Whenever we think of a fancy night out, we are reminded of the delicious spreads of cheeses and good wine. It’s always easy to go out and ask for recommendations from friendly butlers, but won’t it be nicer if you get to prepare it in the comfort of your own home? This way, you’ll also have an idea of how you can serve impressive spreads to your guests as well.
Here is a no-nonsense guide to wine and cheese pairing. This is just perfect for guys who would like to learn some grown-up things (and enjoy good booze with tasty cheeses).
Pair a wine and cheese with the same quality
While there are numerous options for cheeses and wines, a good rule of thumb when pairing is to partner those that are of the same quality. Example: young cheeses pair well with young wines, and aged cheese is great for vintage wines.
Additionally, you can pair wines depending on their intensity. The higher the wine’s alcohol by volume, the more intense the flavor, so you can partner that up with a cheese that shares the same intensity.
Regions where the products were made would also be a great giveaway. A good example would be pairing an Italian Chianti with Parmesan, and Garnacha with Manchego.
Sweet and salty pair well
If you prefer a sweet wine, you’ll find that it’s perfect with something salty from your platter, or something funky. Sweet wines can balance out strong flavors, giving a rich yet not overpowering profile on your tongue.
Some cheeses that will make a good pair with a sweet wine are blue cheese, aged Gouda, Parmigiano, and feta.
Pair your sparkling wine with something creamy
Since sparkling wines are carbonated and have high acidity, they work somehow as a palette cleanser to creamy, sticky (and sometimes stinky) cheeses. Sparkling wines are great with cheeses like brie, camembert, and cremont.
Safe bets are always the firm, nutty cheeses
When in doubt, grab a nutty cheese from the counter and partner it with almost any wine. These types of cheese are delicate enough to partner with whites and have enough fat to counterbalance the tannin of red wines. There’s a reason why you always see them in platters, you know.
A few examples of these are Gruyere, Swiss cheese, and Gouda.
Follow a cheat sheet
If you’re still lost, you can easily follow this cheat sheet showing classic wine and cheese pairings. It’s best to know what you’re working with, but it’s also helpful to have something that you can easily check out when you feel confused. Here are some of our go-to pairings:
- Cabernet Sauvignon – Pair it with hard aged cheese like aged cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, aged Gouda or Manchego.
- Pinot Noir – Pair it with a semi-hard, medium aged cheese like Gruyere, Emmental, Monterey Jack, or Havarti.
- Port – It can make flexible pairings with blue cheeses and semi-hard and hard, aged cheeses.
- Riesling – Pair it with soft cheeses like Ricotta, Mozzarella, Brie, and Camembert. It is also perfect with stinky cheeses and hard, aged ones.
- Champagne – This fizzy drink goes perfectly well with soft cheeses like Camembert and Burrata.