To me, wine and cheese are like peanut butter and jelly.
You really shouldn’t have one without the other. When paired properly to your tastes and likings, your palate will thank you.
Although there are no rules set in stone about pairing wine and cheese, these guidelines will certainly help you.
For specific pairings, check out my winter cheese plate plus wine pairings!
Creamy cheese that coats your mouth is the perfect cheese to nibble on while sipping bubbles. The sparkling wine cleanses your palate getting your mouth ready for your next bite of that delicious creamy cheese. Try any triple-cream cheese such as Brie, Brillat-Savarin, or La Tur while drinking bubbles. Salty and blue cheeses such as Gorgonzola also pair well with sparkling wines.
White wine is a natural match with cheese due to the high acidity found in most white wines. Buttery, crisp, sweet or fruity, any style of white wine pairs nicely with cheese. Try pairing fresh or less aged cheese, such as Asiago or Humboldt Fog with high acid wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. However, aged cheese with nutty or sweet flavors, such as Gruyere or Gouda, pair nicely with rich, lush white wines such as Chardonnay or Gewurztraminer.
Matching red wines with cheese really is all about your personal preferences. Light, fruity reds are easier to pair cheeses with than big, tannic reds. However, a full-bodied Cabernet goes very nicely with an aged blue cheese. A nice Pinot Noir or red Burgundy pairs nicely with Brie, Camembert and Fontina. If you prefer a full-bodied red, like Cabernet, Bordeaux or Merlot, Taleggio, aged Asiago, Cheddar and Manchego cheeses pair nicely.
Dessert wines such as Madeira, vin santo and dry sherries pair nicely with the nutty and caramel flavored cheeses such as Gruyere, Stilton and Gorgonzola. These dessert wines also are wonderful compliments to more powerful and buttery blue cheeses.