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Which Cheese Should I Pair With My Wine?

by Justin Christianson August 22, 2022 4 min read

Package of Fratello asiago and parmesan cheese blend on a black slate next to tomatoes and a glass of red wine.

Whether you’re hosting a small gathering of friends or simply decompressing after a long day at the office, knowing the best cheese for wine can make all the difference to your taste buds.

Wine and cheese are a classic culinary duo. But pairing wine and cheese is an art, and finding the best cheese for the wine you are serving can be a difficult task. Books, magazines, and online tutorials are devoted to educating people on the best wine and cheese pairings, and experts regularly teach classes to help foodies ensure the flavors and textures of this traditional combination are complementary.

Don’t get overwhelmed with information overload. To narrow your options and enable you to check one more task off your pre-party to-do list, the cheese crafters at Cheese Brothers established a definitive guide to the best cheese to serve with wine. Cheese Brothers is an innovative eCommerce specialty cheese business that offers homemade Wisconsin cheeses and specialty products for purchase on its website, as well as a subscription-based service.

As part of our guide to the best cheese for wine, Cheese Brothers explores both accessible and unexpected pairings for whatever wine or cheese you have on hand. Let’s start with the basics.

Wine and Cheese Basics

If you are in a hurry and just want a brief overview, Cheese Brothers has you covered. The texture of your cheese can help you quickly pick the best bottle of wine to serve to your guests. Here’s a simple guide to follow if you are crunched for time.

Hard Cheese: If you are serving a hard cheese, likeparmesan, pecorino, or manchego, your best bet is to serve a robust red wine, like cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, or rioja.

Semi-Hard Cheese: Semi-hard cheeses, such as cheddar, provolone, and colby, are traditional American favorites and should take center stage on your charcuterie platter. These popular cheeses taste best when they are paired with a classic merlot or chardonnay.

Soft Cheese:A soft cheese, such as brie or mozzarella, pairs well with a Champagne, dry rosé, or crisp sauvignon blanc. Don’t forget the crackers!

Blue Cheese: If you are serving blue cheese, it’s likely you’ve got some adventurous palates. Blue cheese is salty and marbled with veins of mold featuring a blue hue. Serve blue cheese with sweet wines like prosecco, pinot noir, malbec, or port.

Classic, Crowd-Pleasing Pairings

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to dig a little deeper to expand your palate and satisfy your cravings with the best cheese for wine classics. We compiled a list of some wine and cheese pairings designed to satisfy your cravings and your appetite.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Cheddar

Cabernet sauvignon features a deep, rich color and has a full-body quality. The wine’s long finish requires a cheese with complex flavors. Aged cheddar is tangy, and its taste gets stronger as the cheese ages, which can help bring out the citrus notes in the wine.

Pinot Noir and Gruyere

The hint of red berry and light tannins of a pinot noir tastes delicious with gruyere, a firm, yellow Swiss cheese. Gruyere cheese is nutty and salty, which makes a light-bodied, slightly acidic wine the right pick.

Shiraz and Gouda

Shiraz is an earthy red wine often featuring hints of pepper and blackberry. It pairs well with the sharp taste of gouda. Both feature a smoky note that makes them an excellent twosome.

Merlot and Parmesan

Merlot is a popular pick, and most stores offer a variety of affordable choices. A velvety merlot pairs nicely with the rich, crystalline texture of parmesan cheese. Add some hard salami and French bread and you’ve got a tasty snack.

Port and Blue Stilton

Wine connoisseurs love port for its hints of berry and chocolate. Often served as a dessert wine, port pairs well with a luxurious Blue Stilton. The English cheese is cylindrically formed and marbled with blue streaks.

Rosé and Havarti
Served cold, a dry rosé wine partners well with a sweet and buttery havarti cheese. Originally from Denmark, the curds from the cow’s milk cheese are washed in spring water before they are pressed into molds, which results in a semi-hard, sliceable cheese. The mild cheese is the ideal addition to a cheese plate.

Pinot Grigio and Mild Cheddar

Pinot grigio is a light white wine characterized by acidic citrus flavors. The fruitiness of the wine stands out with many less expensive and mild cheeses, such as a mild cheddar or colby.

Sauvignon Blanc and Chevre

Chèvre is a soft goat’s milk cheese. While any cheese can be made from goat’s milk, chèvre typically refers to the small logs of goat’s milk cheese that can be found in any grocery store. The cheese is delicious crumbled in salads, and pairs well with a crisp sauvignon blanc because both feature a slightly grassy and earthy undertone.

Chardonnay and Fontina

The floral notes of chardonnay are a perfect match for a nutty fontina, which melts beautifully. Or introduce your guests to a Wisconsin favorite by adding cheese curds to your next charcuterie platter. Cheese curds are delectable fresh pieces of curdled milk, and their saltiness pairs well with the crisp, fruity hints in chardonnay.

Champagne and Brie

Brie, a soft-ripened cheese made from cow’s milk, pairs perfectly with Champagne to celebrate a special occasion or a Tuesday. The acid from the bubbles in the Champagne cuts through the fat in this delicious cheese. Brie tastes best served slightly warm and spread over crackers or crostini.

Keep in mind that everyone has their own taste preferences for the best cheese for wine. Even if you do the research and make your pairings accordingly, it’s still a good idea to be prepared. If you are hosting a party, make sure to have one red wine and one white wine available for guests.

Shop for Cheese at Home

If you need a place to shop for the best cheese for wine pairings, we’ve got a solution that allows you to place an order from the comfort of your home. Cheese Brothers offers a full lineup of cheese variety packs to make wine pairing a breeze. To browse our artisan cheese and specialty products or to sign up for our monthly subscription service, visit Cheese Brothers to shop cheese variety packs.

Justin Christianson
Justin Christianson

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