Which is the best Sparkling Wine to go with Creamy Cheese?
21st May 2020
One of the most popular pairings for wine, almost any style of wine, will have to be cheese. The variety of flavours that both wines and cheese hold gives us a near infinite pairing combination to explore. There are dry, strong, creamy, fruity, spicy, sweet, herbal and much more in both wine and cheese tasting experiences – For wine and cheese experts, writing an article on wine & cheese is a chance to over indulge in something you love immensely!
I hold my hands up and say that I have been part of some incredible sparkling wine and cheese occasions, these range from those that took place at vineyards with winemakers to ones that were held at home with friends. From red sparkling wines to vintage Champagnes, from supermarket home brand cheeses to those freshly purchased at the farm, there are many pleasurable experiences to enjoy. So let’s indulge in the crowd-pleasing world of wine and cheese in this article and focus on creamy cheese.
There are varied reports and articles stating that there are around 7-10 main types of cheese that include:
- Flavour added
“Somewhere between 8 and 10 types of cheese exist which can then be sub-categorised into many thousands of varieties.” Source: Quora.com
Cheese can be also be categorised in regards to factors such as where the milk comes from (ie Cow, Sheep, Goat), ageing process, type of acid, additional ingredients, location and more. There is of course the small matter of the characters added by the cheesemaker!
Likewise, sparkling wines take on many factors such as grapes, production process, ageing, climate and land to name a few plus likewise, the small matter of what the wine maker adds to the magic in each bottle!
It is very true that not all wines pair with all cheeses, there will be clashes as well as those which are match made in heaven pairings. As a rule, I like to go by the following:
- Soft creamy white / goats cheese – Quality Prosecco (DOCG / Asolo)
- Hard dry cheese – Champagne / TrentoDoc / Franciacorta.
- Soft creamy Blue cheese – Crémant Brut / Cava extra Brut.
- Strong Blue / Stilton – Red sparkling wine.
We wanted to prove once again that indeed Prosecco is the best sparkling wine to pair with creamy cheese by putting it up against some award winning traditional method examples. A selection of six creamy cheese were chosen, all purchased from the local supermarket (Tesco) and varying in quality and style (all using cow’s milk).
“The creamy and sometimes salty savoury flavours from cheese, especially cows, blends perfectly with the ripe yellow apple and pear flavours from Prosecco (Glera grape). The mixture between creamy, saltiness and ripe golden fruits brings out a unique honey to starring role in the palate, they blend so well together and it is a very more’ish pairing.” Christopher Walkey
The Creamy Cheese line-up:
- Castello Brie
- Le Rustique
- Tesco own brand Camembert
The Sparkling Wine line-up:
- Villa Sandi – Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Dry Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza (Italy)
- Radgonske Gorice – Zlata Radgonska Penina Brut Nature 2012 (Slovenia)
- Pere Ventura – Tresor Reserva Brut 2016 (Spain)
- Champagne Frerejean Frères – Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru VV26 (France)
Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Dry Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza – Tasting notes: “Soft and elegant white floral, chalky red apples and zesty pears on the nose. A fine sweetness allowing clean and crisp white fruits, sweet citrus, pear and yellow floral to shine in the palate. As always with Villa Sandi, a top quality #Prosecco.”
- Chaource: “A fine harmony between the cheese and wine, creamy yellow fruits turn into a mouthwatering saltiness.“
- Castello Brie: “The wine causes the flavours of the cheese to turn into welcoming rich honey flavours. A most pleasing combination.“
- Le Rustique: “The wine attempts to show its fruity character and for a brief instance it does though is quickly overshadowed by the stronger savoury cheese flavours.“
- Tesco own brand Camembert: “The wine has no real competition here. The Camembert flavours fade quickly to allow the fruity flavours from the Prosecco to shine.“
- Président: “Another honey burst which fades into silky, creamy cheese flavours.“
- St-Félicien: “A rich honey burst with a fizzy, creamy sea breeze which relaxes into yellow fruits and milky cheese.“
Radgonske Gorice Zlata Radgonska Penina Brut Nature 2012 – Tasting notes: “Sweet yellow fruits on the nose mostly peach and honeydew melon. Flavours are crisp and citrus driven, touch dry in length though still giving a subtle yellow fruit background to make for a pleasant tasting experience.”
- Chaource: “Creamy, salty flavours are shown. Light and refreshing taste sensation in the palate.“
- Castello Brie: “A touch of creamy honey flavours relaxes into salty milky cheese. An elegant and calming pairing.“
- Le Rustique: “Golden / green fruits initially then quickly relaxes into creamy character ‘Le Rustique’ flavours.“
- Tesco own brand Camembert: “Wine dominates initially with mostly fizzy dry green fruits then leads to empty and bland cheese flavours.“
- Président: “Dry, zesty green fruits followed by dry honey which tones down into mild creamy cheese flavours.“
- St-Félicien: “Very dry and zesty flavours followed by calming, yet dry again, creamy cheese flavours. Pairing allows you to enjoy both in full.“
Pere Ventura Tresor Reserva Brut 2016 – Tasting notes: “Petroleum, dry orchard fruits, creamy green fruits on the nose. Fresh, green fruity tasting experience. Lime zest and more in flavours.”
- Chaource: “A fine heavenly balance of such moreish flavours of rip yellow and green fruits with a creamy, savoury mushroom. These work in harmony to the highlight the best of each.“
- Castello Brie: “A smooth honey and green fruit journey with a decent length with a dry savoury finish.“
- Le Rustique: “A touch clashing initially then showing zesty yellow fruits in the length with a creamy undertone.“
- Tesco own brand Camembert: “Dry fizz initially which fades into a tasteless overall experience.“
- Président: “Lively fizz in the palate leads to a creamy, honey flavour then on to the savoury cheese flavours. A fine balance, both complement each other and are on the same wavelength as such.“
- St-Félicien: “Zesty lime, green fruits initially then a sea breeze / nutty creamy cheese ending.“
Champagne Frerejean Frères Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru VV26 – Tasting notes: “Nutty, golden fruit aromas. Soft citrus, yellow stone fruits, buttered toast, honey and so much more. A Champagne that improves the longer it stays in your glass.”
- Chaource: “Fruity initially with ripe yellow fruits with a touch of zestiness then it is on to a creamy, savoury saltiness there after.“
- Castello Brie: “A dry hazelnut, honey saltiness with a quick savoury character appearance from the cheese. A delicate honey length.“
- Le Rustique: “Quite a neutralisation here. First noticeable flavours are a zesty, creamy and honey combination with a light saltiness in the length. If this was a football match it would be a draw!“
- Tesco own brand Camembert: “The only things added was an increased nutty flavours, The Champagne shines through and dare I say that maybe by adding the cheese it spoils the wine.“
- Président: “A burst of dry green fruits. Touch of tautness to the palate which then releases into mouthwatering soft, creamy cheese flavours.“
- St-Félicien: “A long neutralisation of flavours then shows dreamy yellow fruits and dry creamy cheese with soft saltiness.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.