Pairing Cheese and Syrah Wines

Big and fruity, elegant or rustic—Syrah is a wine that loves cheese

Also known as Shiraz, Syrah is a red wine made throughout the world and is known to be a full-bodied varietal with a high concentration of tannins. This wine is lush and rich with fruit like blackberry and the flavors of black pepper, licorice, and mint. It is very dark in color—even darker than a Cabernet Sauvignon and will feel heavy in the mouth. From where the Syrah comes—meaning whether the grapes were grown in a warm or moderate climate—will affect the flavor profile, so if you prefer...MORE something rustic or a wine that is a bit softer, you are bound to find many complex and enjoyable bottles that will suit your tastes. 

We all know that wine and cheese is a natural pairing, and Syrah is a nice compliment to cheeses that have enough flavor and complexity to match this intriguing grape. From a smokey blue to a robust cheddar, these five interesting cheeses will please the taste buds while sipping a nice glass of Syrah.

  • 01 of 05

    Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue

    Rogue Smokey Blue
    Jennifer Meier

    Fruit-forward Syrah pairs best with blue cheese, and if the wine has some meaty qualities to it, even better. Rogue Smokey Blue is cold-smoked over hazelnut shells, imparting a lightly smokey and nutty flavor to the cheese. This smokey character pairs especially well with Syrah (as do many spicy blues). 

    Consider putting Smokey Blue on a burger and enjoying a glass of Syrah alongside. 

  • 02 of 05

    Goat Gouda

    Chevre Noir
    Jennifer Meier

    When goat cheese is young and fresh it can be quite tangy and acidic, but when aged into a gouda-style cheese, the milk becomes sweet and pleasantly sharp with a caramelized finish. These flavors are complemented by the ripe berry in Syrah.

    Some goat goudas to try are Midnight Moon from California cheesemaker Cypress Grove, or Arina, a brand of goat gouda from Holland. Also worth seeking out is an aged goat cheese, made more in the style of cheddar than gouda, called Le Chevre Noir from Quebec, Canada. 

  • 03 of 05

    Abbaye de Belloc

    Onetik Pilota
    Jennifer Meier

    Abbaye de Belloc is a sheep's milk cheese with a mild, nutty flavor that is always a crowd pleaser. Its agreeable flavor pairs well with practically any style of Syrah. Other sheep's milk cheeses to try with this wine are Onetik Pilota, Vermont Shepherd, Trade Lake Cedar made by Love Tree Farm, or Serra de Estrela from Portugal.

  • 04 of 05

    Beecher's Flagship Cheddar

    Cabot Cheddar
    Jennifer Meier

    Flagship, made by Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Seattle, is robust, nutty, and pleasantly sharp on the finish without making you pucker. A sip of rich, fruit-forward Syrah is the perfect way to complete a bite of Flagship. Another cheddar to try with Syrah is Cabot's Clothbound cheddar.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Camembert

    Camembert
    Jennifer Meier

    The mushroomy, wet hay characteristics of Camembert match the earthy notes in Syrah and are contrasted by the rich, berry fruit in the wine. French Camembert is always a good choice, or you can try American-made versions that tend to be milder and more buttery, such as Old Chatham Camembert from New York or Mt. Townsend Creamery's Pacific Northwest Camembert called Cirrus.