Yes, it can, when paired with the right wine. Choosing the right wine depends on the type of cheddar cheese. For example, mild Cheddar is aged from 1 to 3 months. This style of Cheddar is creamy, slightly sweet, and mellow with subtle hints of butter and salt, according to www.darkcheese.com. They say, “The idea is to pick a wine that won’t overpower the delicate flavors of mild cheddar,” such as light-bodied white wines like Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. I’ve found that a slightly oak barrel-aged Chardonnay works well, or a sparkling wine made for the Chardonnay grape makes for a delicious match.
Medium cheddar cheese is aged a little longer and is more flavorful than mild cheddar cheese. Medium cheddar pairs well with full-bodied whites such as Viognier or fruity reds like Pinot Noir. These wines are bold enough to stand up to the more pronounced rich, nutty flavors of medium Cheddar.
Sharp Cheddar is usually aged from 6 to 12 months. This style becomes drier and crumblier, yielding a robust and intense flavor. According to Dark Cheese, sharp cheddars are best paired with bold red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah/Shiraz. These wines have enough flavor to stand up to the sharpness of this flavorful cheese without overpowering it. They say you’re likely to find deeper notes of caramel, nuts, and smoke that come through in sharp Cheddar.
Marissa Mullen, writing for Food52, states, “Cheddar was first crafted in the 12th century, hailing from Cheddar Village in Somerset, England.” But let us not forget Irish Cheddar. Dark Cheese states, “Irish Cheddar is typically less sharp and intense in flavor than English cheddar, somewhat in between sharp Cheddar and Parmesan. The mildness, earthier and richer flavor of the Irish variety allows for some interesting pairings with French-style wines such as Chablis (Chardonnay), Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc), and Beaujolais (the fruity, light red wine from the French Beaujolais region). These light-to-medium-bodied dry whites are delicate enough to allow the cheese flavors to shine through while still offering a bit of complexity.”
For many of us, when told to say cheese, we say Cheddar, and to that, I say Cheers!