A Beginners Guide To Pairing Wine And Cheese
The following article will take you through the different wines you should pair with hard, soft, blue, or goat cheeses based on tannins, acidity, and more. Additionally, explore eleven kinds of cheeses worth pairing with wines so that you can begin your tasting adventure in style.
Wine And Hard Cheese
Cheese with less than 50% moisture content is referred to as hard cheese. Gouda, Parmesan, Provolone, Pecorino, Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged cheddar, Colby, and Marble are notable examples of hard cheeses. Experts consider these to be versatile cheeses that pair well with several kinds of wine without exhibiting clashing flavors.
With sophisticated notes of nuts, salt, and umami, mature cheeses are mostly pungent. That’s why combining aged cheeses with an acidic wine delivers such a pleasant pairing. It’s wise to pair this type of mature dairy product with vintage wines as well. Moreover, if the mature cheese has a funky smell, the trick is to choose a fruity wine.
Here are the wines that pair well with hard cheeses:
- Pinot Gris
- Dessert wines
Wine And Soft Cheese
Typically made from sheep, goat, or cow milk, soft cheeses are unripened cheeses. Brie, Feta, Camembert, and Chèvre are good examples. These are easy to spread and go well with fruity reds and Rosé. Light-bodied bottles complement the mellow aroma and tangy flavors of this softer dairy product.
Generally, soft cheeses are best tasted with young white wines. Often described as creamy and buttery, they sit well with acidic wines given these wines help cut through the fat. When combined with Champagne, some soft cheeses can produce a toasty flavor too.
Take a closer look at wines that pair well with this soft dairy product below.
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine And Blue Cheese
One of the elite-cheeses made with cow, sheep, or goat milk, there’s a rich fragrance of the yeast around ‘bleu cheese’. Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Roquefort, and Cabrales are good examples of this pungent cheese array.
Given the strong aroma that defines these cheeses, they work well when combined with dessert wines. Palate cooling options like icewine are excellent to slice into dense but fragrant notes.
Mildly fruity reds work with young blue cheeses, but tannin-rich bottles may ruin the flavor altogether. Creamy sweet wines with tropical fruit flavors are a good pick too. The trick is to complement the saltiness of the dairy with the tannins in the wine.
The following are among the best wines that complement this dairy product:
- Sauvignon Sémillon
Wine And Goat Cheese
Called chèvre in French, goats’ cheese is found in soft to hard varieties based on how it’s produced. Rubbing, Holy Goat, Chabis, Tesyn, Bucheron, Yagi, and Hombdolt Fog are popular cheese pairing examples that fall under this category.
Sommeliers recommend wines with fresh acidity to complement a variety of fermented goat dairy products. You can also combine fruit-forward reds given they blend well with the funky aroma of this dairy category. Additionally, aged cheeses in this category complement mature wines as well as dry rosés.
The following are some of the wines that perfectly accompany these dairy delights.
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Côtes de Gascogne
- Gruner Vetliner
The Most Popular Wine And Cheese Pairings
A rule of thumb is white wine goes with varied cheeses better than reds. While salted cheeses go with moderately-acidic wines, sweet wines are often paired with strongly-acidic wines.
Instead of scouring endless pointers and tips, here’s the list of the top pairings designed to help spark your wine and cheese affinity.
- Cheddar: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec
- Brie: Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Champagne, Chenin Blanc, Riesling
- Stilton: Tawny Port, Sauvignon Blanc, dry Riesling
- Camembert: Chablis, Chardonnay, Champagne,
- Feta: Sauvignon Blanc, Pouilly-Fumé, Sancerre, Rosé
- Chévre: Rueda, Côtes de Gascogne, Gruner Vetliner
- Roquefort: Sauternes, Sherry, Icewine, Sauvignon Blanc
- Parmigiano-Reggiano: Sparkling, Pinot Grigio, Marsanne, Roussanne
- Mozzarella: Pinot Grigio, Chianti, Sangiovese
- Gorgonzola: Marsala, Pinot Bianco, Gavi, Riesling
- Parmesan: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer
Because cheese from certain geographical regions like France entails a qualification process that resembles the grading of wines, you can try a wine and cheese from the same region to explore their terroir. One noteworthy example involves pairing Pecorino Toscano cheese with a Chianti Classico.
Cheese pairs well with wine owing to its saltiness, creaminess, and fattiness that coats the mouth.
When it comes to hard cheeses, acidic wines team up well while the soft dairy varieties complement light-bodied wines. On the flip side, creamy and palate-cooling wines work well with the ‘bleu’ dairy category while the goat variety pairs well with freshly-acidic wines.
Next time you’re cheese shopping, take a look at your wines first or pick a cheese and wine from the same region for a unique tasting experience.