With its diversity of flavors, Port wine creates a wealth of delicious opportunities for pairing with cheese—more so, arguably, than any other wine. We’d go so far to say: for every cheese there is a perfect Port to match! Below are inspired pairings of Fonseca Port with ideal cheeses and—the next best thing to a cheese monger—Trader Joe’s options.

Looking to learn a little bit more about Port wine first? Read up on Ruby vs. Tawny Ports, and read an in-depth primer here: What Is Port Wine?

Port and Cheese Pairing Guide

The Port: Bin 27 – full, fresh, and fruity

Bin 27 shares the heritage and style of the great Fonseca Vintage Ports, as well as much of their depth and character. However, it is bottled when ready to drink and can be served by the glass directly from the bottle. Blended for consistency of character and quintessentially Fonseca in style, this reserve blend provides reliable and affordable value.

Deep, youthful, ruby color. Intense, rich, fruity nose full of pure blackberry, cassis, cherry, and plum aromas interwoven with notes of spice. The palate full bodied and round, with a smooth, velvety texture balanced by firm mouth filling tannins. The juicy, black, fruit flavors linger into the rich luscious finish.

Camembert cheese
Camembert. Photo by Rebecca Siegel (CC)

The cheese pairing: rich and creamy

  • Pont-l’Évêque
  • Brie de Meaux
  • Camembert de Normandie
  • Vacherin Mont d’Or
  • Taleggio

Trader Joe’s options

  • Triple Crème Délice de Bourgogne
  • French Brie
  • Double Cream Brie
  • Le Rustique Camembert

The Port: Late Bottled Vintage – smooth, dense, and fruity

The wines used to produce this Fonseca LBV were drawn from a reserve of some of the best full-bodied red ports produced at the 2014 harvest from grapes grown on Fonseca’s own vineyards and on other top properties in the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior areas of the Douro. Like Vintage Port, LBV is blended from wines of a single year. Whereas Vintage Port spends only two years in wood, LBV is aged in oak casks for between four and six years, hence the term “Late Bottled.”

Deep purple-black in color with a wonderful exuberance; overflowing with red currants, blackcurrants, and loganberries. LBV makes an excellent match for a goat’s milk cheese, such as a Caprino or Sainte-Maure. As the thick crumbly texture of the goat’s cheese dissolves in contact with the wine, the ripe and opulent fruitiness of the LBV merges with the rich tangy flavors of the cheese in a sublime synergy.

Valençay cheese
Valençay. Photo by Rebecca Siegel (CC)

The cheese pairing: Thick, crumbly, tart

  • Valençay
  • Sainte-Maure
  • Crottin de Chavignol
  • Caprino
  • Castelo Branco

Trader Joe’s options

  • Goat cheese: go wild with their current options, from cranberry-studded to herb-flecked to their Chèvre with Honey

The Port: Terra Prima – vibrant and fruity

Fonseca Terra Prima was the first Port to be produced entirely from organically grown grapes. It is an elegant Reserve Port displaying fresh vibrant fruit, in which organic viticulture has allowed the traditional port grape varieties to express their natural aromas to the full. A wonderfully rich, concentrated Port with great flavor and texture, it is the perfect accompaniment for rich, savory, and creamy cheeses.Port wine, Fonseca, cheese, wine and cheese pairing, port bottle

The cheese pairing: Rich, savory, and creamy

  • Lincolnshire Poacher
  • Durrus
  • James
  • Montgomery Cheddar

Trader Joe’s options

  • Unexpected Cheddar
  • Cheddar & Gruyere
  • Double Cream Gouda
  • Mini Basque Cheese

The Port: Guimarens Vintage Port – full-bodied, rich, and powerful

Fonseca has belonged to the first rank of Vintage Port producers since the mid-nineteenth century. Vintage Ports represent the finest produce of a single, exceptional year, taken from the best of the firm’s own vineyards. Unlike other Ports, which finish their ageing in wood and are bottled ready to drink, Vintage Ports will continue to age and improve in bottle for decades. Guimaraens Vintage Ports share the origins, heritage, and complex fruity style of the classic Fonseca Vintages. They differ only in that they are made in years when the wines are more supple and early maturing. More approachable and ready to drink earlier, they are also more accessibly priced. The association of Vintage Port with a mature blue cheese such as Gorgonzola or Stilton is one of the great classic food and wine combinations. The soft buttery texture, mellow character and slight piquancy of the cheese are perfectly matched by the powerful majestic flavors of the Vintage Port.

Stilton cheese
Stilton cheese. Photo by Martin Delisle (CC)

The cheese pairing: Buttery, mellow, piquant

  • Stilton
  • Cashel Blue
  • Roquefort
  • Gorgonzola
  • Saint Agur Blue

Trader Joe’s options

  • Trader Joe’s Blue Stilton
  • Crumbly Gorgonzola
  • Cave-Aged Blue Cheese
  • Triple Cream Cambozola

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