Wine and cheese are a match made in heaven, and the possibilities for wine and cheese pairing are endless. In this guide you will find how to choose the best cheese for your wine. You will also learn what kind of wine to choose for different types of cheese.
Last updated April 16th 2020
There are hundreds of different cheeses and no single wine pairs perfectly with all of them. Instead, there are many 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.
The flavor profiles of different cheeses can differ a good deal, and they require different wine profiles 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.
If you are drinking a crisp light-bodied white like Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis or 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 that also pairs well with delicate fresh cheeses such as Feta, Mozzarella and Ricotta.
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.
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 flavors 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 flavors that match the richness and acidity in the 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. Washed-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 flavors of the 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.
Tips! If you are having a cheese and charcuterie board, a light-bodied red wine is a good choice.
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 savory flavors that pair wonderfully with rich red wines.
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.
Tips! Rosé wines are also great if you are having a mix platter with both cheese and charcuterie.
If you are having a sweet fortified wine like Port wine or a dessert wine like Sauternes, Tokaji or Moscato d’Asti, choose blue cheeses for your platter. Port wine is a classic paring with pungent and salty blue cheeses, as the wine's sweetness and richness balances the richness of the 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 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.
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.
Here are some of the classic wine pairings with blue cheese:
Due to the ageing when making hard cheese, it becomes firm and develops nutty and savory flavors. 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.
Some classic wine pairings with hard cheeses are:
This type of cheese is not creamy, but it is 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.
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.
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, flavor. 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.
Classic wine parings for soft and creamy cheeses are:
For goat cheese 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.
Classic wine pairings with goat cheese are:
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 cheeses. Riesling is an excellent wine 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.
Classic wine parings with washed-rind cheeses are:
Fresh cheeses are a bit salty with a pronounced milky flavor and acidity. They are not aged and their flavor is mild. They need to be paired with delicate wines in order not to be overwhelmed. Good wines for fresh cheeses are crisp and dry light-bodied white wines.
Classic wine pairings with fresh cheeses are:
Enjoy your cheese and wine!