Wine and Cheese is like Laurel & Hardy, Guns & Roses, Bill & Hillary, and other combinations that are frequently better than the some of their parts.
But be aware that the common assumption that all wines taste good with cheese can get you in trouble. Some flavorful cheeses can obliterate the wine making it flat and thin. Others are just the right combination. Here is a little background, some guidelines and some classic combinations.
Since wines do come in a few thousand variations of sweetness, acidity, body, flavor, smell, color and everything else, you should test out our recommendations (and your brother-in-laws) ahead of any big shindig where your are displaying your gastronomical chops. Don’t let this hold you back though because this is part of the joy of wine and food pairing. And remember that you are the ultimate gourmet as to what you like.
• White wines are best with soft cheeses with stronger flavors.
• Red wines match best with hard cheeses and milder flavors.
• Fruity, sweet white wines and dessert wines work with many cheeses.
• The more pungent the cheese you choose, the sweeter the wine should be.
- Blue Cheese with Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, a TawnyPort, and Sherry.
- Camembert or Brie go great with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
- Cahill (Porter) look for light fruity reds like Pinot Noir.
- Cheddars can blend well with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Chevre is semi hard and is winner with Gewürztraminer or Champagne.
- Fotina can be nice with a medium bodied Barbera or Nebbiolo.
- Goat cheese and Feta’s can go with Dry Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Gris for whites or Pinot Noir for a medium bodied red.
- Gorgonzola goes with a sweet Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon or a richly flavored Zinfandel.
- Gouda’s go well with Riesling and even bubbly sparkling wines.
- Gruyere is great with Pinot Noir.
- Jarlsberg is a hit with Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and light bodied reds.
- Monterey Jack is good with Riesling.
- Roquefort cheese can work with late harvest Riesling.
- Stinky Stilton can pair with Port or late harvest Zinfandel or Cabernet.
- Swiss goes with Pinot Noir.
- Your good English Winsleydale will go with the likes of Chardonnay or try it with a dry Gewürztraminer.
There are of course hundreds or even thousands of types of cheeses (a cheese cart at even a modest Parisian restaurant will prove that) and thousands of wines. Think of the possibilities. Stick to the guidelines but always eat and drink what you like.