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10 Perfect Wine & Cheese Pairs

by Lena Nowakowski (2020-08-10)

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Pairing wine and cheese can seem overwhelming, and something only a trained professional should do. There are endless varieties of cheeses and wines to choose from, but if broken down into a few steps, it can be easier. First, separate the wines into three categories: red, white, and sweet-dessert wines. For cheese, you can begin with the source: cow, goat, or sheep. Then select the sharpness: mild, medium, or robust. Here are 10 perfect wine & cheese pairs to get you started.

Riesling and Young Gouda Cheese


Rieslings give off the scent of peaches, plums, and cherries. This white wine has a lighter body than Chardonnay. When paired with young Gouda cheese brands, the flavors combine and become sweet with a soft bite or tartness.

Chardonnay and Mild Cheddar Cheese

Chardonnay is one of the most popular wines in the world. Fermented plump-green grapes and oak barrels give it its buttery mouth feel. The fruitiness and crispness of the medium-body Chardonnay makes it pair perfectly with mild cheeses.

Made from cow's milk, the creaminess of young cheddar cheese enhances the pear and apple notes of this white wine. Chardonnay is one of the most popular wines in the world.

Sauvignon Blanc and Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack or Jack cheese is a mild, young cow's milk cheese. Due to its subtle flavors, it does not mask the Sauvignon Blanc, which is a citrusy, bright white wine. This low alcohol wine gives off a soft earthy-grassy aroma.

Pinot Grigio and Fresh Mozzarella

Pinot Grigio is a light refreshing white wine. It has the bright taste of sweet melons and tart pears. It is a cleansing wine, and clears the palate. It pairs well with mild cheeses. Aged or sharp cheeses would simply overpower it.

Fresh mozzarella blends smoothly with Pinot Grigio. It is stored in a water bath of brine or whey. This allows the soft cheese to retain its creamy and milky flavor. It is easy to make mozzarella at home, and it only takes four ingredients. See the recipe and instruction here at How to Make Fresh Mozzarella Cheese at Home.

Gewurztraminer and Chevre

A product of France, Gewurztraminer is a sweet white wine, which curiously enough gives off the scent of the tropical Asian lychee fruit. This soft, aromatic wine burst with flavor when paired with the earthiness of Chevre. Chevre is goat cheese and taste much different then cheese made with cow's milk.

Zinfandel and Muenster

A thick dark jam swirled together with black pepper describes this medium to full-body red wine, Zinfandel. Muenster is mild, almost bland, and is soft on the palate. The smoothness of this cow cheese will not overpower the spiciness of Zins, but rather compliment it.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Extra Sharp Cheeses

Cabernets are very dry and deep red wines. Known for their velvety richness and full body, Cabs are acidic and have tannins. Because of the strong flavors, they pair well with a cheese that competes equally in strong tastes.

Aged cheese, such as extra sharp cheddar, pair well with this high alcohol beverage. Gorgonzola, a salty blue cheese, is a good complement. Roquefort is a well-known, readily available tangy blue cheese that works well also. See The Blue List for a complete list of blue cheeses.

Merlot and Aged Gouda

Another dry red wine making kit, Merlot is different from Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlots are medium to full-body and a little softer than cabs, and have less tannin. Merlots have strong hints of ripe black cherries, plums and black tea. Herbs naturally bring out the fruitiness.

Ages Gouda is very firm and cuts neatly into small squares. It is sharp and stands up to richer dark red wines. Theses aged cheese pulls out the unique black tea flavor from the Merlot.

Pinot Noir and Gruyere

Pinot Noir is a light-medium red wine and not a dark as Merlots and Cabs. Pinot Noir wine has a fruity jam flavor, like raspberries and strawberries. Gruyere is an aged cheese that tastes nutty with a hint of saltiness. It does not overpower the palate and brings out the ripeness of the Pinot Noir.

Port and Stilton

Port is sweet, red dessert wine. It does not have the tannins and acidity of other reds. Port is a fortified with the liquor Brandy. Once combined, the Brandy prevents the grapes from converting to more alcohol and keeps the wine 'youthful'.

Stilton is a strong blue cheese. The tastes of the sweet Port mixed with the robust, salty Stilton makes for a very intense pairing. Serve this dish in small bite-size portions with a small but hearty glass of port. It can be overwhelming in large quantities.


Conclusion

The secret to creating tasty and interesting wine and food pairing is the bolder rich red wines go with cheese that is just as bold. Think well-aged cheese or blue cheeses for Cabs, Merlots, and Pinot Noir. Sweeter wines, such as a Port, also work with aged, salty cheese. For a list and comparison of more red wines, visit The Seven Most Popular Types of Red Wine.

White wines pair with younger cheese, such as mild cheddar and mozzarella. Stronger cheese will destroy the subtle fruits, herbs, and earthy aromas of Chardonnays and Pinot Grigio, but do not be afraid to try new combinations. Sometimes what you think will not taste good together, starts a completely new trend in the wine and cheese-pairing world.







Kenneth is a food blogger and used to work as a Caterer. He has a degree in Culinary Arts from St. Philips College in San Antonio and writes for his recently-started project,

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