Opposites Attract: Matching Wine and Cheese



“Ultimately we want to create a cheese that is unique to New Zealand, similar to what the wine industry has done with Sauvignon Blanc.” - Simon Lamb, owner of Cranky Goat and Mooody Cow.

We’re big fans of local cheesemakers Cranky Goat and Mooody Cow. From their base in the Marlborough Sounds, they craft delicious local cheese. We recently spent an afternoon matching their range of cheeses to a few of our favourite Rapaura Springs wines. We were planning to share these with you, along with their stories at Rapaura Springs Garden Marlborough. Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, so we thought we’d share a few of our favourites here.

Wine and Cheese. No truer opposites attract. 

But what is crucial for a good wine and cheese match? And how can you take your next event, or Friday night in, to the next level.

We’ve been pairing wine and cheese for hundreds of years and many generations, and it’s no surprise that the two crafts have been so closely connected with the similarities in their creation. Both often take years of aging to reach maturation and optimum flavor, both require careful tending by artisan producers, and both are often created in similar terroir. There are often regional connections between wine and cheese pairings, its no secret the French excel at both. As romantic as all this sounds their suitability is more scientific. They have a yin and yang relationship, sitting on opposite sides of the spectrum of taste they come together to create a pleasant taste sensation, the fattiness of cheese balancing with the acidity of the wine.

Interestingly, cheese can block the flavours of a wine if not paired correctly, the fattiness of the cheese coats the mouth and can block the flavours – both good and bad. In this way cheese can also improve the taste of wine that is overly acidic or tannic.

When done right, the acidity and balance of a well-paired wine cuts through the creamy barrier to unlock the full spectrum of flavours in both the wine and the cheese.

So, if you’re planning your next dinner party, night with friends or some lockdown entertainment, here are a few tips to create your own wine and cheese tasting.

For the perfect sampling, first, sip your wine. Next taste the cheese, let it sit in your mouth, savor the flavour.

  1. Once you’ve had a good feel for it then combine the two, take a sample of the cheese and sip your wine. This time, notice the changes they have on each other. Is it better or worse?
  2. Work your way through the cheese and wines until you find the perfect companion.

When putting together the perfect cheese and wine pairing there are a couple of simple rules to remember.

  1. Heavy with heavy, light with light.
  2. Opposites attract.
  3. If it grows together, it goes together. Look for wines and cheese from the same region.

We're currently loving matching our Rapaura Springs South Brook Pinot Noir, with the Mooody Cow Peppery Soft Cow Cheese. This fattier cheese really lifts the spicy florals of the Pinot Noir. 

Or try our rich, toasty oak Bouldevines Vineyard Chardonnay with the Elledale, named after Simon and Hellene's daughter. The beautifully nutty, honey flavours of this hard cheese complement our wine perfectly.  

Check our range to find your favourites and our friends at Cranky Goat and Mooody Cow can help you with your cheese selection.


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