Pairing wine with cheese can prove to be a challenging feat, but the possibilities are nearly endless.
While it makes sense that age and intensity of the cheese will affect its compatibility with a wine, these are not the only factors to keep in mind. Cheeses vary in moisture content, fat content, pungency, saltiness, texture, and structure. Wines also vary in acidity, sweetness, body, and structure. Not only are there several factors to consider, but there’s more than one way to go about it. For example, you can base your pairings on complementary textures or contrasting textures (just to make it more confusing).
To even the most serious of cheese lovers and wine connoisseurs, the perfect pairing can seem elusive. Follow these basic guidelines to find the perfect match, and then follow along below for wine and cheese pairing inspiration, based on cheese category.
Bloomy Rind Cheese
These creamy and decadent cheeses have earthy notes and a soft, spreadable rind. They pair best with full-bodied whites or fruity reds with lower levels of tannin.
Cheeses: Camembert, Brie, Robiola, Taleggio
Wines: Chardonnay, Pino Gris, Pinot Noir, Champagne, Pinot Blanc, Beaujolais
These pungent, and often salty and savory cheeses are true to their name and sport a blue tinge. They are best paired with robust, sweet wines that balance the saltiness.
Cheeses: Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Cambozola, Bleu d’Auvergne
Wines: Sauternes, late harvest Riesling, red Port, Tawny Port, Vin Santo, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Cambozola, Bleu d’Auvergne
Having a firmer texture and stronger flavors, these cheeses are best paired with full-bodied and aromatic whites, medium-bodied fruity reds, or vintage sparkling wine. They will offer a balance of tannin, acidity and fruit.
Cheeses: Cheddar, Alpine Cheeses, Havarti, Monterey Jack, Manchego, Jarlsberg, Edam, Gruyère, Tomme d’Alsace
Wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, white Bordeaux, white or red Burgundy, Champagne, Sangiovese, Syrah, Viognier, white Rhône blends, Riesling (off-dry), Gewürztraminer, Beaujolais, Dolcetto, Barbera, Zinfandel, vintage Port, young Tawny Port, Amontillado sherry
Stiff and often sharp, nutty and/or salty, hard cheeses are known for the intensity of their flavor. They are best paired with full-bodied whites and medium- to full-bodied reds.
Cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano, aged Gouda, aged Cheddar, Cheshire, Comté, aged Gruyère, Pecorino, Manchego, Asiago
Wines: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, aged white Burgundy or Bordeaux, white Rhône blends, sweet Riesling, Viognier, vintage Champagne, Vin Jaune, red Burgundy, red Bordeaux, Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Petite Sirah, California red blends, red Rhône blends, red Port, Tawny Port, Madeira, Sauternes, Oloroso sherry
Fresh, tangy, soft and spreadable cheeses are best paired with wines that are crisp, fruity, sparkling and light in color.
Cheeses: Chèvre, Burrata, Feta, Coupple, Humboldt Fog, Brie, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Camembert, Crottin, Bûcheron, Brillat-Savarin
Wines: Reisling (light and dry to sweet), White Bordeaux, Gewürztraminer, Moscato, Champagne, Cava, Chablis, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Provençal rosé, Beaujolais, Lambrusco, White Port, Fino sherry
An Excellent Wine and Cheese Pairing Guide
We came across this helpful and informational Wine and Cheese Pairing Guide that we had to share with you. Filter your search by wine and browse the extensive list of cheeses to find the perfect pair for your next get-together.
If you’re throwing a wine and cheese party (which is a wonderful way to sample various wine and cheese pairings), purchase a variety of different cheeses and ask the experts at Julio’s Liquors for recommendations on wines that would pair nicely with your selection. Decide for yourself how to pair wine and cheese by trusting your own taste buds!