How to Pair Port Wines with Cheese
Although port is typically consumed as a dessert wine, there are some savory foods which go extremely well with it, one of which is cheese. With these few guidelines in mind, choosing the right cheese for your port or the occasion becomes a much easier task.
- Consider the assertiveness of the cheese and the weight of the port
- Is the cheese pungent, salty, or sweet?
- Look at the texture of the cheese - for example, Brie or Camembert with their soft, creamy texture, are not ideal cheeses for ports - they are too mild and sweet.
Ruby Vintage Port and Late Bottled Vintage Port
One of the best-known cheese and port combinations is vintage port and Stilton, or any of the robust blue-veined cheeses. Vintage character or Late Bottled Vintage Port pairs well with a full-flavored, slightly salty or soft-ripened cheese.
- Blue de Bresse
- Beenleigh Blue
- Azeitao (a ewe's milk cheese from Portugal)
Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 1994
A wine of dark ruby color with a blackberry, blackcurrant, cherry nose on the palate, with bold, rich flesh and succulent fruit finishing on delicate tannins.
Bath & Camembert
Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas 1986
From Taylor's premier single vineyard. Full dark ruby, a matured nose of cherry, rose, and violet. Full-bodied with blackberry character, fine to be drunk now but has at least 10 years of potential aging.
Waterloo & Pont-l'Eveque
Fonseca Vintage Port
Inky ruby-like color, enhancing a complex anise, licorice, blackcurrant, minty nose. Big structure backbone and charisma, smashing the palate with a long finish.
Finest Stilton & Fourme d'Ambert
Pairing Tawny Ports of Age with Cheese
The right pairing of cheese and tawnies will greatly depend upon the age of the tawny. With younger 10 year tawnies having more ruby characteristics and less residual sugar, one might choose a milder, less assertive cheese. However, the traditional 20 year-old tawny marries very well with dry, hard and significantly salty cheeses to balance out the sweetness of the wine. A perfect example would be Parmesan.
Aged Goat Cheese
10 Year-Old Tawny
Tawny color with charming ruby flames with a plum, grapy, licorice, Christmas fruit cake like nose. Supple and up front fruit on the palate, light and pleasant nutty finish.
Double Gloucester & Comte
20 Year-Old Tawny
A much clearer tawny color than the 10 year-old with a brownish rim nose of caramel, blackberries and plums in jam. Mellow sweet due to a higher residual sugar content caused by evaporation, well balanced and subtle. Both 10 and 20 year-old tawny could also be served chilled.
Berkswell & Etorki
Wine: 30 Year-Old Tawny
Brown tawny enhancing a nose of dry fruits like figs, raisins, raspberries and strawberries as well as nuts and wood character. Distinction and great elegance are the keywords here, finishing on a long aftertaste.
Emlett & Frais de Brebis
Wine: 40 Year-Old Tawny
Fox tail brown tawny-like color with a honey, leather and caramelized fruits nose, mouth filling wine with concentration, finesse and balance, leaving an aftertaste of licorice.
Kelston Park & Chanteraine