What type of wine goes with blue cheese?
There are two wine pairings for blue cheese that are so famous that you may not think beyond them: port and stilton and roquefort and Sauternes. But does that mean that you have to drink sweet wine with blue cheese?
It’s true that wines with a touch of sweetness work well. The veining in blue cheeses has a touch of bitterness that can be deliciously offset by a dessert or fortified wine but there are other occasions on which you eat blue cheese in a savoury dish or with other ingredients when a drier white or a red wine would work better.
For example a blue cheese and fresh fig salad is delicious with a smooth Italian white wine like a Gavi di Gavi, a wine which would also work with pasta or gnocchi with a blue cheese sauce where the cheese is mellowed by the addition of milk or cream. My colleague Victoria Moore suggests Jurancon Sec with roquefort, pear and endive salad in her excellent Wine Dine Dictionary which sounds delicious too.
If you serve a burger or steak with blue cheese you’re going to want a hearty red like a cabernet sauvignon or malbec
While medium-bodied red wines can be tricky with more pungent blue cheeses such as Roquefort or Cabrales they can handle more mellow blue cheeses such as Bleu d’Auvergne or Barkham Blue or a blue cheese-topped pizza. Try a southern Italian red like a negroamaro or nero d’avola or a zinfandel.
And don’t forget that other fortified wines, not just port, go well with blues - try a medium dry amontillado or oloroso sherry or a sweet madeira.
The best wines for Stilton
Traditionally paired with vintage port but tawny port is delicious too as is Hungarian Tokaji
The best wines for Roquefort
Sauternes is the classic pairing but there are other sweet wines from within or just outside the Bordeaux region which would work equally well - Monbazillac for example or a late harvest sauvignon or semillon from elsewhere.
The best wines for Gorgonzola
It depends if it’s mild (dolce) or stronger (piccante). With a creamy Gorgonzola you could even drink a prosecco or other sparkling wine - though I’ve also successfully paired it with orange wine. With a stronger Gorgonzola try a Vin Santo.
With milder blue cheeses like Cambozola or Cornish Blue
With these cheeses where the blue character is less apparent try a rosé or a light fruity red like a pinot noir.
4 other good drinks to pair with blue cheese
Stouts and porters
Barley wine (which is a strong beer, not a wine)
Sloe or damson gin
Whisky - especially Islay whisky with Roquefort and other salty blues
Top photo ©barmalini @fotolia.com
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