With so many cheeses and so many wines it’s hard to know where to begin!
Pairing wine and cheese is not as easy as popular culture would have you believe. Most cheeses are rich, flavourful and fatty which can be difficult qualities to balance out with wine. Difficult but not impossible and the best pairings make it all worthwhile!
Pairing depends entirely on the style of cheese being served so read on to find out about the major cheese styles and what wines make wonderful partners:
Fresh Goat Cheese
Pair with crisp unoaked, minerally whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Sparkling wines.
Semi Soft Mild Flavoured Cheeses (Havarti, Gouda, Mozzarella, etc)
Pair with delicate, not too assertive white wines or light reds like Pinot Grigio, Nova Scotia Tidal Bay, Gamay, or Pinot Noir.
Bloomy Rind, Soft Ripened Cheeses (Camembert, Brie, Triple Crème, Saint Morgon, etc)
Pair these creamy, buttery and slightly earthy tasting cheeses with more intensely flavoured white wines like Chardonnay from Macon-Villages in Burgundy or New Zealand. If you must have red, wine keep it fruity and low in in tannin like France’s Beaujolais region.
Washed Rind (“stinky”) Cheeses (Taleggio, Epoisse, Munster, Pont L’Eveque, Livarot, etc)
Pair these pungent cheeses with rich and intensely aromatic white wines like Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc. Alternatively, full-bodied and fruit forward red wines like Zinfandel, Amarone, Barbaresco and Aussie Shiraz.
Bleu Cheese (Gorgonzola, Stilton, Roquefort, Danish Bleu, Cabrales, Dragon’s Breath, etc)
Pair these pungent and salty cheeses with off-dry white wines, full-bodied and fruit driven reds and sweet dessert wines like Tokaji and Sauternes.
Semi Hard Cheese (Cheddar, Asiago, Gouda, Gruyere, Emantaler, Gouda, etc)
Pair these harder, slightly nutty cheeses with full-bodied, dry whites with medium to high acidity like Chardonnay. Also medium bodied, fruit forward reds like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Bordeaux-style blends will pair nicely.
Hard Cheese (Parmigiano, Grana Padana, Pecorino, Manchego, etc)
Pair these sharp and salty cheeses with medium to full bodied red wines with decent acidity like Brunello, Nebbiolo and Garnacha.