes of this post though I’m assuming your cheddar is somewhere in between: mature, with a bit of bite but not too sharp.

And although wine is a great pairing there are other drinks which go just as well with cheddar, notably beer and cider - just think of the classic ploughman's lunch!

Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
We automatically think of red wine with cheese but it can struggle particularly with a sharp, well-matured cheddar. I’ve had most success with intensely fruity Chilean Cabernet Sauvignons but similarly fruity Cabernets from elsewhere (South Australia, for instance) can work well too. Watch the tannins though. Often a bottle with a two or three years bottle age will work better than a young one.

Late Bottled Vintage or vintage port
A classic pairing for cheese and cheddar is no exception

A strong ale
The basis of the popular ploughman's but I’d personally go for a brew of over 5% - a strong ale in other words. Adnams Broadside is a good example. Also the best match for a cheddar-based Welsh rarebit!

A medium-dry strong cider . . .
Almost any combination of apple and cheddar is a winner but if your cheddar is medium to full-flavoured go for a medium-dry strongish cider . . .

. . . or apple flavoured liqueur
Especially with stronger cheddars. The Somerset Distillery's Kingston Black or Somerset Pomona work particularly well.

An oaky chardonnay
Now this might surprise you but a barrel-fermented chardonnay is a surprisingly good pairing with a strong cheddar, bringing out the mellowness in the cheese and the fruitiness of the wine.

Note: serving chutney with your cheddar may make your match less successful. In general I find beer or cider work best.

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Comments: 4 (Add)

jboc on February 28 2020 at 16:56

I am having a wine and cheese tasting and a friend who does not drink wine is bringing a soft pot cheese, any suggestions as to what I can pair with it?

Fiona Beckett on January 8 2020 at 06:46

I absolutely don’t see why not, David! I’m thinking a South African old vine Chenin Blanc or maybe one of those glorious rich Cape White blends

David Natt on January 7 2020 at 19:37

I've never actually tried it, but I can envisage that chenin blanc ought to work well on the cheddar front, both in dry and sweeter formats.
I've also often enjoyed bual or malmsey madeira with the likes of Montgomery.

Ash Lovercraft on June 1 2016 at 06:53

Nice! I'm a big cheddar fan so this was informative. The chardonnay is a great addition to my cheese:)

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