Why Do We Pair Wine With Cheese?
It’s all about the pursuit of pleasure! Whether you’re going for familiarity and comfort or you’re a little more adventurous and want to try something new, it’s all about what tastes good. Because there are so many different flavours of cheese, and so many styles of wines, you’re bound to find something that tastes delicious together.
Remember there are no real “rules” when it comes to wine and cheese pairings, so take these as suggestions or guidelines, rather than fool-proof pairings. Ultimately, it comes down to what you enjoy and the only way to know is to keep drinking wine and eating cheese!
How To Pair Wine With Cheese
The pairing principles are the same as any other food. Keep these 4 main ideas in mind:
- Match flavour intensity — balance is key. don’t let the wine over-power the food or the food over-power the wine.
Eg: Pair a strong cheese with a robust wine.
- Pair like with like — match flavours, body and texture to create harmony.
Eg: Pair smoked cheese with a smoky Syrah.
- If it grows together, it goes together — try matching regional food with wines from that same region.
Eg: Pair Spanish wine with Manchego cheese.
- Opposites attract — sometimes your best wine & food pairing is something totally off-the-wall. It might not be the safest bet, but it won’t be boring!
Eg: Pair a sweet wine with a spicy or salty cheese.
Easy Wine & Cheese Pairings
Here are some common cheese you can find just about anywhere paired with crowd-pleasing wines. We didn’t stray too far off the path to make sure you’re actually able to find these items to pair together. These are classic, tried and true pairings to give you a great place to start. Once you’ve tried these, feel free to get a little more adventurous and try something new. (Click on the wine for a
1. Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese
2. Champagne and Camembert
3. Moscato and Gorgonzola
4. Cabernet Sauvignon and Gouda
5. Tempranillo and Manchego
6. Chenin Blanc and Manchester
7. Gewürztraminer with Munster
8. Nebbiolo with Parmigiano
9. Aglianico with Pecorino
10. Pinot Blanc with Triple Crèmes (Brie)
11. Chardonnay with Mild Cheddar
12. Syrah with Smoked Cheddar
Wine & Cheese Fun Fact:
There’s a Holiday for That!
Your Boss might not give you the day off,
but the official Wine & Cheese Day is June 25.
How To Host a Great Wine and Cheese Party
The first thing is to keep it simple. Don’t confuse your guests with too many choices. Pick a few favourites to make things easier on you and your guests.
In the spirit of keeping is simple, pick one white wine and one red wine. You want versatile wines that are also crowd pleasers. Too many wine options means you’ll be playing bartender all night instead of enjoying the company of your guests. For a little more choice, add food-friendly dry rosé wine into the mix.
Save the best for last. Bring out a dessert wine later on for people to try with a very special cheese. Port and Blue cheese are a great example of “opposites attract.” Sweet port with salty cheese is a life-altering pairing experience! Add some dried fruit and chocolate pieces to the cheese board for a little more pairing variety.
The most important part of being a great host is making sure your guests consume responsibly and have a safe way to get home.
How to Properly Taste Cheese and Wine Together
If this part doesn’t interest you, that’s okay. Some people just want to eat and drink and not really think about what’s going on. Plus, the conversation and connection with the people in the room may be far more important than examining flavours. However, if you’re interested in really getting into flavour profiles and how food and wine interact, here are a few tips for getting the most out of the experience.
Serve the cheese at room temperature. Just like wines, if the cheese is too cold, you can’t taste the more subtle flavours and may not get the full flavour experience.
Aroma: Smell the wine and the cheese first. Part of taste is smell, so this is an important step.
Flavour: 1. Taste the wine alone. 2. Taste the cheese alone. When tasting the cheese, don’t chew immediately. Let it “melt” in your mouth first, then start chewing. 3. Finally, taste them both together.
Refresh: Try having some water and bread in between pairings. This will quench your thirst and rid your palate of residue from the last pairing, so you start fresh with the next one.
Try Something Different for Your Cheese Pairing — Feta and Rosé!
Most people think of sharp, hard cheeses or a delicious creamy brie for their cheese plate. Instead, try putting out of spread of feta cheese with olives, roasted red peppers, artichokes, tomatoes and flatbread with olive oil. This Greek inspired cheese board provides good variety and is a delicious pairing with a dry rosé wine. For our meat lovers, you can get fancy, by adding lamb meatballs or keep it simple with salami. Dry rosé is still the wine of choice even after adding meat because it’s a food-friendly wine that goes with just about anything.