Someone, somewhere, a long time ago, thought of a delicious idea – the pairing of wine and cheese. For thousands of years this pairing has been satisfying the taste buds and filling the appetites of humankind.
There are plenty of suggestions for pairing wine and cheese. Some suggest pairing the wine and cheese from the same region with each other such as Chianti paired with parmesian. Other suggestions include pairing tannic wines with harder cheeses, pairing creamy cheeses with more acidic wines, and salty cheeses with a sweet wine. After much delicious research, Napa Wine Tours created this simple guide for our readers featuring some of our favorite wines from Napa Valley.
Napa Valley Red Wine and Cheese Pairings
Napa Valley Cabernet Franc
A Napa Valley Cabernet Franc will pair wonderfully with Blue cheese, Brie, and Cheddar cheese. We suggest trying a distinctive Cabernet Franc from Inglenook, or one of Jarvis Winery’s most highly demanded wines 2005 Jarvis Cabernet Franc, or the limited release 2007 Rutherford Hill Cabernet Franc.
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
This varietal also pairs nicely with blue and cheddar cheeses, and with parmesian. Try any elegant Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon, exceptional Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, or award-winning Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon.
Napa Valley Syrah
Cheddar, parmesian, and gouda – either one of these will pair with Syrah. If you’re not already familiar with Keever Vineyards, a family-owned and operated winery, make sure to make an appointment to taste their perfectly balanced Syrah (and more!) and take a tour of their winery and wine caves.
Napa Valley Malbec
Up to this point, we’ve tried to suggest cheeses easily found. However, when it comes to this next cheese, it’s important to make sure to purchase an artisanal, high quality cheese. Manchego is the cheese to pair with your impeccable, seductive, and complex Malbec from William Hill Estate Winery.
Napa Valley White Wine and Cheese Pairings
Napa Valley Chardonnay
Some of the best cheeses to pair with red wines also pair well with Chardonnay. And, some of the best Napa Valley whites are crafted by Napa wineries known for their stellar reds. Brie, parmesian, and gouda pair perfectly with a deliciously complex Chardonnay from Freemark Abbey, or a full-bodied William Hill Estate Winery Chardonnay, or a delightful Jarvis Winery estate Chardonnay.
Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Again we find cheeses that pair nicely with some red wines on this list. Brie, cheddar, parmesian, feta, and asiago are some ideas for this pairing. Once more, we continue to discover that the skill of Napa Valley winemakers allows their talents to create a Sauvignon Blanc worthy of the same recognition received by their infamous red varietals. Try a sophisticated Cornerstone Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, or a crisp and refreshing Keever Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, or a bright Rutherford Hill Sauvignon Blanc.
Napa Valley Sparkling Wine and Cheese Pairings
Brie and cheddar will both pair with a classic Domaine Chandon sparkling wine or an alluring Domaine Carneros sparkling wine.
Dessert Wine and Cheese Pairings
Every wine and cheese pairing should end with a dessert wine! A velvety Creme fraiche and berry dessert, marscopone, or a cocoa rubbed goats cheese will bring your wine and cheese pairing to a fantastic end with a Freemark Abbey Late Harvest Riesling.
So now that you’ve got some suggestions, where can you find the best cheese in Napa Valley? Go to the Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant or Sunshine Foods Market.
Whether planning a private pairing for two over candlelight or for a group of friends, remember that ultimately there are no rules – pair whatever you think tastes great together.