September 20, 2019

Wine and Cheese: The Perfect Pair

Wine and Cheese Pairings

5 Tips for a Perfect Pairing

1. Pair intense wine with equally intense cheese
Bolder, more intense, fuller flavored cheeses can stand up to the higher tannins of big-bodied wines. Wines with less than 12% ABV will taste better with a lighter, more delicate cheese.

2. Bold reds pair well with harder, aged cheese
As cheese ages, its water content decreases. As a result, its higher fat content contributes to a more intense and rich flavor that’s ideal for pairing with the higher tannin levels of bold reds. Think aged Cheddar, Manchego, Gouda or Gruyere with heavier wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.

3. Match sweeter wines with salty, funkier cheeses
The sweetness in wines like Moscato or Port will help balance out the funk in washed-rind or blue-veined cheeses, making them taste creamier. Port and blue cheese is a very popular flavor combination.

4. Soft, creamy cheeses pair well with more acidic wines
Higher acidity acts as a palate cleanser for creamier, sticky cheeses such as Brie and Camembert. Sparkling wine, Viognier, Roussanne and unoaked Chardonnay are all great options!

5. Wines and cheeses from the same region will generally pair well together
Soil, climate and topography all affect the flavors of food and wine, so naturally, cheese and wine from the same region will often share complementary characteristics. Great examples include Chardonnay and Brie, or Chianti and Asiago.

Wine and Cheese Pairings

Wine & Cheese Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon & Sharp Cheddar

Two classics that complement one another perfectly! The deep, complex flavors of a full-bodied Cabernet will draw out the bold flavors from sharp, aged Cheddar.

Champagne & Brie

A luxurious combination, Champagne’s crisp bubbles and higher acidity cut through the creaminess of a triple-cream Brie and enhance its buttery flavor.

Port & Blue Cheese

The perfect yin and yang balance. Port needs a powerful cheese to stand up to its residual sugars and higher alcohol content. Salty, nutty blue cheese is the perfect candidate to balance out this classic dessert wine. If you prefer white, try an off-dry Reisling with this bold, salty, tangy cheese.

Sauvignon Blanc & Goat Cheese

This fresh and invigorating pairing is perfect for warm summer afternoons. The zingy acidity of crisp Sauvignon Blanc is perfectly complemented by goat cheese’s fresh and clean flavor.

Wine and Cheese Pairings

Pinot Grigio & Fresh Mozzarella

Smooth and mild mozzarella will help enhance the earthy, mineral flavors of Pinot Grigio. In other words, Pinot Grigio is our favorite go-to for thin-crust Margherita pizza.

Chardonnay & Camembert

The acidity of Chardonnay cuts through the rich and thick texture of buttery and creamy Camembert. The more subtle flavors of the Chardonnay allow the flavors in the cheese to really shine. Another delicious option is Nicasio Valley’s Foggy Morning.

Merlot & Monterey Jack

The dry fruitiness of medium-bodied Merlot pairs well with creamy and mild Monterey Jack. This California classic has a nutty and slightly tart flavor that goes well with a lighter, fruitier wine.

Reisling & Feta

Sweeter Rieslings, in particular, make an excellent match for salty Feta. The natural sweetness of the wine nicely balances out the saltiness of the cheese! A more dry Reisling will be better off with fresh and creamy ricotta.

Zinfandel & Hard, Washed-Rind Cheeses

The bold dark-fruited flavors of a full-bodied Zinfandel pair well with stronger cheeses such as Parmesan, Asiago or Pecorino.

Wine and Cheese Pairings

The Final Touches...

Looking for more delicious additions to your cheeseboard? Try some of these tried and true favorites:

Apricot, Pistachio & Brandy Crisps
Give these crisps a smear of a thick, creamy cheese like the Crescenza from Bellwether Farms or the Foggy Morning cheese from Nicasio Valley Cheese Company.

Olive Oil & Sel Gris Flatbread
These flatbread crackers are perfect for dipping into softer cheesers such as Point Reyes Blue Cheese or any of the goat cheeses from Cypress Grove.

Fra'Mani's artisan sausages pair excellently with fruit-forward red wines (try the Spanish-influenced Piccante with Tempranillo!). Take the pairing to the next level with a Parmesan or the Carmody from Bellwether Farms. For a full-bodied wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec, try this salami sopressata from Olympia Provisions with a flavor-packed cheese such as Aged Cheddar, Gorgonzola or Pecorino. When in doubt, you can always add in some prosciutto or pancetta.

Fresh-Baked French Baguette
Who doesn't love a fresh-baked baguette straight out of the oven? This organic loaf has a crisp, crunchy crust and a light, fluffy center perfect for pairing with any of your favorite cheeses.

Roasted and salted almonds will add the perfect crunch to any cheeseboard. For a sweeter option, try these Whiskey Spice Walnuts!

We love pairing sweet honeycomb with strong pungent cheeses such as funky blue cheese or fresh pecorino to really enhance the flavors.

Mixed Fig Jam
Spoon some of this jam into a bowl to be enjoyed with a creamy cheese like Brie, Camembert, or Chevre.

We love fruity Kalamata olives with a fruit-forward wine like Pinot Noir, which can also stand up to your favorite bold cheese. These Castlevetrano Olives pair well with sharp cheeses and dry white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.

Wine and Cheese Pairings

New to Wine Tasting? 
Check out The Beginners Guide to Wine Tasting where we introduce you to the 5 Steps of Wine Tasting. By using these newly acquired tools, you'll quickly learn just how fun and interesting wine tasting can be. 

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