Gruyere is a yellow hard cheese made from cow’s milk named after the Swiss city of Gruyeres. This cheese is produced in the cantons of Friborg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura and Bern. Gruyere is sweetish, although slightly salty. The taste can vary greatly depending on the aging period. The young cheese is often called cream cheese with nutty notes. The matured Gruyere flavor becomes more intense, a complex bouquet with earthy nuances emerges. So it is crucial to find a perfect drink for this cheese.
What do you drink Gruyere with? According to Swiss sommeliers, Gruyere goes well with champagne, white wines like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Muscadet, Vermentino, Arneis, young Chardonnay. Pinot Noir is the most classic wine pairing for Gruyere. Gruyere also goes well with sparkling apple cider or dark beer.
Best Gruyere Cheese Wine Pairings
What wine goes best with Gruyere? Pinot Noir goes best with Gruyere since the aromas and flavors of Pinot Noir wine seduce with strawberry and cherry tones, aromas of raspberries, violets, fennel, cinnamon, black truffle and rose petals. Pinot Noir matches nicely with the creamy and nutty flavor of young and aged Gruyere.
The more mature and aromatic Gruyere cheese, the richer the wine should be. Gruyere goes well with both red and white wine. It is generally accepted that red wine is better in harmony with hard varieties. Hard cheese like Gruyere leaves no oily aftertaste, and its mature taste is ideal for rich wines. The tannins in red wine, which give it an astringent taste, harmonize well with the salty, cheesy notes.
Pinot Noir, Chianti, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon can make a perfect pair for Gruyere cheese. The classic hard cheese Gruyere can be recommended as an appetizer to Italian wines: Amarone, Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello Di Montalcino or Chianti. Light red wines such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais go well with semi-hard cheeses with a nutty flavor like Gruyere.
Dessert wines, as a rule, do not match with hard cheeses like Gruyere. However, there are also exceptions. For example, sweet ice wine and Gruyere do match up. Aged dry white wines of the Burgundy type and Rieslings go well with Gruyere, too.
Pinot Noir and Gruyere Cheese
Typically, Pinot Noir wines are dry, light to medium, with bright acidity, silky tannins, and alcohol in the 12 to 15% alcohol range. Best taste Pinot Noir has complex aromas of cherry, raspberry, mushroom, plus vanilla and spice when aged in French oak. The taste of Pinot Noir wine varies according to the climate and the style of the producer. Colder climates produce a softer and lighter Pinot Noir. Warmer climates produce a more mature and richer Pinot Noir with higher alcohol content. Some producers age their wines in 100% fresh French oak, which creates a fuller, more textured wine.
Young Pinot Noir has notes of red berries: cherries, strawberries, raspberries. Aged drink acquires a more mature aroma, which contains the smells of autumn forest and wet earth. In the aftertaste, flowers and berries appear again – this time, black currants, plums, violets. In warm countries, Pinot Noir wine additionally acquires a jam, slightly dried aftertaste, becomes sweeter, making it a perfect match for Gruyere cheese.
Riesling and Gruyere Cheese
Riesling pairs well with hard cheeses like Gruyere with its nutty, almost caramel flavor. Rieslings vary in sugar content – from dry to sweet. Thanks to the high acidity, even dessert versions stay fresh and don’t taste sugary.
Riesling is fragrant, expressive, multifaceted and sometimes unexpected; the aroma and taste of this grape are distinguished by its multi-layered nature and variety of palettes. This grape is versatile, and depending on the time of harvest, it can be used to produce both dry wine with fresh citrus notes and a sweet dessert drink.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Gruyere Cheese
Cabernet Sauvignon has different flavors making it a popular choice for Gruyere cheese:
- floral – violet and black pepper;
- fruity – black currant;
- spices – the taste of ginger and allspice;
- vanilla and cedar.
In terms of taste, Cabernet Sauvignon belongs to complex wines that can completely overpower the aroma and taste of food. Sommeliers recommend enjoying this noble drink along with fatty foods, smoked meats, and fried meat. Cabernet Sauvignon does not go well with spicy dishes, rice or pasta. However, Cabernet Sauvignon complements the taste of Gruyere cheese and goes well with it.
Beer and Gruyere Cheese
Belgian Dubbel and Tripel, Porter and strong, rich ales make the perfect pair with Gruyere cheese.
The conventional wisdom that wine pairs best with cheese is increasingly being challenged. According to the American brewer Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery, Cheese and beer have the same origins. They are made from herbs and grains and ripen through fermentation.
“Cheese is made from grass and grains, which the cow only processes into milk, then bacteria turn it into cheese. Beer is the same grass and grains converted into a drink by yeast.” Thus, this pair of equal partners is more likely to create a unique taste experience.
The beer nourishes the flavor of the cheese in the mouth, creating an interesting array of impressive combinations. Hop bitterness can balance the thick flavor and creamy texture of the cheese, carbonation will elegantly mask the fat content, and maltiness will redefine the cheese’s sourness. Beer and cheese can not only complement each other, creating amazing taste experiences. Contrasting in taste, they can balance or change each other to emphasize the peculiarity of one another.