Wine and Cheese Pairing For most people, the thought of a lightly chilled glass of white or red wine and some freshly sliced cheese brings to mind a time for relaxation. But did you know that there’s actually an art to pairing the right flavors together? Whether you are hosting an intimate dinner with close friends and family, or just want to enjoy your evening with a delicious snack, learning how to successfully pair wine and cheese can take your snacking pleasure up another notch. Let’s look at some through this tasty journey so that each bite will be as enjoyable as possible!
The Basics of Wine and Cheese Pairing
The basics of pairing wine and cheese all come down to understanding the basic flavor profile of each item. Generally, when looking at a cheese you’ll want to identify its texture (hard, soft, creamy), its age (young or aged) and its flavor intensity (mild or strong). With wines, similarities in flavor can be drawn between sweet, dry, and acidic wines. Experimenting with different flavor combinations is the key to creating a perfect pairing.
Tips for Picking Cheese and Wine Pairings
When it comes to wine and cheese pairings, opposites attract! A dry white can be balanced perfectly with a mild, creamy cheese like brie, while a full-bodied red works best with an aged cheddar. If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing two strong flavors together like a robust Cabernet Sauvignon and a sharp blue cheese. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavor combinations until you find the perfect match – that’s half the fun!
Best #1 Pair wines and cheeses that have similar intensities.
The flavor intensities of both the wine and cheese should be similar. A young, mild cheese like brie will pair best with a light-bodied white wine, while an aged cheddar works better with a full-bodied
Attention the rule:
Best #2 Pair sweet wines with super funky cheeses.
Sweet wines include Riesling, Moscato and late-harvest styles. These pair particularly well with cheeses that have a strong flavor profile such as blue cheese, goat cheese, and washed-rind cheeses.
The sweetness of the wine can help to balance out the pungency of the cheese, resulting in a creamier taste. Likewise, the savory elements of the cheese can balance out the sweetness of the wine.
If you enjoy funky cheeses, I recommend trying two classic pairings: Port with Stilton and Sauternes with Roquefort. They are both delicious!
Best #3 For the best pairing, it is recommended to pair aged cheeses with bold red wines.
As cheese ages, it loses its water content. The remaining milk fat gives it a unique flavor and texture that pairs better with the boldness of red wines. An aged cheddar, for instance, is best served with a powerful cabernet sauvignon.
Best #4 Wines and cheeses that come from the same region complement each other nicely.
The flavors of the wines and cheeses that come from the same region typically have similar characteristics. For example, a Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux pairs perfectly with its local cheese, Comte. Similarly, a Chardonnay from Burgundy goes well with its local Epoisses de Bourgogne cheese.
Best #5 Soft, creamy cheeses pair incredibly well with sparkling wines.
Sparkling wines are characterized by their high levels of acidity and carbonation. The acidity of these wines helps to balance out the creaminess of soft and creamy cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, and Chevre.
Best #6 If you are unsure, choose a cheese that is firm and has a nutty flavor.
If you are unsure of what cheese to pair with your wine, try a firm cheese that has a nutty flavor. These types of cheeses tend to go well with most wines and will add complexity without overpowering the other flavors in the dish.
Exploring Wine and Cheese Pairings Around the World
Regarding wine and cheese pairing, France is a goldmine of delicious combinations. The French have a saying: “What grows together, goes together.”
This means that traditionally, wines and cheeses from the same region of France are often paired together.
Take, for example, the Loire Valley, where you can find both Sancerre, a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, and Crottin de Chavignol, a tangy goat cheese.
The acidity of the Sancerre beautifully balances the creaminess of the goat cheese, creating a match made in heaven.
Another classic French pairing is a rich, full-bodied red Burgundy, such as Pinot Noir, with Époisses, a spicy, washed-rind cheese.
The earthiness of the wine complements the savoury, meaty flavours of the cheese, making for a truly indulgent experience.
Italy is another country with a rich tradition of wine and cheese pairing. One quintessential Italian pairing is a crisp, lemony Verdicchio with Pecorino, a salty, hard sheep’s milk cheese.
The acidity of the Verdicchio cuts through the richness of the Pecorino, resulting in a refreshing and satisfying combination.
Another classic Italian pairing can be found in the Piedmont region, where Barolo, a bold, tannic red wine, is often enjoyed with Castelmagno, a crumbly, blue-veined cow’s milk cheese.
The Barolo’s tannins help soften the strong, intense flavours of the Castelmagno, creating a pleasant and luxurious experience.
Spain is home to various unique and delicious wine and cheese pairings. One standout pairing is a fruity, medium-bodied Tempranillo from the Rioja region with Manchego, a nutty sheep’s milk cheese.
The fruitiness of the Tempranillo enhances the savoury, umami flavours of the Manchego, making for a delightful and well-rounded combination.
Another noteworthy Spanish pairing is a crisp, refreshing Albariño from the Rías Baixas region with Tetilla, a soft, buttery cow’s milk cheese.
The bright acidity of the Albariño perfectly complements the creamy, mild flavours of the Tetilla, resulting in a light, refreshing, and irresistible combination.
Is red or white wine better with cheese?
It depends on the type of cheese and wine. Generally, white wines pair better with milder cheeses such as brie, while bold reds are better for aged cheddars. Sweet wines also go well with funky blue cheeses, while sparkling wines are nice complements to creamy soft cheeses. The best practice is to experiment and find what works best for you.
What is the correct temperature to serve wine and cheese?
The ideal serving temperature for both wines and cheeses is around 55°F (13°C). This allows the flavors of both to be fully expressed, while at the same time avoiding any unpleasant warmth or chilliness.
Why is wine and cheese a good combo?
Wine and cheese are a great combination because they both bring unique flavors to the table. The acidity of the wine helps to cut through the richness of the cheese, while the fat in the cheese helps to soften the tannins in the wine. Together, these two create a complex, delicious flavor profile that is sure to delight.
Do French drink wine with cheese?
Yes! French people are renowned for their love of wine and cheese. In fact, wine and cheese pairings are a staple of French cuisine. From bubbly Champagne to nutty Comté, the combinations are endless. Bon appétit!
Do I have to drink alcohol with cheese?
No, you don’t have to drink alcohol with cheese. There are plenty of delicious non-alcoholic beverage options that pair well with cheese, such as cider or juice. You could also try a soft drink like ginger ale for a sweet and savory pairing.
Can you not mix with cheese?
Cheese should not be mixed with things that are overly acidic, like citrus fruits. The acid can cause the cheese to become bitter and unappetizing. Additionally, try to avoid mixing sweet cheeses with salty foods, as this can also result in an unpleasant flavor.
Wine and cheese pairings can be a fun and delicious way to enjoy your favorite wines. With the right combinations, you can create unique flavor profiles that will elevate any meal.
Remember, the best practice is to experiment and find what works for you. So pop open a bottle and tuck into some cheese. After this post, I hope the above information has provided all you need. Leave a comment below if you have any other questions!
My name is Selena Lowe and I am a professional woman working in the wine industry in the United States. With over 10 years of experience in the field, I have honed my skills in wine assessment and have become a trusted authority in the industry. My passion for wine has led me to pursue a career in this field and I find great joy in exploring the nuances and complexities of different varieties and vintages. As an experienced wine assessor, I pride myself on my ability to identify the subtle characteristics of each wine and to evaluate its quality and potential. I am dedicated to my work and strive to continually expand my knowledge and expertise in this fascinating field.