Pairing cheese with wine is one of the oldest culinary practices. It is nearly as old as wine and cheese themselves. It’s great to find a match that works, but it also comes with a lot of work. It can be very time-consuming, especially when you’re not sure where to look. There are different factors in both the wine and cheese that decide the pairings. Today, we are going to talk about the cheeses that pair well with Merlot.
Merlot is popular for being one of the components in Bordeaux wine blends. There are some mass-produced Merlots that can taste dull and uninspiring, but handcrafted ones can rival other top red wine in the market. Generally, this wine is softer and less tannic compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. It means that Merlot is more food-friendly and easier to pair with different cheeses. If you are serving Merlot soon and looking for the best cheeses to pair with it, here are your options.
- Brie: Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese that is pale-colored. It also has a slight grayish tinge with a rind of white mold.
- Camembert: This cheese has a moist, soft, and creamy surface, and it is also a cow’s milk cheese. It is a French cheese that is almost the same as Brie.
- Cheddar: This one is a relatively hard cheese that is off-white or almost yellowish in color. Sometimes cheddar has a sharp taste. It originated in England.
- Gorgonzola: This is a veined Italian blue cheese that is made from unskimmed cow’s milk. It can vary from being firm to crumbly. It also tastes salty with a bite from the blue veining.
- Gouda: Gouda is also a cow’s milk cheese, but it is mild-flavored. It originated in the Netherlands and one of the world’s most popular cheeses.
- Gruyere: This is a hard-yellow Swiss cheese that is also made from cow’s milk. It has a sweet but slightly salty taste that varies with age. It is usually aged for 12 months.
- Parmesan: This one is also called Parmigiano-Reggiano. It is a hard, Italian granular cheese that is made from cow’s milk and aged between 12 to 36 months. This cheese is usually shaped into a wheel and cut into wedges like aged Gouda.
Best Cheese Brands for Merlot
To further help you choose the cheese to pair with your Merlot, here are the best cheeses that you can buy today that will complement the wine well.
1. Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
This cheese is one of only two varieties that quality as real Parmesan cheese to most experts. It is extra firm and very well-aged, making it one of the top choices to pair with Merlot.
2. Gruyere Cheese
This cheese is from Switzerland, and it ticks pretty much all of the boxes that you could possibly ask for in cheese for your Merlot. This Gruyere cheese is aged for several months for a nice, semi-hard consistency. It also has a nearly perfect nutty and salty flavor that would bring out the boldest flavors in most Merlots. Aside from that, it also has a rich and creamy texture, making it one of the perfect cheeses to pair with Merlot.
3. Extra Sharp Cheddar
You don’t always need to complement your Merlot with the perfect cheesebecause sometimes, contrasting the two also works great. But this depends on your style. If you want to try this, then the bold and sharp flavors of this cheddar cheese would surely contrast well with the milder tastes of many Merlots you can buy in the market. However, keep in mind that when pairing a good cheddar with Merlot, choosing a younger cheese is better. This one is aged about a year and should serve you well.
4. Provolone Cheese
Provolone is a popular cheese, and it can surprisingly be paired well with Merlot. It has the perfect semi-hard texture that most people are looking for in a good partner for their Merlot. It has a range of tastes from sharp to very sweet, increasing its overall versatility. With this, we can say that Provolone is also an excellent choice for a wide variety of Merlots.
5. Manchego Extra Aged
Manchego is another cheese that is recommended by wine and cheese enthusiasts to pair with Merlot. However, this one is aged longer compared to other Manchego cheeses. Most of the time, cheeses that go with Merlot are aged at a medium amount. But this one is a great choice if you will be serving Merlots that have a relatively high tannin count. It’s because the age of the cheese means that the wine that is high in tannins will mix well with the fats and proteins in the cheese and will be able to clean your palate nicely.
These are some of the best cheeses that pair well with Merlot. Each one of these represents a somewhat different taste, texture, and style to give you options. But no matter which cheese you choose, we are sure that each one of these will be perfect for your Merlot. We hope this will help you in finding the perfect kinds of cheese to serve together with a bottle of Merlot.