I can’t tell you how many times we are asked which cheese and wine should be paired together. Whether you are having a picnic, planning a romantic dinner, or a girl’s night, cheese and wine are almost sure to be on the menu. Before you put too much pressure on yourself in the cheese aisle, you should know this: There is no right or wrong answer. It all depends on your palate and personal preferences; however, there are some general guidelines you can follow for cheese and wine pairings.
Generally speaking, lighter cheeses such as fresh goat cheese and mozzarella go well with lighter white wines such a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chenin Blanc. Also, a lighter red such as a Pinot Noir can be a good choice.
Bloomy-rind cheeses, those with a white mold on the exterior such as Brie, go nicely with more full-bodied Chardonnays. Also a smoked cheese can pair nicely with an oaky Chardonnay that has been barrel-aged.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Zinfandel
The bigger and bolder the cheese the happier it is with a more robust red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, and Zinfandel. Try pairing aged Goudas and Cheddars with these wines. Gruyere can also pair nicely.
Sauturnes, Late-Harvest Wines, Port
And strong and stinking washed-wind cheeses and bold blue cheeses are divine with sweeter wines such as
Sauturnes and Late-Harvest wines and also with Port. Try Roquefort with Sauturnes and Stilton with Port.
Rich triple crème cheeses like Brillat Savarin pair beautifully with sparkling wines such as Champagne.
Remember that there can be large variances between cheeses from different regions and manufacturers. Just as wine varietals can change dramatically from one producer or country to the next, cheese types vary also. So keep a diary of cheese and wine pairings you like, noting the producers and districts and countries of origin the cheeses and wines. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
When in doubt, ask your local cheesemonger and wine specialist for suggestions.
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