red wine and cheese

pouring red wine and cheese variety

To help you make the best picks for cheese and wine for game day, here is a list of Daniel O’Neill’s general pairing suggestions as well as specific Virginia wine picks and budget picks with suggested retail prices.

If wines are not available at your favorite wine location, they usually can be ordered order by the store or through the winery.

Soft, chalky cheeses: goat’s milk cheeses, chèvre, Crottin de Chavignol

Wine: crisp white wines, such as sauvignon blanc, albariño, dry riesling

Jack’s Virginia pick: Stinson Vineyards 2017 Sauvignon Blanc ($22.99)

Budget pick: Matua Sauvignon Blanc ($10.99)


Soft-ripened or bloomy rind cheeses: Brie, Camembert, Saint-André

Wine: sparklers, such as Champagne, cava, prosecco, frizzante

Jack’s Virginia pick: Michael Shaps Méthode Sparkling 2014 ($35)

Budget pick: Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($15.97)


Semi-soft cheeses: Port-Salut, havarti, Muenster

Wine: unoaked chardonnay, viognier, white Rhônes, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape or roussanne

Jack’s Virginia pick: Upper Shirley Vineyards 2017 Viognier ($26)

Budget pick: Simply Naked Unoaked Chardonnay ($7.99)


Medium-hard cheeses: Gouda, Jarlsberg, Edam, Gruyère

Wine: chardonnay with a little oak, pinot noir, Beaujolais Villages (gamay), cabernet franc

Jack’s Virginia pick: New Kent Winery 2014 Reserve Chardonnay ($29)

Budget pick: Bogle Chardonnay ($8.99) or Bogle Phantom Chardonnay ($15)


Semi-hard cheeses: English cheddar, Cotswold, colby, Monterey Jack

Wine: malbec, zinfandel

Jack’s Virginia pick: 53rd Vineyard and Winery 2016 Petit Verdot ($26.95)

Budget pick: Ravenswood Zinfandel Lodi ($12) or Alamos Malbec ($8)


Hard cheeses: aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, pecorino, manchego, etc.

Wine: big and full-bodied; sangiovese, Napa cabernet, Rioja, Washington state merlot, Bordeaux blends, Barolo, etc.

Jack’s Virginia pick: Barboursville 2014 Octagon ($49)

Budget pick: 14 Hands Merlot ($8.50)


Blue-veined cheeses: Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola

Wine: late-harvest or sweeter wines, such as Sauternes, tawny port, Moscato d’Asti, because the sweetness helps balance the acidity, salt and pungent flavors of blue cheese.

Jack’s Virginia pick: King Family Vineyards 2016 Seven ($30.95)

Budget pick: Cockburn’s Fine Ruby Porto ($11)

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— Jack Berninger

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