Cheese for Pinot Noir

By Joseph Colosi

Most people like a good pinot noir because it is tasty, drinkable, and it enhances dinner (especially lamb and roasted vegetables). The right cheese will elevate the wine itself, just like pulling air through the wine in your mouth and sloshing it around will (Seriously, try it. It’s fun too.). Different cheeses can sweeten, strengthen, or add elegance to the flavor of the pinot. I prefer a harder cheese with the already silky texture of most pinot noir, but don’t be afraid to try a robiola or brie, especially with an Oregon pinot. Enjoy these great cheeses with a full glass at your next party, dinner, or afternoon wine-drinking occasion.

Asiago Stravecchio: It’s easy to forget what authentic Asiago tastes like when the domestic version is sharper and saltier. The flavor of imported Asiago Stravecchio builds gradually, culminating in a fruity, country flavor. The full flavors of the pinot noir will accentuate the lighter and softer nuttiness of the Asiago. And nothing will better complement a meal of, say, braised lamb shanks, than two bottles of pinot noir and a sizeable wedge of Asiago Stravecchio.

Pecorino di Pienza: This big, sheepy cheese from Tuscany sends tingling sensations along the taste buds. While it may also pair well with chianti, it will sweeten a mature pinot noir and prolong the finish. Pecorino di Pienza is hard and bone dry; the ultra-wet smoothness of pinot noir will counter and balance that. Together, this combination makes for a rich and satisfying dessert.

Bloomsday: Out of Cato Corner in Connecticut, Bloomsday, a raw cow’s milk cheese, can often be overlooked. It doesn’t have an enormous bite or unusual flavor, but the depth of flavor it possesses matches perfectly with that of pinot noir. Bloomsday is hearty like cheddar and creamy on the palate like Asiago Saporito, then it finishes with a nutty twang. The pinot can make the cheese taste earthy and big, while the round and encompassing flavors of the cheese tend to strengthen the flavor of the wine. Bloomsday is among the best complements to pinot noir, and the pairing is delightful at any occasion.

Adding to the already delicious flavor of pinot noir is as easy as a quick stop to your neighborhood Di Bruno Brothers location. We can make additional wine recommendations based on stock, grape varietals, and personal taste. And please remember: If you are going to drink, you might as well drink wine. And if you are drinking wine, you might as well eat cheese.