The Cheese Decoder & Wine Recommendations

CATEGORY TYPE EXAMPLES SERVING SUGGESTION
SOFT Fresh cheeses and fresh curd un-ripened. Delicate, soft spongy cheese with high water content, many with a short shelf life Petit-Suisse, flavoured cheese, cream cheese, Mascarpone, Fromage Blanc, cottage cheese, Ricotta. With mixed nuts or with fruits, a quince paste or as a spread/dip. Offer light fruity reds or aromatic white wines (Beaujolais, Verdelho, white Burgundy or Chardonnay).
  Soft cheeses with a white or downy rind, surface ripened. Interior is creamy. Neufchatel, St. Marcellin and Chaource. Brie and Camembert starts off milky but can develop a desirable pungency. With slices of pear or baguette. Offer medium bodied reds and both light and full bodied white wines (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Entre deux Mers, Albarino, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Torrontes or Gewurztraminer).
  Soft stretched curd or shaped cheeses are cooked and kneaded although some are fresh with a shelf life Mozzarella, Fior di Latte, Provolone. They are best incorporated in salads, as pasta fillers and pizza toppings.
SOFT BUT STRONG TASTING Soft cheeses with a rind that is often washed in salt water during ripening Feta, Caboc (Scottish), Maroilles, Livarot, Pont l’Eveque, Munster, Epoisses, Raclette. Very strong flavours. Vieux Puant for example is aptly named; it means old stinker in French Such cheeses demand full bodied red wine and complex white wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux, Cotes du Rhone, Nero d’Avola, Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne, Chardonnay).
HARD Semi Hard to Hard Cantal, Morbier, Tomme, Reblochon, Mimolette, St. Nectaire, etc. Pair with great or grand wines - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Mature Bordeaux and mature Rhone; Chianti, Tempranillo, Aged Vouvrays and Chenin Blancs work too.
  Hard with and without holes. The hardness comes from the pressing of the cheese, removing water. Some are cooked (Gruyere, Emmental, Beaufort) Edam, Emmental, Gouda, Gruyere, Swiss. Cheddar without holes (Vintage, Leicester, Cheshire, Colby). Compte, Beaufort, St. Nectaire. Cheese can be enjoyed on its own without bread etc. Full bodied red and white wines - Cabernet Franc, St. Nicolas de Bourgueile Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Gamay, Merlot are delicious with hard cheeses.
  Firm and very hard/flaky/grating cheese Pecorino (ewe’s milk), parmesan Full bodied whites, reds and Champagnes work well.
STRONG FLAVOURED CHEESES Goat milk cheeses can be soft or hard Chevre (often logs or unique shapes, covered in black ash/vine leaves). Goat cheeses are often creamy, delicate and slightly acidic. Often then can be green, tangy and sharp Aromatic white wines - Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner or Pouilly-Fume. And especially Champagne.
  Blue veined cheeses Roquefort, Bleu d'Auvergne are strong in flavour and salty. Others are stilton, gorgonzola (creamy), Bleu de Bresse, Fourmes, Cheshire and Danablu (Danish) Sweet whites, dry reds, heavy alcoholic wines. Sauternes, Barsac, Monbazillac, Banyuls, Vin Jaune, Muscat de Frontignan, Red Burgundy.