Hardly anything can outweigh the elegance of a combination of wine and cheese. Countless ways to make the perfect pair always begin with one main question: do you want the taste of cheese or wine to dominate or do you want the two to go well? So, following the principle of attraction, we will pair salty blue cheese and sweet dessert wine. Or following the match power rule, we will match light cheese and light wine or strong cheese and strong wine (over 14.5% ABV). Of course, if you are making a plate of cheese and fruit, it is certain that there will be many different types of cheese on the menu, so it is somewhat ungrateful to provide a type of wine for each cheese type. Therefore, it is best to opt for dessert wines that suit most cheeses (Sauternes, Port).
It is best to try all the combinations yourself and decide which one actually works for you. Here are some tips that can help you make the best match and endlessly enjoy the blended flavors of wine and cheese!
1. Hard Cheese
In general, red wines are richer in tannins, which go well with old cheeses, which have lost water and have an intense taste as well as high fat content.
Hard cheese: Cheddar, Double Gloucester, Parmesan, Pecorino, Manchego, Grana Padano, Beaufort, Cantal, Emmenthal, Sbrinz, Comté
Suggested wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Rioja, Chianti
2. Blue Cheese
The blue cheeses have a touch of bitterness that can go well with the sweetness of the dessert wines. That sweetness is a great match that will make the blue cheese even more creamy!
Blue cheese: Cambozola, Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton, Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne, Cabrales
Suggested wine: Port, Sauternes, Banyuls
3. Semi-soft Cheese
These cheeses do not crumble like hard cheeses, and have a slightly creamy texture and taste, but they’re not spreadable. These types of cheese require medium-bodied wines that are well balanced between acidity, fruit and tannins.
Suggested wine: Corbières, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay
Fresh cheeses are mostly made from raw milk and have not undergone the aging process. Their soft taste is complemented by light, fruity or refreshing wines, whilst those that are high in tannin should be avoided.
Fresh cheese: Mozzarella, Burrata, Chèvre (goat), Feta, Ricotta, Mascarpone, Stracchino, Boursin
Suggested wine: Pinot Noir, Muscadet, Riesling
5. Bloomy Cheese
A characteristic of these cheeses is the bloom of white mold on the outside while the internal structure is soft and buttery. They match well with sparkling wines because the high acidity of the sparkling wines enhances the creaminess of these cheeses.
Bloomy cheese: Brie, Camembert, Robiola, Chaource, Coeur du Neufchatel, Crottin de Chavignol
Suggested wine: Champagne, Sancerre, Zweigelt
Suggested wine: Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Chambertin
When in doubt, follow these simple rules
- Wine and cheese are most often paired on the basis of intensity – a match of power. Which means, wines beyond 14. 5% ABV match great with a sharply flavored cheese, while wines below 12.5% ABV will greatly pair with mild flavored cheese
- Cheese and wines from the same region will typically go well together. Here are tips on the origins of the most popular cheeses to help you decide on wine
Italy: Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Gorgonzola, Tomello, Pecorino
Switzerland: Emmental, Belper Knolle, Schabziger, Tilsit, Sbrinz, Appenzeller, Gruyère
France: Brie, Chevres, Roquefort, Munster, Comté, Camembert, Bleu
Spain: Manchego, Iberico, Cabrales, Mahon, Tetilla
Grece: Galotiri, Feta, Graviera, Metsovone
Germany: Edelpilz, Bavaria Blu, Romadur, Cambozola
Turkey: Ezine, Divle Obruk, Kars Gruyere
- Cheeses with a strong aroma are usually well matched with sweet wines
- Creamy cheeses match the sparkling wines
- When trying cheeses and wine, eat a neutral cracker between combinations
- Fruits (dry or fresh), as well as nuts, olives, jams and dry meat are best matched with wine and cheese
These are just some of the cool tricks for matching wine and cheese, don’t hesitate to use them to find the perfect combination you will adore!