Wine & Cheese Pairing

Wine and cheese are a match made in heaven, and the possibilities for wine and cheese pairing are endless. In this guide you can find out how to choose the best cheese for your wine. You will also learn what kind of wine to choose for different types of cheese. 

Wine and cheese

Published April 16th 2020

There are hundreds of different cheeses and no single wine pairs perfectly with all of them. Instead, there are many different good wine and cheese pairings. Many people think red wine is the best choice to drink with cheese, but many cheeses are actually much better paired with white wines or even dessert wines. To simplify the pairing, we have divided the cheeses into seven categories. In this guide you will learn the basics of wine and cheese pairing and how to choose the best cheese for your wine, as well as how to select the best wine for you cheese.

Choosing cheese for a wine

The flavour profiles of different cheeses can differ a good deal, and they require different wines for pairing. However, most people only want to drink one type wine together with their cheese platter. If you are hosting a wine and cheese party, try to make a cheese platter with similar cheeses. See below our suggestions for what to put on a cheese board for different types of wines. 

Cheese for Light-bodied White Wine

If you are drinking a crisp light-bodied white like Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis and Pinot Grigio, choose goat cheese and other soft and creamy cheeses for your cheese board. Chèvre, Brie and Camembert are good cheeses for this type of wine. This is a very cheese-friendly type of wine thatalso pairs well with delicate fresh cheeses such as Feta, Mozzarella and Ricotta

goat cheese

Cheese for Sparkling Wine

If you are drinking a sparkling wine like Champagne or Cava, soft and creamy cheeses are excellent pairings. Choose Délice de Bourgogne, Brie, Camembert and Cremont for your cheese platter. Sparkling wine also pairs well with delicate fresh cheeses like Mozzarella, Ricotta, Feta and Halloumi.

camembert cheese

Cheese for Full-bodied White Wine

If you are drinking a full-bodied white wine, like an oaked Chardonnay or a Viognier, choose semi-soft cheeses like Emmenthal, Gruyère and Comté. This type of cheese usually has nutty flavours that pair well with the creaminess of the oak aromas in the wine. Some soft and creamy cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert can also pair very well with rich white wines. This type of cheese has a creamy texture and delicate buttery flavours which match the richness and acidity in the wine.

gruyere cheese

Cheese for Aromatic White wine

If you are drinking an aromatic white wine with a hint of sweetness, like Riesling or Gewürztraminer, choose pungent washed-rind cheeses like Munster, Morbier, Raclette, Taleggio and Livarot. These wash-rind cheeses are usually very strong and pungent with a creamy or semi-soft texture. These stinky cheeses require wines with acidity and a hint of sweetness to balance the strong flavours of the wine.

Cheese for Light-bodied Red wine

If you are drinking a light-bodied red wine, like Pinot Noir, Barbera or Beaujolais Nouveau, choose semi-soft cheeses like Gruyère, Comté, Emmenthal and Gouda. This type of wine also pairs well with pungent (stinky) washed-rind cheeses like Epoisses, Taleggio and Reblochon.

washed rind cheese

Tips! If you are having a cheese and charcuterie board, a light-bodied red wine is a good choice.

Cheese for Medium- or Full-bodied Red wine

If you are drinking a medium- or full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Rioja, Merlot or Sangiovese, you will be best off choosing hard cheeses like Cheddar, Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino. These cheeses have salty and savoury flavours that pair wonderfully with rich red wines.

cheddar cheese

Cheese for Rosé wine

If you are drinking a rosé wine, choose brined cheeses like Halloumi or Feta. Rosé also pairs very well with goat cheese and other creamy cheeses like Brie and Camembert.

feta cheese

Tips! Rosé wines are also great if you are having a mix platter with both cheese and charcuterie.

Cheese for Sweet Fortified wine

If you are having a sweet fortified wine like Port wine or a dessert wine like Sauternes, Tokaji or Moscato d’Asti, choose blue cheese for your platter. Port wine is a classic parings with pungent and salty blue cheeses, as the wine's sweetness and richness balances the richness of the cheese.

blue cheese

Choosing wine for a cheese

If you already know what kind of cheese you will be eating and you are looking for the perfect wine to go with it, this part is for you. To simplify the wine and cheese pairing, we have divided the cheeses into seven categories. These categories contain cheeses with similar characteristics and the same type of wine will pair well with all cheeses in a specific category.

Wine for Blue Cheese

Blue cheeses are pungent and salty and require a sweet and bold wine to balance it. A sweet fortified red wine like Port is the classic blue cheese pairing, but a white sweet wine such as Sauternes or Vin Santo are also good choices.

roquefort cheese

Here are some of the classic wine pairings with blue cheese:

Wine for Hard Cheese

Due to the ageing when making hard cheese, it becomes firm and has nutty and savoury flavours. Some hard cheeses are quite salty. Most of them pair well with a medium-bodied red wine. The tannins and weight of this type of wine will balance the structure and flavor of the cheese.

pecorino cheese

Some classic wine pairings with hard cheeses are: 

Wine for Semi-Soft Cheese

This type of cheese is not creamy, but also not hard enough to break into pieces. Semi-soft cheeses usually have a nutty and fairly mild flavor. This type of cheese pairs well with a rich, dry full-bodied white or a light-bodied red wine.

gouda cheese

Some classic wine pairings with semi-soft cheeses are: 

Tips! The best wine for cheese fondue is a usually a white wine with good acidity, such as Grüner Veltliner

Wine for Soft and Creamy Cheese

Soft and creamy cheeses are usually white on the outside due to the natural white mold. This cheese type tends to be creamy with a delicate buttery, sometimes pungent, flavour. These cheeses are best paired with wines that have good acidity to cut through the fat, such as sparkling wines and light-bodied white wines.

brie cheese

Classic wine parings for soft and creamy cheeses are:

Wine for Goat Cheese

For goat cheeses there is one classic pairing and that is Sauvignon Blanc. The herbaceous character of the wine brings out the nutty and herbal flavors of the cheese.

goat cheese

Classic wine pairings with goat cheese are:  

Wine for Washed-rind Cheese

Washed-rind cheeses have an orange rind and usually have a very strong and pungent aroma. They are usually creamy or semi-soft. These stinky cheeses require wines that balance the strong aromas of the cheese. Sweet and aromatic white wines are usually a good pairing with washed-rind cheese. Riesling is an excellent cheese pairing to this type of cheese because it has both high acidity and a hint of sweetness to balance the richness of the cheese. Red wines from the same region where the cheese is made can also be a good pairing.

epoisses cheese

Classic wine parings with washed-rind cheeses are: 

Wine for Fresh Cheese

Fresh cheeses are a bit salty with a pronounced milky flavour and acidity. They are not aged and their flavour is mild. They need to be paired with delicate wines in order not to be overwhelmed. A good wine for fresh cheeses is crisp and dry light-bodied white wines.

mozzarella cheese with fresh basil and pepper

Classic wine pairings with fresh cheeses are: 

Enjoy your cheese and wine!