Wine and Cheese Pairings

wine and cheese pairingsThe process of choosing which cheeses and which wines go together is a monumental one and definitely open to individual tastes. Wine and cheese pairings don’t have to be difficult. Here we break it down into some basics for you.

Basic Wine and Cheese Pairings

First, a basic rule of thumb: lighter cheese, lighter wine, heavier cheese, heavier wine. Sounds simple right? Basically it is. But, there can be so much more to the pairing of wine and cheese.

The second thing you want to consider is your own taste. If you enjoy lighter wines, or lighter cheeses, then choose the pair to the lighter side. It’s really a matter of taste. You don’t have to tied to the traditional wine and cheese pairings. Personally, Brie is one of my favorite cheeses. With traditional thinking, this should be paired with a Chardonnay or Chablis. But, I enjoy it just as much with a Merlot. In other words, try different pairings for yourself and see what you like.

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of different types of cheeses from all over the world. And almost as many ways to classify them. We will keep it simple here, though. Let’s consider 3 basic types of cheese to pair with 3 basic types of wine.

Aged/Hard Cheese Paired with Red Wine

These cheeses are typically stronger in flavor like Cheddars and Gouda. They may also be saltier. The stronger flavor can overwhelm the lighter taste of white wines. The extra saltiness can counter the sweetness in sweet wines. That’s why they tend to go well with the heavier reds. The flavors blend better in your mouth and tend not to overwhelm each other.

Soft White Cheese Paired with White Wine

These are cheeses like Brie and Camembert. They are better served at room temperature, not chilled. Their flavors are released when they warm up a bit. These wines have a more delicate flavor, usually less salty.

Drier white wines and Champagne go better with the lighter flavors of the cheese. A heavier red may overwhelm the flavor of the cheese. Although, lighter reds can accent the cheese flavor. Wine and cheese pairings do have natural combinations, so try some of them yourself.

Blue Cheese Paired with Sweet Wines

The strong flavored blue cheeses like Gorgonzola and Stilton, along with standard Blue cheese, go well with sweet wines like Port and Riesling.

These are traditional pairings and certainly open to differences based on our own tastes. But, they give you a place to start when thinking about wine and cheese pairings.

Wine and Cheese Pairing for Gift Ideas

When you give a gift of wine for a host or hostess gift or for other occasions, try a cheese to go with it. Many times, giving a more complete gift by adding gourmet food will be appreciated. Especially since you now know more about wine and cheese pairings.

You can also try adding in some wine chocolates as well. The combination of sweet and savory is great for wine. Either way, you will have a great addition to complete your wine gift.

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  1. Mandee Sears says:

    I always learn something new here! I don’t think I thought enough about the pairing of wine and cheese. I will now. Thanks for the suggestions!

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