Deciding which wine to serve with what cheese can be a little intimidating. Never fear. With a few simple ground rules, you’ll be completely confident as you mix and match your way to success.
Chances are, an acidic cheese will match nicely with an acidic wine. For example, acidic wines such as Sauvignon Blanc pair perfectly with fresh goat cheese, leaving a fruity tangy, rich and floral taste on the palate.
Or rather, terroir. Wine and cheese from the same regions make very good pairings. For example, a Basque country cheese and a Basque country wine will pair beautifully because they share similar characteristics. Similarly, a Tuscan Pecorino will pair beautifully with a Chianti Classico, while a Spanish Manchego and a juicy Rioja will seem like a match made in heaven.
On the flip side, contrasting flavors can be quite complementary. For instance, salty blue cheese like Roquefort pairs nicely with a sweet dessert wine like a Sauternes to round off the strength of the cheese, and rich, creamy Brie pairs nicely with dry, bubbly Champagne as it will lift or cut through the cream of the cheese and enhance the taste.
Begin with the mildest cheese and progress to the strongest. This is particularly important when preparing cheese flights, where each small portion of cheese is paired with a different wine. For example, start with a mild and tangy fresh goat’s milk cheese paired with a crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blanc, then move to the Comté and a big, hearty Rhône Valley red, and finally, a Sauternes or a Port with Roquefort Cheese.
The key to the perfect wine and cheese pairing is balance. Here are a few surefire signs that your pairing is a success: