Perfect marriage: Expert tips to pair cheese and wine

Olive Farm Wines owner and wine maker Anthony Yurisich. Picture: David Baylis.
Olive Farm Wines owner and wine maker Anthony Yurisich. Picture: David Baylis.

CHEESE and wine is the epitome of the perfect marriage.

They not only bring out the best in each other, their union seems to makes everyone around them happy.

However, when paired wrong, they can leave a rather bitter taste in your mouth.

Thankfully, the experts at Olive Farm Wines are on hand to nurture this romance and help novices like me enjoy their cheese and wine experience.

The oldest operating winery in the Swan Valley, Olive Farm Wines has four generations of winemaking under its belt and the onsite Cheese Barrel cafe is a must try.

Overlooking the beautiful grounds, The Cheese Barrel at Olive Farm Wines is home to a smorgasbord of cheeses from Australia and around the world.

Differing in texture, complexity and flavour, it can be a little overwhelming knowing which wines complement the cheeses.

The first step in cheese and wine pairing is to select your cheese and categorise it based on its characteristics:

  • Weight (is it heavy and rich or light and delicate?)
  • Flavour (is it earthy, fruity, salty, buttery or acidic?)
  • Texture (is it creamy, dry, crumbly or fudgy?) and
  • Length (does the flavour linger?).

Once you’ve chosen a cheese, you can then select the perfect wine to pair it with.

“A mild-style soft mould cheese like brie or camembert is best enjoyed with bubbles to break down the fat of the cream,’’ The Cheese Barrel venue and communications manager Mariane Bornelli said.

“While nothing is a no-no, as everyone has different palates, if you are having your brie with an older red for example, you’d want to remove the rind otherwise this will give the wine a rather bitter after-taste.”

The Cheese Barrel venue and communications manager Mariane Bornelli. Picture: David Baylis.

Mariane said a young cheddar was best paired with a lighter red like a merlot or cabernet sauvignon, while a vintage cheddar would go great with a bold sharp red like a shiraz.

“Blue cheese, on the other hand, can be either fruity or salty/savoury,’’ she said.

“Fruity blue cheese goes best with a fortified wine or port, while savoury is great with a liquor.”

While understanding a cheeseboard might be beneficial and take your cheese and wine experience to the next level, Mariane said the ultimate goal at the end of the day was to enjoy it.

“You could get quite technical with the process or you could just respect the produce, enjoy it and savour it because it’s delicious,’’ she said.