Cabernet sauvignon pairs perfectly with hard cheese. Here our experts have matched Montgomery Cheddar, an aged PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheddar from the UK, and aged Gouda Reypenaer VSOP from the Netherlands, with Parker Estate Coonawarra Estate Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon and Riddoch Coonawarra SA Cabernet Sauvignon.
The terms ‘firm’ and ‘hard’ are used to describe a broad category of cheeses. Their taste profiles range from very mild, to sharp and pungent. They generally have a texture profile that ranges from elastic, at room temperature, to the hard cheeses that can be grated. They have generally been aged for a considerable amount of time, and have been pressed, cooked or had curds finely cut in order to expel more moisture.
Montgomery Cheddar ($12.00 for 100g)
This cheese is made seven days a week to ensure the freshness of the milk, which is produced by the Montgomery’s own herd of 200 Friesian cows, in North Cadbury, Somerset, England. The cows are fed on a protein-rich diet consisting of potato skins, which influences the flavour. A lot of people say this cheese is reminiscent of an English roast: meaty, rich and earthly – typical classification for British Cheddar, which are all stipulated to reflect the terroir of where the cheeses are made.
Reypenaer VSOP ($10.00 for 100g)
This two-year-old Gouda is from Woerdon, Netherlands and is one of my favourites. It has deep caramel flavours and comes from the oldest maturing house in Holland. The best part of this cheese, apart from the flavour and bright orange hue, are the white pockets of sweet crystal-crunchiness that you occasionally bite into. These are actually tyrosine (clusters of amino acids) although people often mistake them for salt. What more do you want with a full bodied cab?
Cabernet is famous for its strong flavours and fine but firm tannins, along with positive natural acidity. These tannins come into their own when matched with aged hard cheeses, the tannin acting for a frame, and acids a counterfoil to the mouth-coating fats – the intense fruit of cabernet is a perfect match for the cheeses’ saltiness and bite. A strong, yet not overripe, cabernet sauvignon from Australia’s original cool-climate region, Coonawarra, makes an excellent choice.
Parker Estate Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon is a Coonawarra Cabernet that always looks classy. It’s got big rich cassis, blackberry and raspberry fruit ripple with an appealing suggestion of leafiness. The very best oak is always used for Parker’s wines, and the fine integrated influence of French oak delivers a balanced cedar and cigar box finish.
John Riddoch (1827 – 1901) is the man responsible for putting Coonawarra on the map after establishing the Coonawarra Fruit Colony in 1891. Today, Coonawarra and its famous ‘terra rossa’ strip of limestone-rich soil is home to some of Australia’s greatest cabernet sauvignon vineyards. This Riddoch Cabernet is an exciting expression of the region with its deep purple colour, spicy plum, chocolate and toasty vanilla aromas, which are followed by a luscious palate of blueberry and accompanying eucalypt-accented spice.
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