National Wine & Cheese Day – England
July 27th, 2021
The last country that we will highlight for National Wine and Cheese Day is England, but that does not mean that it is the last country out there that boasts delicious cheeses and wines, so we still encourage you to get out, explore, and find delicious pairings for this holiday. We are taking this as an opportunity to promote and give exposure to the potentially lesser-known wines and cheeses so that everyone can enjoy a variety of pairings!
English Wine and Cheese Pairings
To start off this blog we want to name a few fun yet delectable pairings for some English wines and cheeses:
Cheddar and Sharpham Beenleigh Reserve
Cheddar has a strong taste to it so it pairs wonderfully with this full-bodied, savory red wine. This wine is a Bordeaux blend with notes of vanilla and blackcurrant, and it is grown and produced in the United Kingdom.
Ragstone and London Cru Rose
There is just something special about the combination of salty cheeses when mixed with rose, which is acidic. Ragstone is a log-shaped soft cheese made from goats milked and is left two to three weeks to mature. Though its rind is bloomy, the cheese underneath is very smooth and creamy. The London Cru rose is quite delicate with grapefruit and strawberry flavors. This accentuates the flavor of the cheese splendidly.
Stilton and Trevibban Orion
Stilton cheese is very unique with a beautiful marble-like interior and soft yet crumbly texture. Though these cheeses come in two varieties – blue and white – in this pairing we will be talking about the blue variety. The flavor of this cheese is very strong and powerful as it boasts both nuttiness and saltiness. As such, it is very wise to pair it with a dessert wine to counteract the pungent taste. The Trevibban Orion has notes of apricot and orange and is similar to dessert wines, but drier.
To date, there are over 750 cheese varieties that are produced in England, and that is truly astonishing considering that merely sixty years ago Britain’s cheese industry was in quite a rough state. This was the case due to the rationing system of WWII because of which all cheesemakers only started to produce a cheese known as Governmental Cheddar. Luckily as the regulations eased the cheesemaking resumed and more variety came about. Currently, England is known to have some of the best cheeses in the world. Below we will look at a few categories of English cheeses and what varieties fall into them.
These cheeses are meant to be eaten as soon as they are made – meaning that they have no aging or maturing time. They contain a lot of moisture in them and don’t last quite as long as their drier counterparts. Examples of English fresh cheeses include cream cheese, Colwick, and cottage cheese.
Most English cheeses actually fall into this category because of the historic ways that cheese was made. These types of cheeses are processed after being produced in order for the moisture to be removed. The result of this is a stronger flavor and a longer-lasting cheese. Maturing times of these cheeses range from a month to over two years. Examples of such cheeses include cheddar, red Leicester, and crumbly Lancashire.
These cheeses typically have either a rubbery texture or they have a center that’s still smooth and creamy that stops short of becoming runny. Cheeses that have been brushed, soaked, or sprayed in liquid during maturation are in this category. Such cheeses include the Wigmore, Stinking Bishop, and Cornish Yarg.
Soft cheeses have a high moisture content, and have been allowed to ripen and mature. As a result, they have more complex flavors compared to fresh cheeses. Examples include Somerset Brie, Bath Soft, and Kidderton Ash.
Any cheese can be turned into a blue cheese by adding mold – penicillium roqueforti. As a result of the added mold, the bacteria begins to affect proteins in the cheese, which in turn, results in the appearance of colorful pieces of mold. Examples include Stilton, Blacksticks Blue, and Shropshire Blue.
England produces approximately 3.15 million bottles of wine per year in its 450 wineries. From the different types of grapes grown in Egas the most common ones include the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Bacchus, Ortega, and Pinot Meunier among many others. The three most common regions for the wine grapes to be grown include Sussex, Kent, and Hampshire. From the wine that is produced a whopping 84% of it is sparkling and white wine, while only 16% is red wine.