The Journal

All / NEWS

Cheese & wine. It’s science.


6 min read

Our favourite cheese & wine pairings

Cheese and wine have been a popular combination for generations, but a recent study published in the Journal of Food Science suggests the experience might be about more than custom. Scientists asked a cohort of 31 people to rate their perception of wine before and after eating a piece of cheese.

The results clearly showed that they felt the wine tasted better after eating cheese – suggesting the flavours of cheese enhance the different qualities of the wine.
And perhaps it’s not surprising that they complement each other, because the process of making cheese shares many similarities with that of wine. The terroir, production method and aging process all play a big part in influencing how these products taste. And perhaps because the environment is so key for both cheese and wine, countries and/or regions take great pride in their local produce in both categories.

There are nearly two thousand types of cheese worldwide. We haven’t tried them all (yet), but we are big fans of cheese at eto – and especially alongside a glass of wine. So we have selected a few of our favourite cheeses, and suggested a good wine to pair with each of them. We’d love you to try these and let us know what you think.

Goat’s cheese 

Eto recommends:
Banon or Pouligny-Saint-Pierre goat’s cheese with Edalise Côtes de Provence rosé or Chateau Léoube Cotes de Provence Rosé de Léoube
Goats were one of the first animals to be domesticated – about 9,000 years ago – and the first cheeses were made from their milk. In some communities around the world, goats are still the primary source of milk and cheese. Young goat’s cheese is earthy, tangy, and spreadable. As goat’s cheese matures, it gets firmer and crumbly, with creamy flavours and an edible rind.
France is the largest producer of pure goat’s cheese in the world. Banon cheese is a delicate goat’s cheese from Provence that dates back to the Gallo-Roman era. It is washed in apple brandy and wrapped in chestnut leaves and, as it ages, the chestnut flavour intensifies. Pouligny-Saint-Pierre – nicknamed the Eiffel Tower due to its unique pyramid shape – mixes an initial sour taste with salty and sweet overtones. It is made from unpasteurised milk and can have speckles of grey-blue mould.

Goat’s cheese wine pairings
Edalise is produced in the Provence region – the same region as Banon cheese. This rosé is pale pink and refreshing with delicate flavours of strawberry, and peach that won’t overpower the delicate flavours of goat cheese.


Eto recommends:
Mature gouda with Rioja Crianza and Jersey Hoeve with Winzer Krems Gruner Veltliner
Gouda is a creamy cheese made from cow’s milk that originated in the Netherlands in the twelfth century. It is named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands, which had the sole trading rights for cheese in the Middle Ages – and the name refers to the general cheesemaking style rather than a specific cheese. Gouda is categorised by age. Young gouda is mild with a subtle nutty taste, while older varieties have a fruity tang and sweet finish. And if you like your gouda mature, you’ll love its cousin Jersey Hoeve – which has the same rich flavours plus salted butter for added decadence.

Gouda wine pairings
Young gouda pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc as the crisp acidity and citrusy notes complement the mild, slightly sweet, buttery flavours or try a young Beaujolais if you prefer red. Aged gouda calls for a bolder pairing. A nutty, caramelised gouda shines with a spicy Rioja Crianza red or even a tawny port if you’re eating it for dessert. Jersey Hoeve goes well with an Austrian Grüner Veltliner – its zesty grapefruit, lemon, and peppery notes balances the cheese's savoury richness.


Eto recommends:
Brie with Frei Bros Sonoma Chardonnay or widely available  Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages
Brie is one of the best-known soft cheeses in the world. It is named after the French region where it originated, but like gouda, it is a style of cheese rather than a protected brand. It has a rich buttery interior encased in an edible rind and a velvety texture that melts on the tongue. When young, it is mild and creamy, and it gets more intense as it ages.

Brie wine pairings
Brie's creaminess calls for a crisp, fruity white wine to cut through the richness, and the bright acidity of a full-bodied Chardonnay is perfect for this. For a more adventurous match, try a light-bodied Beaujolais – its fruity notes will complement the earthy undertones of a well-aged Brie and bring out the tanginess.


Eto recommends:
Young Asiago with Pieropan Soave Classico 
Asiago is a popular Italian cheese originating from a town of the same name close to the Venetian Alps. Made from cow’s milk, it has a firm texture and a bold, savoury flavour that intensifies with age. Young Asiago is perfect for paninis, or you can combine it with parmesan cheese to make pizza. Aged Asiago develops a crumbly texture and a nutty, slightly sharp taste – and is delicious grated into soups, salads or over pasta.

Asiago wine pairings
Young Asiago pairs beautifully with a crisp very slightly bitter Soave.  Aged Asiago's goes well with a refreshing medium bodied red wine such as a Chianti or a Tempranillo – the refreshing, fruit-forward notes will complement aged Asiago's nuttiness and saltiness.


Eto recommends:
Comté with Lustau Dry Amontillado sherry
Comté is the most produced cheese in France. It is only made in one region – the Franche-Comté region in the Jura mountains close to the Swiss border – and is produced by 160 village-based ‘fruitieres’ using traditional methods. The terroir is extremely important; there is even a terroir jury that regularly tastes the cheese and reflects on the environmental factors that affect its taste. Formed into large discs, Comté is a semi-soft cheese with a complex, fruity aroma and a nutty, slightly sweet taste. Its texture ranges from smooth and creamy when young, to firmer and more crystalline as it ages.

Comté Wine Pairings
We recommend pairing Comté with a dry(ish) Sherry like an Amontillado or a Palo Cortado.Their nutty and caramelised flavours harmonise perfectly with the cheese's aged and nutty character and the high fat content in Comté stands up well to the intensely concentrated flavours.
If you are feeling adventurous try the local Jura region sherry style wine known as a “Vin Jaune”  from Arbois.

eto’s special picks  
There are a few lesser-known cheeses that we can’t get enough of at eto (be warned). We wanted to share these hidden gems with you, along with our favourite pairings.

Gubbeen is a semi-soft Irish cheese from County Cork that is handcrafted by the Ferguson family using milk from clover-grazing Friesians. With a creamy texture and edible rind, Gubbeen is a taste-fest of buttermilk, toasted nuts, and earthy mushroom notes.

Baron Bigod from Suffolk, UK is one of only a handful of cheeses in the world to be made by the farmer on the farm. It is a brie-style cheese, hand-made early in the morning, with fresh milk straight from its free-ranging Montbeliarde cows. It too develops earthy, mushroomy notes with age and has a creamy texture that becomes tangier as it ages.

Eto recommends:
The creamy softness of a lightly oaked Chardonnay will mirror Gubbeen’s or Baron Bigod’s smooth texture and richness.

Tête De Moine is a firm Swiss cheese that looks like an edible sculpture with rosette-like frills carved from its dense paste by a special tool known as a Girolle. It’s a showstopper on the dinner table. Made from sweet Alpine milk, it's been traditionally produced in the Jura mountains for eight centuries. Slice into it and enjoy the amazing aromas of toasted nuts, hay, and sautéed mushrooms.

Eto recommends:
Swiss wines like Petite Arvine or Valais Pinot Noir pair beautifully as their vibrant acidity complements Tête de Moine's savoury flavours.

Tunworth is a British Camembert made in Hampshire from cows grazing on local rural pasture. Made by hand, it has a gooey interior with nutty, truffle & umami flavours. And you don’t need to take our word for it – Tunworth has recently won a gold medal at the British Cheese Awards.

Eto recommends:
Acidic whites like Gewürztraminer are great for refreshing the palate between bites.