CHEESE & WINE
Wine & Cheese Pairings
Wine and cheese are well known bedfellows but if you’re a beginner it might seem daunting to decide exactly which wine to choose for which cheese. This guide will quickly help you to get started pairing wine and cheese like a pro.
Pinot Noir and Gruyere
The ever-present red berry fruit of a Pinot Noir is the perfect match for the nutty flavors found in a medium-firm cheese like Gruyere. Both have just the right amount of aroma and complexity to them, without running the risk of one overpowering the other.
Aged Port and Blue Stilton
Port is known for its full body, sweetness, and bold character. And when you’re dealing with all that, you need a cheese to match: something stinky. The complex character of a pungent and salty Blue Stilton matches up beautifully with an older, sweeter Port. Remember: the sweeter the wine, the stinkier the cheese.
Champagne and Brie
The softer texture of triple-cream cheeses like Brie demands something sharp and acidic to cut through the fat. The high acid and pleasantly stinging bubbles of Champagne combine with Brie’s thick creaminess in a contrast that is very satisfying. Plus, that brioche flavor you get in traditional method sparklers adds a tasty bit of toastiness.
Moscato d’Asti and Gorgonzola
As we’ve said, funkier cheeses call for a sweeter wine, but the lightness of Moscato and other sweet whites can be a terrific change if you’ve only ever matched pungent cheese with heavy, fortified wines. The fresh, acidic fruit of a Moscato d’Asti cleans your mouth of heavier cheeses like Gorgonzola, leaving you nice and refreshed.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Cheddar
A bigger, bolder cheese needs a wine that can lift it up, spin it around, and not get winded in the process. An aged Cheddar has a fattiness that matches up wonderfully with the mouth-drying tannins you’ll find in many Cabernet Sauvignons. Plus, their respectively bold flavors will match, instead of one drowning out the other.
Provence Rosé and Havarti
The crisp, red fruit you find in a Provence Rosé is delicious but delicate, and the mellow flavor you find in a Havarti complements the wine gracefully without overpowering it. In addition to this, the steely minerality of a Provence Rosé is a great contrast to the smooth, soft texture of the cheese.
Riesling and Raclette
Smooth and buttery, Raclette is a mellow and versatile cheese that blends really well with the high acidity and stone fruit flavors found in a Riesling. The aromatic scents of the German classic brings out a subtle and surprising nuttiness in a good quality Havarti cheese. Consider a Kabinett or off-dry Riesling so that its sweetness doesn’t overpower the cheese.
Chianti Classico and Pecorino Toscano
Another great “grows together, goes together” pairing, the hard, aged texture of a Pecorino pairs wonderfully with the booming tannins of a Chianti Classico. The savory secondary notes in a Chianti bring out a hidden herbal flavor in the cheese, with the wine’s black fruit holding up perfectly against the boldness of the Pecorino.
Vermentino and Fiore Sardo
A nutty sheep’s cheese, Fiore Sardo does very well alongside the more oily texture of a Vermentino. The saline flavors of both make sure that each only enhances the other, with Vermentino’s citrus notes adding a fruity acidity to the fatty character of a sheep’s milk cheese like Fiore Sardo (aka Pecorino Sardo).
Malbec and Gouda
The combination of Edam’s nutty flavors and Malbec’s velvety fruit is the sort of pairing that just about anyone can enjoy. Both the wine and the cheese are flavorful and aromatic without being overpowering, and the result is a complementary combo of complex flavors.
Tempranillo and Idiazabal
Tempranillo and Idiazabal are a great example of the old adage “if it grows together, it goes together.” Both are Spanish, and both have savory, smoky flavors that match together perfectly. The full body found in your average Tempranillo is a terrific combination with the harder texture of Idiazabal, while the tannins of the wine contrast with the buttery flavor of the cheese.
Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese
While they’re earthy and tart, most goat cheeses are a bit of a blank slate, so the citrus and mineral notes found in a French Sauvignon Blanc bring out the wonderful nutty and herbal flavors that can be found in the cheese. The acidity is also a great way to cut through the heaviness of the goat cheese.