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A Guide to Wine and Cheese Pairings

We can’t think of anything more heavenly than matching a wine with its perfect cheese companion.

Whether you're a seasoned wine connoisseur or a casual enthusiast, understanding the art of cheese and wine pairings is a valuable and rewarding skill. 

In this guide, we'll explore the best cheese and wine pairings to help you elevate your next charcuterie board. 

A Guide to Wine and Cheese Pairings Infographic

Best Red Wine and Cheese Pairings

These classic red wines will instantly add richness to any wine and cheese tasting. 

  1. 1. Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Cheddar

With its high tannins and robust structure, Cabernet Sauvignon is ideal for taking on bold cheeses like aged cheddar, aged Gouda, Comté, and Parmesan Reggiano. Sharp and salty cheeses won’t overpower this wine; instead, the pairings complement each other. 

  1. 2. Merlot and Medium Cheeses

Merlot contains softer tannins and smooth, plummy notes. This medium-bodied red wine is ideal for medium cheeses with salty, nutty flavors to complement its red fruit-forward nature. Merlot is perfect for smooth moderate cheeses that won’t overshadow its brighter notes. Think cheeses like Gruyere, Havarti, Cheddar, Colby, and Parmesan. 

  1. 3. Pinot Noir and Gruyere

Gruyere is soft enough to complement the bright cranberry and cherry flavors of the light red wine Pinot Noir. The cheese's nutty flavors will also bring out this wine’s earthy forest floor and mushroom undertones. Pinot Noir is also an excellent option for bloomy cheeses like Camembert. 

  1. 4. Sangiovese and Pecorino

A savory and herbaceous Sangiovese is the perfect match for hard cheeses with a lot of salt. Its dark cherry, plum, and fig notes easily balance Pecorino, Parmesan Reggiano, and Grana Padano.

Red wine and a charcuterie board

  1. 5. Tawny Port and Stilton

Blue cheeses like Stilton and Roquefort need a strong dessert wine to balance their funky, tangy flavors. A fortified red wine like aged Port is one of the best choices for balancing pungent cheese. 

  1. 6. Syrah and Gouda

A peppery, jammy Syrah is an excellent choice for smoked Gouda. Its deep, savory notes like oak and blackberry will complement harder cheeses as well. Pair this wine with Gouda for a decadent, smoked barbecue taste.

  1. 7. Malbec and Edam

With medium acidity and leather, coffee, black pepper, tobacco, and vanilla notes, Malbec is another contender for medium cheeses like the Dutch cheese Edam. Edam is a springy cheese that hardens over time and contains delightful flavors of nuts, mellow cream, and salt. This wine and cheese combination provides just the right amount of prominent taste and mellow flavors.

  1. 8. Rosé and Feta

With delicate and refreshing red fruit notes and floral aromas, Rosé is an ideal pairing for light cheeses like Feta. Whether goat or sheep milk cheese, this blush wine tastes elegant with bright cheese topped over a summer salad. Rosé wine also pairs well with Mascarpone, Mozzarella, and Ricotta cheese. 

Keep reading for our top choices for pairing white wine with cheese. 

Best White Wine and Cheese Pairings

These white wines will lift flavors and add balance when tasting more dense or pungent cheeses. 

  1. 1. White Sparkling Wine and Brie

Sparkling wines with high acidity, like Champagne and Prosecco, are divine when paired with creamy cheeses like Brie. Try triple-cream Brie for an even smoother experience. The acid and bubbles of these two wines cut through fat effortlessly, providing a toasty flavor due to their almond notes.

  1. 2. Chardonnay and Fontina

A creamy, buttery, oak-aged Chardonnay perfectly matches triple-cream Brie and nutty, fruity Fontina. This full-bodied white wine has the right balance of acidity, lemon, and vanilla notes to cut through cream cheeses while intensifying buttery flavors and adding a hint of citrus. 

Cheese Fondue

  1. 3. Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese

The citrus, mineral, and stone fruit notes of a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc provide tart, earthy flavors to plain goat cheese. The acidity is also ideal for cutting through the cheese’s fatty textures.

  1. 4. Moscato d’Asti and Gorgonzola

Sweet wines are prime for pairing with pungent, heavy cheese, making Moscato d’Asti the perfect complement to funky Gorgonzola cheese. The Moscato’s sweetness softens the cheese’s bite while the acidity washes it away, providing a palate-cleansing experience. 

  1. 5. Gewürztraminer and Washed Rind Cheeses

Washed rind cheeses range from soft to very hard in textures. Despite this difference, they are all cured in saltwater brine or mold solutions, adding to their aromatic flavors and intense odor. If you want to enjoy a cheese like Limburger, Fontina, or Munster, a sweet variation of Gewürztraminer, with its heavy tropical fruit and lychee notes, will tone down its pungency.  

  1. 6. Riesling and Salty Cheeses

A sweet Riesling will pair exceptionally well with pungent cheeses like blue chees and Munster. Still, a semi-dry Riesling is one of the best options for saltier choices like Swiss cheese, Monterey Jack, American Cheese, and Provolone. Dry Rieslings pair best with softer cheeses like Brie.

  1. 7. Chenin Blanc and Chèvre

A dry Chenin Blanc from France is a beautiful choice for a fatty, dense goat milk cheese like Chèvre. The wine’s mineral and honey notes and acidity will lift the plain cheese flavors and cut through the fat. 

  1. 8. Sauternes and Roquefot

With its salty and tangy nature, a more pungent sheep milk cheese like Roquefort needs something to balance it. Sauternes is a sweet white varietal affected by noble rot, a fungus intentionally left on the vine. This is what gives Sauternes its concentrated natural sugars. Along with calming Roquefort’s pungency, Sauternes adds delightful apricot, butterscotch, honey, peach, and tropical fruit flavors to each bite. 

Aerial view of a charcuterie board

Classic Choices for Any Wine and Cheese-tasting

Whether you’re an expert in wine and cheese or just learning how to pair, we hope this guide has offered insight into the vast potential of wine and cheese pairings. What matters most is how the combination satisfies your personal tastes. The best part of tasting is the freedom to explore and try unexpected combinations. 

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