Wine and Cheese Pairings

Pairing wine with gourmet cheese is more an art than a science. The great part about that is the trial and error process can be rather delicious. Here are a few guidelines to get you going in the right direction.

Play the match game. Match the boldness of your cheese with the boldness of a wine. If you have a slightly more subtle cheese like Brie, you need an equally medium intensity wine, otherwise one will overpower the other. Try to match the subtleties in a wine with the subtleties in a cheese. The nuttiness of a cheese like an aged Gouda works well with a slight nuttiness of a wine. The bright, tanginess of a fresh chevre (goat cheese) goes well with the bright, acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc.

Try sweet with salty for a classic combination. Off-dry and dessert wines like a Late Harvest Riesling balance the saltiness of cheeses like the Stilton or Gorgonzola.

Give Equal Opportunity. Just as with your cheese plate, you want a variety of grape varietals and regions represented. If you’re serving three cheeses, try to pair them with one sparkling, one white and one red wine from different regions.

Go Regional. As with food, cheese and wine from the same region have a natural inclination to pair well together. For hundreds and thousands of years, farmers and vintners have been creating their goods to work well with the local palate. So try Drunken Goat with a spicy Spanish wine from Rioja for a near foolproof pairing.

Serving Order. Keep your heaviest cheese and wine pairing until the end otherwise you’re apt to have your mouth coated in blue cheese early on making you unable to taste the nuances of delicate cheese and wine pairings.