July 24, 2014

How to Pair Wine With Cheese

how to pair wine with cheeseRecently, we wrote an article on wine tasting tips. This discussed various techniques to help you recognize flavors in your wine that would help you choose a kind you truly enjoy. Wouldn’t it be great to sit and relax with your favorite wine in hand, and indulge in some cheese too? Well, in this article we thought it’d be helpful to give you pointers on how you can pair wine with cheese.

As we know there are many different kinds of wines and cheeses in the world. However, the next time you host a dinner party or gathering, or simply want to relax in your own home with a bottle and block of cheese to yourself, at you’ll know which wines and cheeses pair well together. This is will enhance your indulgence, and over all knowledge on the topic.

Wine & Cheese 101

When pairing wine with cheese you should follow the same rule that applies when drinking wine by itself. Always start with the lighter wines and cheese, moving to the fuller bodied, onto the bold cheeses and reds, and then a port wine to end. This will help introduce the flavors to your palate one at a time.

You should consider the types of cheeses you’d like to try. Cheeses are made up of various fats, salts, and moisture based on their age. These components play a part in the type of wine you’d pair with each different kind of cheese. Wine too, can vary in their depth based on how the wine has aged.

Pairing Notes

pairing wine with soft cheesesGenerally younger, fresh cheeses go well with light, crisp, fruity wines. A white wine, blush or a fruity red wine would go well with a cheese that hasn’t developed a pungent flavor. If you’ve ever heard someone say “this wine tastes oaky”, that’s because the longer a wine ages in it’s barrel, it started develop deeper flavors beyond it’s fruitiness. The wine can take on flavors like oak, cherry, vanilla, based on the kind of barrel it’s in. These wines are more flavorful, giving them more of a full bodied taste. These kinds of wines go better with a harder cheese, and create a better balance.

There are other factors in how you pair wine with cheese as well. Consider how sweet the wine your serving is. Sweet wines tend to pair well with really salty cheeses. It creates a great balance of flavors.

Richer, creamier cheeses tend to go better with a white wine. The light flavors of oak go well with a soft cheese like brie. Creating contrast is also an exciting combination for your taste buds. A sparkled wine would go well with the buttery taste of a fattier, rich cheese. The combination wouldn’t be overwhelming or too heavy and leave you wanting another taste.

Every Wine Has A Cheese

pairing red wine with cheeseThere are so many different kinds of wines and cheeses that pairing can be overwhelming. Based on the notes we’ve put together, we’ve also provided a list of wines and cheese that go well together. Use our pairing guide to help plan your wine and cheese tasting!

Cabernet Sauvignon

A more full bodied red such as a cab, goes well with a nuttier, harder type of cheese. We suggest trying an aged Cheddar, Gorganzola, or a Parmesan cheese.

Pino Noir

Pinor Noir is a lighter bodied red wine. Usually having more of a fruitier, flowery taste, Pino Noir pairs well wine he stinkier cheeses. This is because those pungent, bolder cheeses need a lighter compliment those strong flavors.


An Italian Chianti should be paired with cheese of it’s region. This will certainly help you get a true taste of Italy on a platter. Use cheeses like Mozzarella, Provolone, and Parmesan to compliment this wine.

Sauvignon Blanc

Soft cheese tend to pair better with lighter wines. You get pair cheeses like Brie, Ricotta, Fresh Mozzarella, and Feta with a crisp white wine, or a fruiter red that isn’t over powering.


A sweet, dryer wine pairs well with cheese with a bolder flavor. Balancing out the taste between the two is very important. One should never out shine the other. Your benefit will be tasting the complex flavors that are extracted from each. Pair a Zinfandel with a bold cheese like a Blue Cheese, Muenster, Asiago, or Gouda.

These are some of the basic and more popular wine and cheese selections. If you’re new to wine a cheese pairing these will certainly get you on the right track. If you’re more familiar with  the flavors of wine and cheese, you may want to embrace combinations you have yet to try.

Have You Been To A Wine And Cheese Pairing Before? What’s Your Favorite Combination.

In the comments below, tell us what kinds of wines and cheeses you like to pair together. Have you had anything that wasn’t mentioned in the article above?

Danielle Cherrick

Danielle loves a good glass of wine. She enjoys exploring various kinds of spirits and learning more about what she's drinking so she can enhance her palate and tasting skills.

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