Wine and Cheese Pairings: A Flavor Experience

Wine and cheese pairings are a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. It is a tradition that is involved in the pursuit of providing people with the most pleasant culinary journey. Wine and cheese pair well together—perfectly one might say. Together they create a delectable taste experience where each one balances the other’s flavor and texture. In order to have this flavorful experience one should pair the right wine with the right cheese.

Red Wines

Bold wines pair well with bold cheeses. Specifically cheeses that are firm and a bit salty, potentially with tyrosine crystals. Tyrosine crystals are semi-solid crystalline spots on either the surface or the inside of the cheese. Theses crystals are characteristic of aged hard cheeses, and are often referred to as flavor crystals since they add a new texture and bold flavor. The flavors of these cheeses can be enhanced by being cut into small bite-sized pieces served over grilled bread. This method will enhance the harmony of the ideal wine and cheese pairing. Cabernet Sauvignon is an example of a bold red that pairs nicely with aged cheddars and peppery cheeses. This makes bandage-wrapped cheddar an ideal mate for this bold wine.

Light Red Wines

Lighter red wines pair nicely with washed rind, delicate, nutty, medium-firm cheeses. Hailing from Burgundy, Pinot Noir is apart of the extraordinary class of wines from the region that provides rich emotion within its complex wine flavors.  Pinot Noir is versatile red wine and pairs well with multiple cheeses. It especially pairs well with Gruyere. It is a nutty cheese that is not too intense. For those that enjoy a softer style, a soft ripened brie or camembert will also nicely complement the flavors of Pinot Noir.

White Wines

White wines are more versatile than reds and tend to pair with more cheeses than red wines, this is due to the fact that white wines are devoid of tannin. The exception to this is blue cheese, which does not pair well with most white wines. Many popular white wines tend pair well with creamier cheeses, as with the ones elaborated upon below.


Chardonnays are prone to develop complex, floral and fruity smells that compliment triple cream cheeses. These could be époisses de Bourgogne or Brie, since both are washed rind cow’s cheeses that are produced in the same region where Chardonnay grapes grow. These cheeses tend to have a pungent flavor and can be identified by their wrinkled orange rind. Chardonnay dissipates the stinky flavor of these cheeses which creates a smooth balance.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc, usually shortened to simply Sauvignon, tends to be lean and smoky while also maintaining flavors of delicate honey and hazelnut. Sauvignon pairs well with goat cheese from the Loire Valley in France, where it originates. Specifically, this goat cheese tends to be firmer with a chalky taste and texture due to the high calcium content of the cheese. As the goat cheese ages, it develops a spicy flavor that balances well with the smoky aspects of a Sauvignon Blanc.

Learn about Wine and Cheese Pairings with Us!

To learn more about different wines and cheeses, be sure to read our blog, or attend any of our educational wine tastings at Julio Liquors in Westborough, MA. Our staff will use their expertise to help you find the perfect bottle!

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