A Sommelier’s Guide To Wine & Cheese Pairing

From a creamy brie and fruity pinot noir to a sharp cheddar with an oaked chardonnay, wine and cheese go hand in hand like marshmallows and a campfire.

The Star Gold Coast’s Property Sommelier Timothy Stow uses his 20 years of experience to shed some light on the perfect wine and cheese pairings, the ideal drop to sip on with your next cheese platter and why the way to his heart is always with a glass of pinot noir.

Growing up in the seaside town of Torquay in Victoria and being surrounded by world-renowned wine regions, Tim believes his appreciation for wine began at an early age. Now in a dream role, The Star Gold Coast’s Sommelier, Timothy (Tim) Stow, regularly meets with representatives from vineyards all over the country, trailing and tasting each drop to find the perfect variety of bottles for each of the resort’s many restaurants and bars.

Over 20 years of sampling has provided Tim with an expert palate, and a passion for finding unique and rare wines for guests to enjoy, and ones that pair well with The Star’s culinary offerings. One of the most common questions? The wines that pair best with the humble cheese platter.

From antipasto platters to a savoury end to a meal, cheese appears on menus across The Star’s restaurants and is a staple ingredient in numerous popular dishes. So, what is Tim’s expert advice for finding the perfect wine to pair with your next cheese order?

“Sometimes it can be tricky to find the best wine to pair with a cheese board as there are a lot of different components and flavours going on! One wine might work well with some of the elements but not so much with the other. A good tip is to try and choose wines and cheese with equal intensity.”

“For example, a creamy cheese such as a brie or camembert goes wonderfully with sparkling wine as the high acidity in the sparkling offers a palate cleansing effect to the cheese. Aged cheddar is great to pair with cabernet sauvignon as they both have bold flavours so they don’t drown each other out, where as comte and gruyere goes well with pinot noir as the delicate flavours of gruyere work well with a soft, perfumed pinot noir. And lastly, funky and stinky cheese is a good match for sweet wines as the sweetness in the wine can help balance the funk.”

And the one match you can’t go wrong with?

“When I was a young sommelier I first tried a match that blew me away. Vin jaune and comte. I absolutely love it, but know it’s not for everyone. The old saying ‘what grows together goes together’ probably works in this piece. Vin jaune comes from Jura which is a tiny little region in-between Burgundy and Switzerland. The wine is made with a grape called savagnin and has a distinct nutty flavour thanks to the oxidative process in which the wine is made. It tastes very much like a dry sherry. Comte is a classic match with vin jaune as it’s smooth with a slight nuttiness, too. To me, it’s a match made in heaven.”

For a tried-and-tested favourite, Tim also always recommends starting with his favourite wine, a pinot noir.

“Here at The Star Gold Coast we currently serve Kooyong ‘Massale’ pinot noir by the glass. I think it’s a great example of a pinot noir – bright and aromatic with an abundance of red fruits and soft tannins, it’s perfect on a warm day.”

To enjoy a taste of some of Tim’s favourite cheese and wine pairings, The Lawn at The Star Gold Coast is hosting a Wine & Cheese Evening on Thursday 2 June 2022. For more information and to book tickets, visit: https://www.star.com.au/goldcoast/whats-on/wineandcheese