Pairing wine with cheese: A quick guide

Pairing wine with cheese: A quick guide

The modern day’s cheese and wine events aren’t new – in fact, records indicate that cheese and wine pairings have been around for generations.

With that being said, most of us are still unsure as to which cheeses pair well with which wines. We often end up muddling everything, and not really being able to savour the marriage of these marvels of food and drink.

Keeping that in mind, we’ve compiled a cheat sheet for your next event to ensure you can appreciate the best of both forms of sustenance.

House rules

There are a few rules when pairing wine with cheese – but, of course, there are also exceptions.

Traditionally, it has been advised that matching acidity and matching power should be the rule of thumb for cheese and wine. For example, tart wines should match with sharper cheeses, mellow wines with creamier cheeses, strong wines shouldn’t overpower mild cheeses, and vice versa.

When tasting cheese, also try to stick to not more than five different cheeses, as any more tend to overwhelm the palate.

Types of cheese and their vinous matches

Fresh, soft and mild

Cheeses like Ricotta, Mozarella, Halloumi, Brie and Camembert pair well with mellow wines like Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Champagne, Grüner, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Semi-hard, medium-aged 

The stronger flavour of cheeses like Edam, Emmental, Gruyère and Young Cheddar go well with wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Champagne, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Port.

Hard-aged 

The nutty and salty nature of cheeses like aged Gruyère, Gouda and Cheddar, Cheshire, Pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano marry well with sweeter wines like Sweet Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Port and Sherry. 

Pungent 

Light-bodied wines like Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Noir pair well with stinky cheeses like Taleggio, Morbier and Epoisses.

Blue

Blue cheeses – Stilton, Gorgonzola, and Roquefort, for example – are bold and very savoury, and favour a match with Port and Sherry.

What to serve with cheese and wine 

As great as these two things go together, one needs a bit of variation to clean the palate and fill the stomach. When serving cheese and wine, add some crackers and bread to the mix. Fruit like grapes, apples, pears, figs, and dried nectarines or peaches are delicious with cheese, and chutney, honey and sundried tomatoes are also great additions.