Cheese and wine pairings can be a tricky proposition. Many wines can taste overpowering when paired with certain cheeses, while other cheeses are simply not compatible with certain wines. There are many variables that go into pairing wine and cheese, including the type of cheese, the type of wine, and the occasion. For instance, pairing a rich, full-bodied red wine with a creamy, mild-tasting cheese like Brie or Camembert will result in an overly intense and heavy pairing. On the other side of the spectrum, pairing a light, fruity white wine with a hard cheese like Parmesan or Gruyère will result in a dry and overly intense pairing. It’s best to stick to classic combinations that work well together. It’s also a good idea to keep an open mind when pairing wine and cheese. If a cheese or wine doesn’t seem to go well with what you normally drink, give it a shot anyway. Sometimes, you just might be surprised by the results.
What wine goes with what cheese?
This is the most important question! To be able to match a wine with a specific cheese, you must first understand the basic flavor characteristics of the cheese and how they relate to wine. Once you have a general idea of what type of cheese you’re pairing, you can move onto the specific wines. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly paired cheeses and the types of wines that go best with them.
- Brie: Creamy, mild-flavoured cheese with a sweet, buttery flavour, brie pairs well with medium-bodied red wines such as burgundy, merlot, and pinot noir. Brie pairs particularly well with grapes from the Pinot family such as pinot noir, rosé, and pinot gris.
- Cheddar: A hard, aged cheese with a pungent, sharp flavour, cheddar pairs well with bold red wines such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and zinfandel.
- Camembert: A soft, creamy cheese with a sweet, mild flavour, camembert pairs well with both red and white wines. Red wines such as burgundy, merlot, and pinot noir work particularly well with this cheese. White wines such as sauv blanc and chardonnay are also acceptable choices.
Cheese and wine pairings
It’s also important to remember that the flavour of wine is determined by a number of factors, one of which is the type of grapes used to make the wine. The flavour of a particular grape will determine the overall flavour of the wine once it’s fermented. As such, a wine that pairs well with blue cheeses such as Gorgonzola will generally not taste the same when paired with a white cheese like brie. There are many different ways to pair cheese with wine. You can create your own cheese and wine pairing by brainstorming different combinations and then testing them out at home. Alternatively, you can also ask a knowledgeable server at your favourite restaurant to recommend a few pairings for you. For the most part, it’s important to keep in mind that the flavour of the cheese will determine the flavour of the wine, not the other way around. For example, if you pair a Pinot noir with a brie that’s full of rich, strong flavour, you’re not going to end up with a well-balanced pairing.
Matching wine with German cheeses
German cheeses tend to be a little harder and more pungent than other types of cheeses, so these pair well with bold red wine such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and zinfandel. Red wines that are heavy and bold, with flavours of dark cherries and raisins, also pair well with German cheeses such as Schwarzwalder and Raucherkäse.
Matching wine with blues
Blues are the salty, briny kind of cheese; the type that comes with a piece of bread to munch on while you’re drinking the wine. For this reason, they go well with saltier, heavier red wines such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and zinfandel. Salt can also be an important component in the flavour of blues, so pair these types of wines with saltier cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, and Havarti.
Matching wine with other hard cheeses
Hard cheeses don’t tend to pair well with fruit-flavoured wines, while they also lack the sweetness of other cheeses. As such, red wine is an unlikely choice when pairing hard cheeses such as Cheddar and Gouda with a spicy flavour such as pepper. Instead, choose a strong and robust wine that has strong tannins, such as a Pinot noir, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, or zinfandel. Hard cheeses also have a lot of salt in them, so a dry wine such as sauvingon blanc or a white wine such as chardonnay pair particularly well with these types of cheeses.
Matching wine with soft cheeses
Soft cheeses are creamy, mild-flavoured, and often go well with fruit-flavoured wines that are sweet and juicy, such as peach and apple. It’s also important to keep in mind that soft cheeses tend to pair well with both red and white wines, so choose a red or white wine based on the cheeses you’re pairing. Sweet, creamy cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, and chive, on the other hand, don’t go well with sweet wines. Instead, choose a dry, crisp red or white wine such as a merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, sauv blanc, or chardonnay.