Wine and cheese go together like chalk and…Well cheese. There is nothing quite like sitting down with a group of friends to enjoy two of the finest products to ever grace the dinner table. However which wines do you match with which cheeses? With such variety for both, selecting the right combinations can be an absolute minefield.
As with normal food matching rules, you have to take into consideration the weight, texture and acidity of the foods/wines that you are trying to match. Don’t forget the tannins, if you are pairing red wines, make sure you’re not putting a high tannin wine with a young cheese, trust us…you won’t like the results.
Not all cheeses were made equal, so it’s well worth breaking them down into categories. So for the sake of this article, we have broken the cheeses down into three categories.
Basic Cheese & Wine Match Options
Soft creamy cheeses – Camembert, Brie, Waterloo, Reblochon, Robiola
Wines to match – Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Chardonnay, Soave, Moscato, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer
Hard cheeses – Cheddar, Pecorino, Parmesan, Fontina, Manchega, Red Leicester
Wines to match – Beaujolais, Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera, Garnacha, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Merlot
Blue cheeses – Gorgonzola, Stilton, Roquefort, Cabrales, Maytag
Wines to match – Sauternes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vintage Port, Oloroso Sherry, Tokaji
These are very loose rules as some wines will match specific cheeses a lot better than others. For example, a good Barbera will match Parmesan a lot better than Red Leicester.
You may find that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tend to match a wider variety of cheeses. Chardonnay allows the softer cheeses to show their character while the acidity cuts through the creamy texture. Pinot Noir is a cheeky little number with low tannins and red fruit flavours that can be paired with a variety of cheeses.
If you are a blue cheese fanatic, then you simply have to pair it with a port or sauternes. The sweetness in both wines perfectly complements the saltiness of the blue cheese.
Do you really need an excuse to crack open a couple of bottles of wine and that fancy cheese board?
Line up a few cheeses ranging through the categories listed above, and then open a couple of light whites, a couple of light reds and some heavier options too. Slowly work your way through, trying to find the perfect combination.
However the best thing about wine and cheese, there are no wrong answers. These are guidelines, but the best way to find your favourite match is to try, try and then try again.