Top pairings | The best wine matches for Manchego, Berkswell and other hard sheep cheeses

Top pairings

The best wine matches for Manchego, Berkswell and other hard sheep cheeses

Hard sheep cheeses are the winelover’s friend.

Nutty, tangy and savoury, they show off a good red like no other cheese which makes them a great choice if you’ve picked a serious wine with your main course.

You can also pair them with sweet wines, and with sherry and other fortified wines. Here are the pairings I think work best:

Mature Spanish reds especially Rioja and Valdepeñas (the latter comes from the same region as Manchego, La Mancha). Other oak-aged tempranillos too.

Mature Bordeaux

Reds from the south-west of France - an area which specialises in sheep’s cheese - often served with a cherry compote. Madiran, for example. Sweet wines from the same region such as Jurançon and Pacherenc-du-Vic-Bilh also work well

Mature Chianti - especially with aged pecorinos

Sherry, especially dry amontillado, palo cortado and dry oloroso. Aged tawny ports are also good - see this post on Zamorano and 30 y.o. tawny

Aged oaked white rioja - its nuttiness compliments sheep cheese perfectly as you can see here

Orange wines. Maybe not your cup of tea but their quince-like flavours are brilliant with sheep cheese (think membrillo)

Younger, fresher-tasting hard sheep cheeses are good with a crisp dry white such as albarino or vermentino

Image © nito -

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Comments: 6 (Add)

Wild Bill on November 25 2020 at 05:41

Just to say, when I was in Spain in the '60's I discovered fresh bread, red wine and cheese. Paradise is good.
I have recently discovered that Manchego cheeses are sometimes to be had locally, in the US. My personal
preference leans to Cabernets but put them with a good, fresh bread and the Manchego and any red would

Stephen Fletcher on March 31 2020 at 16:25

Hi Fiona
Have just read your Best Wine Matches for hard sheep cheeses. Firstly a huge thank you; I'm the maker of Berkswell! Secondly this is a really useful reference as we are often asked for recommended accompaniments to Berkswell. Many thanks once again, Stephen Instagram and Twitter @berkswellcheese Facebook Berkswell Cheese

Lucas White on July 19 2018 at 08:00

Thank you for sharing this blog! I absolutely loved it, personally I am not a cheese enthusiast but after reading your blog I think I am gonna try some of it with my all time favourite sweet red wine.

Rick on September 17 2014 at 16:08

Thank you so much.

Fiona Beckett on September 17 2014 at 09:00

Hi Rick. Have just re-posted the one in the archives. Hope that's useful

Rick on September 17 2014 at 04:22

Fiona, Thanks for the informative review. I was wondering if you can do a goat cheese review and pairings with wine. It would be very helpful. Thanks again.

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