Wine & Cheese Pairing Basics

For a wine and cheese pairing party, we recommend serving three types of cheese on a wooden cutting board, or marble slab.  With too many cheeses, people might be a little overwhelmed.  Spruce up the tray with some apricots, plums, a bunch of grapes, or some berries.  Try the cheese with either one glass of wine, or three small glasses of different recommend wines.

wine and cheese platter

Mozzarella and Prosecco

Mozzarella tends to be a little boring, as it’s a subtle and plain cheese.  Sure in more expensive versions you might find wisps of nutty flavours, or an herbal glow. Generally, however, Mozzarella’s appeal is in its round texture in the mouth.  Prosecco is a great match for this cheese as it brings a bit of life to the party.  Prosecco is a bright, bubbly and full of flavours of freshly picked apples and pears.  Prosecco is not very expensive, and Mozzarella is always readily available making this an easy pairing to enjoy.

Brie and Sauvignon Blanc

Brie is a creamy ripened cheese, with a pungent flavour and a tangy bite.  A crisp Sauvignon Blanc mirrors the tang in the Brie Cheese, and adds a citrus or sometimes herbal flavour that makes this pairing quite delightful.
cute baby goat

Goat Cheese and Sancerre

Many consider this the ‘holy grail’ of wine and cheese pairing in that it is an awesome eye-opener in how the two components merge and connect.  Goat cheese has a sour aspect that needs an extra sharp wine to hold up to it.  Sancerre is a French wine made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape.  It is a bracingly tart, and bone dry white that is both stony and herbal on the nose and tongue.  When the sour cheese and tart wine embrace, you have an explosive and invigorating pairing.  Try it out with Henri Bourgeois Les Baronnes Sancerre.

Any white wine with a tang to it, along with minimal oak, will work extremely well with goat cheese.  Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked Chardonnay, or a dry rose will all work great with goat cheese.

Sharp Aged Cheddar and Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon and Sharp Aged Cheddar are a brilliant combination.  We prefer a young Cabernet Sauvignon that is in dire need of some taming.  The fat and protein in the cheese will smooth out the tannin in this wine, allowing all those inky dark fruit flavours to creep in.  The wine also irons out the sharpness of the cheese, forcing it to seduce you with its more mysterious nuttier flavour.  Cabernet Sauvignon, while quite dry, will come off as more sweet due to the saltiness of the cheese, making this pairing perfect for some great after dinner conversations.

Apple Smoked Gouda and Riesling

This is a creamy and buttery cheese that has hints of smoke and tangy apple.  A Riesling is an excellent choice for this pairing as the crisp flavours of the wine will cut through the creaminess and salt of the cheese.  Riesling tends to have a petrol flavour which will go nicely with the smokiness while the citrus tang of the Riesling will complement the tart apple flavour of the cheese.

Blue Cheese and Tawny Port

Not everybody is a fan of Blue cheese as it is full bodied and rich with an earthier and nutty flavour.  For an after dinner treat, try the more masculine Blue Cheese with a feminine Tawny Port.  This fortified wine has enough acid to cut through the richness of the cheese and has a nutty component to merge well with the cheese.  What we love most about this pairing is that the sweetness of the port balances out the saltiness of the cheese.  This is a lush and elegant match.

Sauternes is another classic blue cheese and wine pairing that capitalizes on the sweet and salty harmony.  Sauternes if you recall from our description of wines above is a sweet and honeyed texture dessert wine from France.  It is quite expensive, but extremely decadent.  Well worth it for those evenings that you just don’t want quite to end.

Roquefort Cheese and Amarone

Roquefort cheese is a pretty epic version of blue cheese that is quite overwhelming with its salt and flavour concentrations.  Amarone has just the right enough intensity to stand up to it, without overwhelming it.  Choose a more syrupy and port like Amarone for the best pairing.  The dense fig flavour will have no problem taming this extreme cheese.  Enjoy in moderation, Amarone is deceptively high in alcohol.

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