Here’s Your Official Guide To Pairing Up Your Wine With The Perfect Cheese
If you can master pairing your wine and cheese, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll win over any crowd. Of course, you can always just improvise and do what your heart tells you, but there’s a reason why certain cheeses go best with specific wines. If the flavor profiles complement each other, the whole experience is that much better. Here’s your official guide to pairing up your wine with the perfect cheese.
Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the most ordered red wine in America. Most cabernets have a deep red color and a full body. You’ll hear that it’s earthy with fruity notes of black cherry, black currant and blackberry, and it also has hints of black pepper, licorice, tobacco and vanilla.
The best types of cheese to pair with a nice Cabernet are semi-hard, aged cow milk cheeses like sharp cheddar or aged Gouda. The nutty texture and smooth taste highlight the berry notes of the wine.
There are two main categories of Chardonnay: buttery oaked Chardonnay and citrusy unoaked Chardonnay. Oaked Chardonnays are rich and full-bodied with hints of vanilla, butter and caramel. Buttery Chardonnays have more citrus flavors going on.
The best cheeses to pair with the unoaked Chardonnay are mild semi-soft cheeses. Go with a Fontina, Havarti, Monterey Jack or Shropshire blue cheese. For the buttery oaked Chardonnay, look out for medium-sharp, firm cheeses like certain types of cheddar and parmesan.
Pinot Noir is by far one of the more romantic red wines out there. It’s a light to medium-bodied red wine with a very fruit-forward taste. Pinot Noir isn’t too dry or too sweet and it has aromas of roses, black cherries, berries and currants. The best cheeses for the job are manchego, Comté, Brie, Gruyère and Taleggio.
When you need a dessert wine, Port is usually a good go-to. It’s a red, sweet, fortified wine from Portugal that’s on the rich side. Port comes in a bunch of different styles including red, white, rosé and an aged Port called Tawny.
The best cheese to pair with port wine is Stilton. The salty and the sweet are an awesome duo. You can also pair port with Gruyère and Gouda.
Often on the sweeter side, Riesling is a white wine with aromas of nectarine, apricot, honey-crispy apple and pear. You also get some notes of honeycomb, jasmine and lime peel. Riesling is highly acidic, similarly to lemonade. The sweetness of the wine helps to balance the high acidity.
Super sweet Rieslings work well with blue cheese, feta, aged Gouda and Parmigiano Reggiano. Rieslings that are more on the dry side, work better with semi-hard medium-aged cheese like Havarti, Jarlsberg and Monterey Jack.
A rosé wine is usually a blend of a bunch of different grape varieties and has a pinkish color. Certain darker rosés might have more body than the paler ones and the sweetness will vary. The main flavors of rosé-style wines are flowers, citrus, melon, rhubarb and celery. Rosé can be made still, sparkling or semi-sparkling and can range from highly dry to very sweet.
You’ll want to pair your rosé with some kind of tangy crumbly cheese like goat cheese or feta.
Different from other white wines, Sauvignon Blanc is known for its green and herbaceous flavors. The flavor can range from peach to green apple to passionfruit to zesty lime. Sauvignon Blanc is traditionally a dry white wine with a medium acidity and oak flavors like vanilla, butter and nutmeg.
Goat cheese is the best for this white wine, but you can also go with brie, mozzarella and drunken goat cheese as well.
In French, Merlot means “little blackbird.” It’s often recognized for having a plummy taste and notes of chocolate and cherry. Merlot is easier to drink if you’re not into heavier aged reds because of the soft fruity flavors.
Your best bet for pairing cheeses with this easy-going red is to go with a Gouda, Brie, Jarlsberg, parmesan or Gorgonzola.
Known for its smoky finish and juicy dark fruit flavors, Malbec is a dark red wine that’s grown mostly in Argentina. It’s often a less expensive option compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. Malbec usually has a lower alcohol content with notes of black pepper and spice. Depending on how much it’s aged in oak, Malbec can have a tobacco finish.
The best cheeses to pair with Malbec are Manchego, Taleggio, and hard cheeses like Gouda and Fontina.
This zesty white wine is crisp, dry and refreshing with flavors like lime, lemon, green apple and honeysuckle. In France, the popular variety is known as Pinot Gris. It’s pretty easy to drink, which makes this citrusy white wine a popular dinner table choice.
Pair your glass of Pinot with cheeses like ricotta, feta or Camembert.