Make your next get together a tasteful success by impressing your guests with knowledgeable selections from the World Cheese Book. Cheeses come in three main varieties: hard, semi-soft, and creamy. Within these varieties emerge flavors such as salty, sweet, nutty, or buttery, and a range of intensity from pungent to mild.
To determine a good wine pairing to go with your cheese, just keep in mind a few simple guidelines.
Pair like with like.
Big, bold, and lush wines go well with equally strong and flavorful cheeses, while light and fresh wines complement delicate and mild cheeses. Because of this, we love pairing reds with harder, older cheeses, which tend to be stronger in flavor, and whites with younger, softer cheeses with milder flavors. Take the rich and creamy joy that is brie, commonly spread onto bread or eaten with fruit. Brie pairs perfectly with chardonnay due to the wine’s buttery undertone and notes of tropical fruits. Meanwhile, the tannins in red wines are amazing when consumed with accompanying aged cheeses because they bind the protein and fat of the cheese, thereby cleansing your palate.
Blue cheeses, with their reputation for succulence (and stink) are best matched with the intense flavor of dessert wines, especially fruity ones. While the sweetness of the wine cuts through the funk, the salt in the blue cheese enhances the perception of sweetness. A winning combination.
French wine, French cheese.
If you’re having trouble with your selection, another good guideline is to try pairing within the same country, such as a French wine with French cheese. Originating from the same region helps them match in intensity and flavor. Some pairings have been tried and tested for centuries, such as fresh chèvre with chenin blanc in the Loire valley.
What if you are lacking in choices (or funds) for wine, yet want to create a dynamic cheese board? Not to worry—there are wines that can go with any cheese! You will want to opt for neutral reds such as Chianti or pinot noir, and crisp whites with bright minerality like Sancerre or pinot grigio. These will all make happy pairings with a variety of cheeses.
Lastly, and most importantly, the decision is up to your individual tastes. Experiment and explore, and go with whatever feels right to you. It is all about enjoying the delicious marriage of flavors to enhance your event, so have fun with it!