A Perfect Pairing: Thanksgiving Wine and Cheese Delights

Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude, family and feasting. Yes it’s about food, but it’s also about abundance, the bounty and the richness of all the lands from Seattle to Miami, New York to San Francisco.  So this list is NOT a bottle of pinot noir matched to something imported from Europe. We have put together 7 perfect cheese and wine matches for Thanksgiving. Check out our all-American choices for a Gourmet twist on tradition.

1.     Pear Brandy Wine with Rogue Rove Blue

Rogue Rover Blue won the World Cheese Awards, the most international of all the global cheese competitions, in 2019-20. It is the first American cheese to do so making it a shoe-in for this list.  It is a Syrah leaf wrapped moist blue cheese, effervescent in fermented fruit notes, which is soaked in pear spirits.   

To match this powerful cheese find an elderflower, pear or apple spirit or bandy.  If the fire is hot and the company small, you may want to drink it straight.  Alternatively lengthen it with soda water. 

The combination of fruits from both cheese and the spirits is uplifting.

2.     Aged Gouda with Bourbon

There are many goudas and many bourbons.  Find an old gouda, minimum 12 months, 18 months if you can. 

It should have distinct flavours of caramel and fermented fruit (often grapes), and may have some added extra notes e.g. of chocolate or tobacco leaf.  This will both balance the bourbon and bring out its complexity. 

Both will be strong, so cut the cheese small and keep the glasses lightly filled.

3.     Mission Grape Red Wine with Devils Gulch

The Classic mission grape, brought from Spain in the 1700s, loves the Californian sun.  Mission delivers strong yet simple flavours of cherry, strawberry and raspberry.

Devils Gulch is from the Cowgirl Creamery, Petaluma, a triple cream cheese with a touch of spice. 

Both are straight forward, easy to enjoy and great for parties with diverse palates. 

4.     Pumpkin Martini with Manchego

Yes it’s a thing! Whisky, cream, vanilla, pumpkin puree, perhaps some cinnamon, and sweeten with demerara on the rim of the glass.  Shake or stir, but not over ice. 

Pair with a medium aged sheep cheese (6-8 months) such as manchego. 

Nutty and sweet with a chewable body, it is a delicious blend.

5.     Port Wine with Stilton

There are many American-made ports to choose from.  I’ve picked Anaba from Sonoma, California. Port-styles are sweet and viscous. 

Anaba has a pronounced taste of fruit – black currants, dried cherries and raisins, with hints of chocolate and brandy. 

For cheese find stilton if you can get it, but if not, look for a firm blue cheese with good creamy paste.  Stilton has a sweet savory body, with woody bitter tones giving body and complexity. 

The combination is a classic!

6.     Lightly Oaked Chardonay White Wine with Blueberry Goats’s Cheese

Cheese and white wine is a French staple.  Make a Thanksgiving take of it with a good oaked chardonnay and pair it with some home flavoured goats’ cheese. 

You can buy the soft goats’ curd from most supermarkets. Make into small patties or balls.  Chop the blueberries and roll or press the cheese onto the fruit making bite-sized morsels.   


7.     Mulled Cider and Vintage Cheddar Cheese

Mulled Cider is an autumn drink and suits Thanksgiving as you share if from a common punch bowl. 

Cheddar cheese is cider’s oldest friend. Cheddar will want some sprucing up, so grate, shave or crumb it to bring out the flavour.  

You can also serve it warmed on toast using the mulled cider in a Welch Rarebit recipe.

As you choose which to serve remember Charlie’s golden rule – it’s your party, enjoyment for all is the prize. 

Two or three wine and cheese pairings above should definitely get the party started this November. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

More to explorer


Introduction to Valençay Cheese Valençay cheese, a distinctive French goat cheese, hails from the province of Berry, now part of the Centre-Val

Soft Young Pecorino

History of Soft Young Pecorino Origins and Development Pecorino is a term used to describe Italian cheeses made from sheep’s milk (the

Loire Menetou Salon Sauvignon Blanc

History of Menetou-Salon Sauvignon Blanc Wine Menetou-Salon is a lesser-known but highly respected appellation located in the Centre-Val de Loire region of