As the famous quote by Robert Louis Stevenson’s articulates, “Wine is bottled poetry”. Something as beautiful as wine, that gets better with age deserves a comrade that ages just as beautifully, embodying a depth in flavour with time. So wine and cheese may well be a classic pairing that’s never faded its charm, which is why there might just be some hesitation to be sure to never go wrong pairing the two. But, leave it upto us as we have you covered!
Sure, there’s always recommendations and pro tips to go by to put up your A game, but everybody has a palate of their own so don’t feel afraid to turn the tide! And, remember there’s always one-to-many when it comes to pairing a cheese with wine. So, you still stand very few chances of getting it wrong.
To get started, let’s steer clear of any complicated bits of information. Let’s take cheese first and simplify its classification, by type. Primarily, these stand to be four categories: soft, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard. When it comes to wine, go figure! There’s just two: the whites and (the) reds. There you go, you’re a Wine and Cheese genius already! Well, almost.
Now for some rules and these you can swear by! In case you want to play down the experimenting, stick to these and set yourself free from any 404 errors or alike.
- As a general rule of thumb, white wines are higher on tannin, a textural element that imparts dryness and bitterness to wine, than would otherwise be present in red wines. Also, white wines are more acidic, giving them a lighter body which allows them to endure the aged cheeses, i.e the hard variety among cheeses. Hard cheeses, crumbly and dry, have greater pungency and depth of flavour due to aging. As a matter of fact, white wines also pair well with creamy, soft cheeses as these contrast their acidic taste. But more often than not, this variety pairs just right with red wines.
- Dessert wines make for great pairings with creamy melt-in-your-mouth cheeses slightly tart or even salty in taste. These complement well, leaving behind a much-desired after taste.
Pairings that work, just right:
[Wine Type x Cheese Type]
Whites x Hard cheeses (Cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda, Provolone)
Whites x Semi-hard cheeses (Beaufort, Colby, Edam)
Whites x soft cheeses (brie, Camembert, Chèvre)
Dessert Wines x soft cheeses (mascarpone, blue cheese, creme fraiche)
Reds x soft cheeses (Feta, Brie, Camembert, Chèvre (Goat’s cheese) )
Reds x semi-soft cheeses (Gruyere)
[Wine Variety x Cheeses]
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon (Red) X Cheese: Camembert, Cheddar, Colby, Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Parmesan, Blue cheese, Roquefort
Wine: Port (Red) X Cheese: Blue, Gorgonzola
Wine: Shiraz/Syrah (Red) X Cheese: Cheddar, Edam, Gouda, Parmesan
Wine: Chardonnay (White) X Cheese: Brie, Camembert, goat cheese, Gouda, Gruyere, Parmesan, Provolone
Wine: Sauvignon Blanc (White) X Cheese: Asiago, Brie, Cheddar, Feta, goat cheese, Gruyere, Neufchatel, Parmesan
But if you’re just lazy, we’ll make the job easier for you. A one size fits all theory works for certain wines, when it comes to effortlessly pairing them with cheese. So, grab yourselves a Riesling, typically low in alcohol, but offering the sweetness, acidity and tropical fruit tastes that seem to dwell well across a wide spectrum of cheeses. Sparkling wines, from dry to sweet, also offer a nutty and acidic flavour that pairs well with a mixed plate of cheeses, fresh through aged.
So the next time around you whine about wine and cheese, keep this guide by your side! Go about wine and cheese hunting, now will ya?