Wine and cheese have gone together for centuries, but the entire pairing culture has become more refined over the years. If you’re thinking of presenting wine and cheese together, you’ll need to be careful to select the correct pairings to ensure they go well together.
Are you serving Brie or Camembert? These creamy cheeses are often a little sticky and may feel like they cling to the palate. Fortunately, the carbonation in sparkling wines helps dislodge the cheese and keeps it simpler to eat and swallow. The two benefit from each other and work very well on a cheese table together.
If a delicate cheese is presented alongside a bold wine, the wine will tend to overpower it. It’s best to aim for a more delicate wine with lighter cheeses. For example, Gruyere works best with Pinot Noir.
In general, stronger cheeses go best with 15.5% ABV wines, as opposed to lighter cheeses which go best with wines under 12% ABV.
Have a lovely Stilton ready to serve up with crackers? You’ll find that the stronger the scent, the better this cheese goes with sweeter wines, such as dessert wines or port. The strong odour of the cheese balances the sweetness of the wine, while the sugar in the wine makes the cheese taste and feel creamier than it would otherwise.
Intensely flavoured red wines work very well when served with aged cheese. Over time, aged cheeses lose water and become stronger in flavour, as well as featuring a higher fat content. The increased fat content helps offset the tannins in the wine. Aged cheddar, gouda, and provolone all work very well with strong reds.
Not sure which cheese should be paired with a wine? Look for options that are produced in the same region. Goat cheese originated in Loire Valley in France, as did Sauvignon Blanc and these two go well together. Check the origin of your cheese and your wine to best mix and match. Often, specific areas focus on producing products that taste great together.
Finally, you should know that a firm, nutty flavoured cheese will work well with nearly every type of wine. You can offer this with a range of whites and reds and everyone will be happy.