Cheese and Wine Pairing: Demystified

If you know me in real life, it’s no secret I love Cheese. Whenever I host a get together I always make sure to have a cheese plate prepared. I feel like Cheese and Wine go together like Rhoda and Mary, or Lucy and Ethel, maybe even Thelma and Louise. Cheese and Wine are like the best of friends, you can’t have one without the other.

However, the task of Cheese and Wine Pairing can be a bit intimidating, even overwhelming. Especially if you’re new to entertaining or just starting out on your wine journey. Hey, no worries! I have complied a quick and easy guide to help you master Cheese and Wine Pairing for your next girls night in, work party, or family gathering.

Simply follow these basic guidelines and even Martha Stewart herself would say you’ve done a good job.

Always serve cheese at room temperature. This may come as a shock to some of you but think of it as serving a red wine cold. You wouldn’t want to mute down all the flavors and aromas, right? This same principle applies to cheese!

When tasting cheeses go from light to funky. I would say the same guidelines go for wines as well. You wouldn’t necessarily start your night off with a Loire Valley Cab Franc, right? Typically, tastings start with a light, crisp, sparkling wine. The Cab Franc has too many flavors to begin a tasting with and will burn out your palate. It’s best to start with fresh and light cheeses. Favorites of mine include mozzarella, creamy goat, or some Brie. Then move onto more flavorful cheeses like parmigiana or manchego. End with your funky friends like Danish Blue or Roquefort. These funky friends will also pair best with a sweet Port wine.

When in doubt choose a white wine. White wines tend to be more forgiving with cheeses, so if you’re not sure what to pair with it, just stay safe with a white wine. Gewürztraminer, dry Reisling, Chennin Blanc, or an Albariño are great “safe” wines. Red wines can potentially be too overpowering especially with mild cheeses.

Accessories are a Cheese’s second best friend. Although this article is about Cheese and Wine pairing, don’t forget about accompaniments to your cheese board. Different nuts, honey, apples, pears, figs, or assorted jams can really make your cheese board diverse and tasty. However, a word of caution: When it comes to crackers there’s a lot of flavored options on the market. I do feel these strong flavors can compete with the cheese and wine pairing. When trying to showcase a particular pairing, leave the rosemary garlic herb crackers in the box, stick with Waterthins or original Triscuit.

Variety is the spice of life. There’s a whole world of fabulous Cheese and Wine pairings, so don’t be afraid to mix it up! Cheese can be divided into six categories: Fresh (no Rind), Bloomy, Washed Rind, Semi-soft, Hard, and our Funky Friends. A successful cheese plate has a little bit of each. Also, don’t be afraid to add a wild card to your cheese plate. Ever tried Chipotle Cheddar or Ash Rind Brie? Go for it.

To help simplify things, I’ve made a chart to break down what to pair with the most common types of cheeses. This is organized by category of cheese.

Quick Pairing Reference Chart:

Although these are suggested pairings, I do still recommend experimenting and finding out what you really like and enjoy.

This has been one of the most fun articles that I’ve written in a while, mostly because I love cheese.

If you want to see more articles like this let me know by dropping me a message!



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