In honor of National Wine and Cheese Day (or should we say Cheese and Wine Day?!) Saxelby Cheesemongers partnered with Hertelendy Vineyards in Napa, California to put together a cheese and wine tasting video showcasing four pairings of our cheeses and wines from Hertelendy’s 2015 vintage. Listen in as Anne Saxelby and Ralph Hertelendy discuss the ins and outs of creating a great pairing, Ralph’s personal mission to convert Merlot-haters into lovers, as well as some of the finer points of making wine and cheese!
Pairing cheese and wine is more about personal taste rather than hard science. The rule is that there are no ‘real’ rules… chances are if you love the wine and love the cheese, you’ll love them even more together. However, there are definitely some tried and true pairings that work beautifully. So, if you’re at a loss for where to begin, start with these and then branch out and experiment with your own wine and cheese combinations! There are a million cheese and wine pairing websites and articles out there, but we’ve found that Cards of Wine offers a succinct and unintimidating list of classic cheese and wine pairings that can put you on the right track!
Here are four of our favorite pairings of Saxelby Cheese and Hertelendy wine. If you can’t find these exact cheeses and wines, ask your local cheese or wine shop for something similar and they’ll guide you in the right direction! For more wine and cheese pairing advice, pre-order Anne Saxelby’s book The New Rules of Cheese, available from Ten Speed Press in October of 2020.
Chardonnay and Triple Cream Cheese like Kunik
A buttery triple cream cheese like Kunik is an ideal match for a structured, buttery yet complex Chardonnay. Kunik is made from a blend of two milks – the subtle musk of the goat milk is rounded out by the sweet butterfat of the cow cream. Pair with a bright, aromatic, and lightly oaked Chardonnay with good acidity.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Firm Nutty Cheese like Calderwood
To be honest, Calderwood will pair with any number of white and red wines, but it happens to be exceptional with Cabernet Sauvignon. Calderwood’s nutty, toasted, and tropical fruit flavors favor a deep, rich Cabernet with notes of roasted coffee, black cherry, sage, and forest floor.
Merlot and Firm Sheep’s Milk Cheese like Wischago
Wischago is young, tart, and fruity, but the sheep’s milk also lends a woolly, lanolin quality to the cheese. To meet that blend of fruit and barnyard, we opted to pair with a red blend dominated by Merlot, with four other red varietals. The juicy character, warm spice, and slight smokey qualities of this red were a perfect match.
Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and Pungent Washed Rind Cheese like Hooligan
Hooligan brings the funk – it is rich, meaty, and salty with fruity and vegetal underpinnings. Paired with a bold, tannic red dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Merlot with notes of red cherry, black fruit, and dark roasted coffee it’s a win-win!