A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

For a downloadable PDF checklist of this pairing guide that you can print or save to keep track of your favorites, click here. Calling all aspiring sommeliers and cheese connoisseurs!

Madison County Championship Rodeo

For a downloadable PDF checklist of this pairing guide that you can print or save to keep track of your favorites, click here. Calling all aspiring sommeliers and cheese connoisseurs!

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

For a downloadable PDF checklist of this pairing guide that you can print or save to keep track of your favorites, click here. Calling all aspiring sommeliers and cheese connoisseurs!

16 North Carolina Wine & Cheese Pairings We Love

For a downloadable PDF checklist of this pairing guide that you can print or save to keep track of your favorites, click here.


Calling all aspiring sommeliers and cheese connoisseurs! Ready to perfect your pairings? We asked Joe Brock and Matt Kemberling, also known as the NC Wine Guys, and Despina Demetriades and Su Peterson, co-owners of Zeto Wines & Specialties in Greensboro, to share some of their favorite North Carolina wines and cheese pairings. Their picks elevate two delicious things into one extraordinary combination.

 

Reds

 

Grove Winery // Nebbiolo 2014
Gibsonville

Pair with Campo from Boxcarr Handmade Cheese in Cedar Grove

Notes from the Wine Guys: A smoked cheese meets a smoky wine for a wonderful match.  

 

Jones von Drehle Vineyards & Winery // Tempranillo 2016
Thurmond

Pair with Buffalo Mozzarella from Fading D Farm in Salisbury

Notes from the Wine Guys: The smooth and silky cheese is a perfect match for a smooth and silky red wine.  

 

Laurel Gray Vineyards // Shiloh 2015
Hamptonville

Pair with Pure Chèvre from Celebrity Dairy in Siler City

Notes from Zeto Wines & Specialties: This wine is smooth with flavors of dashes of spice on red berries and cherries. Serve it with a light chill in hot weather.

 

Linville Falls Winery // Elevation Estate-Grown Red 2017
Newland

Pair with Garlic Spread from English Farmstead Cheese in Marion

Notes from the Wine Guys: Spread over crackers and enjoy with plenty of sunshine and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They usually have this cheese available at the winery. 

 

Nottely River Valley Vineyards // War Woman Red 2012
Murphy

Pair with Basil Cheese from Yellow Branch Cheese in Robbinsville

Notes from the Wine Guys: A cow’s milk cheese with fresh basil pairs nicely with this red blend.  

 

Sanctuary Vineyards // La Maison Grise Handcrafted Cabernet Franc 2015
Jarvisburg

Pair with Bear Wallow from Looking Glass Creamery in Columbus

Notes from the Wine Guys: The bold, nutty flavors of this Alpine-style raw cow’s milk cheese pair nicely with the roasted fruit profile of this wine.

 

Whites

 

Cypress Bend Vineyards // Riverton Estate
Wagram

Pair with Fig & Honey Chèvre Log from Goat Lady Dairy in Climax

Notes from the Wine Guys: Top the cheese with fig jam for a truly wonderful treat. Pairs well with the clean finish of this dry muscadine wine.

 

JOLO Winery & Vineyards // Golden Hallows 2019
Pilot Mountain

Pair with Snow Camp from Goat Lady Dairy in Climax

Notes from Zeto Wines & Specialties: Nice flavors of pineapple, apple, and passion fruit with citrus accents brighten and lighten this elegantly fuller-style white wine. The mixed cow’s and goat’s milk, bloomy-rind cheese won a silver medal in the Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.

 

Junius Lindsay Vineyard // Roussanne Cellar Select 2019
Lexington

Notes from Zeto Wines & Specialties: Pair with your favorite Feta (sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk).

Editor’s note: We like the Goat Feta from Three Graces Dairy in Marshall, a full-flavored, traditional Feta.

 

Laurel Gray Vineyards // Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay 2018
Hamptonville

Pair with Mountain Cheddar 7-Year-Old Super Sharp from Ashe County Cheese in West Jefferson

Notes from the Wine Guys: The nutty sharpness of this Cheddar pairs nicely with an oaky, buttery Chardonnay.

 

Laurel Gray Vineyards // Viognier 2017   
Hamptonville

Pair with Sandy Creek from Goat Lady Dairy in Climax

Notes from Zeto Wines & Specialties: This nicely structured Viognier has spice-noted white fruit flavors, a honeysuckle note, and a clean taste. The ash- and mold-ripened goat’s milk cheese has a thin layer of ash through the center, which encourages the growth of a unique mold rind with bright and grassy flavors.

 

Plēb Urban Winery // Chardonnay 2019
Asheville

Pair with Chèvre from Round Mountain Creamery in Black Mountain

Notes from Zeto Wines & Specialties: Plēb makes wine with local grapes and minimal intervention — no added sugar, colors, etc. — which results more balanced wine. This Chardonnay has a gracious staccato of white and brown spices on the palate, a refreshing accent, and a gentle creaminess.

 

Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards // Centennial Farm Heritage Riesling 2014
Hendersonville

Pair with Carolina Moon from Chapel Hill Creamery

Notes from the Wine Guys: A Camembert-style cheese with a delicious buttery texture pairs nicely with an acidic, fruit-forward Riesling.

 

Sanctuary Vineyards // Pearl Albariño 2018
Jarvisburg

Pair with Lindale from Goat Lady Dairy in Climax

Notes from Zeto Wines & Specialties: The wine’s lovely, refreshing citrus accents broaden into layers with quince, apricot notes, and apples, which pairs well with this raw cow’s milk Gouda with a creamy texture and buttery flavor.

 

Cider & Mead

 

Botanist and Barrel // Less is More Pét-Nat Cider
Cedar Grove

Pair with Drunk N Collard from Paradox Farm Creamery in Carthage

Notes from the Wine Guys: An aged goat cheese wrapped with collards and washed with a local muscadine wine makes for a great companion to this bubbly cider. 

 

Honeygirl Meadery // Lavender Mead 2019
Durham

Pair with Hunkadora from Prodigal Farm in Rougemont

Notes from the Wine Guys: A slightly funky ash-rind goat cheese makes for a perfect contrast to a floral mead. 


For Zeto Wines & Specialties’ North Carolina wine pairings featuring cheeses from around the world, click here.


Pairings from the NC Wine Guys and Zeto Wines & Specialties were compiled by Suzannah Guthmann, and have been lightly edited for clarity.

This story was published on Jul 15, 2020

Katie Schanze

Katie Schanze

Katie Schanze is the assistant editor and digital editor of Our State.