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Wine Pairing: cheese

Category: Wine Pairings

Wine Pairing: cheese

In Short:

The acidity, alcohol, sweetness and tannin in wine complement the fattiness of cheese. Just remember to match flavour intensities for a perfect pairing.

Wine with cheese

Wine and cheese is one of life’s ultimate pairings. And there’s some science behind it. Cheese is high in fat. Meanwhile, wine has acidity, alcohol, sweetness and tannin – all of which can help to balance it. 

In short, cheese and wine complement each other. But that’s not to say every cheese will pair with every wine. Just as there is an array of wine styles, from dry reds to sweet whites, there are many different cheese types. Creamy and acidic, oozy and rich, hard and nutty, pungent and blue: each one goes best with a different style of wine.

Generally, the stronger the flavour of the cheese, the bolder the wine you want to drink with it. But when matching with a particular wheel or wedge, you need to be mindful of your bottle’s specific characteristics, from tannin to sweetness. 

We’ve delved into the pairing ‘rules’ below, but if in doubt, choose a wine made in the same region as your cheese. Foods and wines made in the same areas usually go very well with one another.

What to have with hard cheese?

Hard cheese is one of the easiest to match with wine. Most are delicate enough to pair with white wines, but also have enough fat and character to stand up to bold reds. 

The stronger the flavour of the hard cheese you’re serving, the more intensely flavoured the wine you want.
A mild, young Cheddar, for example, will go well with an oaked Chardonnay, while a mature version will pair great with a hearty red Bordeaux.

Try Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet with hard Cheddar.

What to have with soft cheese?

Soft, oozy cheeses, such as Brie or Mozzarella, tend to delicately flavoured, which means they are a perfect partner for many white wines. Whites tend to be higher in acidity than reds, and acidity is also great for cutting through all that decadent creaminess. 

Sparkling wines, like Champagne or Prosecco, are ideal because the bubbles help to cleanse your palate after each bite.

Try Pommery 'Brut Royal' Champagne with Brie.

What to have with blue cheese?

Blue cheeses are some of the most strongly flavoured cheeses of all, as well as some of the saltiest. Here you need a wine with big character that can balance – but, crucially, not clash – with your wedge. 

Stay away from dry reds, as the tannin can be unpleasant with blue-cheese flavours. Instead, opt for dessert wines, such as Sauternes or Port, which have luscious sweetness to counterbalance the cheese’s saltiness and fruitiness to offset its savoury flavours.

Try Definition Sauternes with Stilton.

What to have with goat's cheese?

Whether semi-soft or hard, goat’s cheeses come with a trademark high acidity. The wine you drink with it should have a similarly high acidity to match. 

Fresh white wines with little to no oak aging are a winner, especially if they have a mineral character.
Try, for example, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis or Sancerre.

Try Domaine Jean-Max Roger ‘Cuvée Genese’ Sancerre with Crottin de Chavignol.