The answer lies in the shared umami taste and sulphur compounds. In particular, dimethyl sulphide (DMS) that manifests as cabbage, asparagus, and truffle aromas. Yes truffle, you heard it right!
Let's break it down!
In washed-rind, soft & creamy cheeses (Epoisses, Taleggio, etc…) the brevibacterium bacteria produces sulphur compounds (DMS) and a notable pungency (penetrating sulphurous oniony, cabbage-like scent). DMS also causes PN's underlying forest floor and truffle character. The key is that the higher DMS concentrations in the cheeses increase perceived fruitiness and vivacity of the wines! Magical!
Voilà! All wine goes with cheese, isn't it?
The short answer is no. Cheese and wine is a lovely concept, but red wines require a bit of planning.
How about regional pairings like what grows together, goes together?
In that genre, Epoisses cheese and red Burgundy is a traditional pairing example. But will any Pinot Noir or any Burgundy do? Hardly. Washed-rind cheeses are not only pungent but also develop notable bitter taste as they mature. Red wines have tannins, and some of them taste bitter (i.e. phenolic bitterness). Moreover, higher ABV% (>13.5%) and the coumarin compounds from new oak barrels increase bitter perception too. And bitterness is additive! It means, best to forget Grand Cru/Premier Cru level wines from the Côte de Nuits and opt for a village or regional level Bourgogne with fresh acidity, silky tannins and light body.
Taleggio DOC & 2017 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Rouge
What do you enjoy with Pinot Noir?