Ultimate Wine And Cheese Pairing Guide for Beginners

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Pairing Wine and cheese is a tantalizingly tasty age-long tradition regarded as a perfect pair. Lovers of this grand culinary pleasure view it as a marriage no one can resist, funny huh?

If you are in doubt, give a bite, you’ll need no soothsayer to confirm that. I know, and myriads of experts also know that unearthing the perfect pair is an excellent endeavor.

It’s indeed a magical moment when you mix these two together. There’s so much you need to learn about these great partners – wine and cheese! And this guide explains all about matching them together. Either sweetened, tannic, or low intensity, you can be sure that there’s a quintessential wine that would make a striking pair.

Not to worry, even if you are recent to the realm of wine and cheese, you can still take this tour with me, as we educate our minds and taste buds.

The Different Types of Cheese And Wine

Comprehending the essential part of cheese isn’t an alternative, you should. That’s the basis for matching. If you know little about cheese, it’s practical we begin here.

You see, learning more about cheese would profoundly aid your Pairing skill; Pairing like a pro, just like you paired Wine and other things. Honestly, though, wine and cheese Pairing have innumerable options, yet these are six classes of cheese aimed at simplifying your quest.

  • Bloomy Cheese. Just like robiola, taleggio, bloomy cheese has a mushy rind, creamy (conceivably the creamiest) and an easily spread texture. The rind in it is consumable and has a sharp savor to the internal.
  • Fresh Cheese. Made from goat, cow and sheep’s milk, fresh cheese is pulpy and rindless. Moreover, they have a light and tart flavor.
  • Hard Cheese. Hard cheese is salty and sharp exactly like gouda, gruyere, parmesan, and fontina. Besides, it is called “the product of aging,” because of its firmness and crumbling nature when dried. With its sophisticated and nutty, sweet notes, this cheese is not fully tangy.
  • Washed Rind. Orange skin is a result of a cheese birth in wine or brine. Richly creamy, soft or semi-soft in feel. With a pleasant pungent note, they have a strong smell than bloom cheeses.
  • Blue Cheese. Similar to cambozola, Stilton and gorgonzola, blue cheese is briny and sharp. Also, layers of the blue mold are seen in this. Some of these cheeses taste light and sweeter, yet, it still owns a reasonable level of tanginess and sharpness. The softness and buttery quality make it a good choice of cheese.
  • Semi-soft cheese. This type of cheese does not break in fragments as a hard cheese would. They can’t be spread, and the flavor is relatively light with a creamy taste. Easy to slice and have no hassle melting.

With a sneak-peak into the types of cheese that exist, let’s perch at understanding the types of wines that are available today.

To have a good understanding of the world of wine, you must know the main types of wine. Read that again. You must! While you must note that I’m not talking explicitly on the kinds of wine, this brief highlight will open the way, especially if you are a beginner.

  1. White Wine. A little misconception about white wine is that many believe, it’s only made with white grape. But that’s not it. In the real sense, it can either be produced with red or black grapes. For wine starters, a recommended variety of white wine are Chardonnay, Riesling, Moscato, and Sauvignon Blanc.
  2. Red Wine. The production of red wine traces a similar pattern with white wine, but what’s more? The inclusion of grape skin, grape pip, and seed into the fermentation process, brings the uniqueness. A recommended variety includes Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Carbine Sauvignon.
  3. Rose Wine. This wine type is also made from black or red grapes. However, it comes with brief fermentation time. Care to know? It spans the range of 12-36 hours. Although wineries have another pattern of making this type of wine, that is, by simply blending red wine and white wine, and there you go!
  4. Sweet Wine. Want a precise definition for sweet wine? Unfortunately there isn’t one to give. It’s pretty easy to understand that for a wine expert, yet for a beginner, you should know why. The cute character and the occasion of serving, rains the reason for the definition. In the UK for example, some drink wine as an aperitif, while some drink to wash their meal. Some others drink to rinse down their palate. A sweet wine can be categorized into tawny, Port or sherry and so on.
  5. Sparkling Wine. Think sparkling, think celebration, isn’t it? If you are new to the world of wine, this is a familiar clique. The many  sparkling bubbles emanating from carbon dioxide happen naturally, or more specifically, are included during the fermentation process. Sparkling Wines are categorized by region. Examples are Cava in Spain, champagne from the Champagne district of France, Asti or prosecco from Italy.

With this clear strategy detailing the types of wine and cheese, you can without difficulty understand what kind of wine you should pair with the type of cheese you have in your plate.

Wine And Pairing Guide For Beginners

Some individuals are used to a more crude way of finding the best pair, which is, taking a bite of the cheese to assess the taste, taking another bite and holding it in your mouth, and then taking a sip of wine on it to verify if it’s a match. How many folks are cut out for this? You sure wouldn’t derive pleasure doing this publicly.

wine and cheese pairings for beginners

It could be horrible if you have to have a meal with a group of folks meeting for a reunion and you pair like this. To match like a pro, this is the roadway:

  1. Prosecco And Parmesan. With the amazing fizzes in prosecco, the hardness and tanginess of parmesan isn’t a roadblock. It cuts through and pairs excellently.
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon And Aged Gouda. Granted, Gouda has a nutty flavor, but what could stand up to this nutty savor? A full-bodied and tannic wine will correctly do that. And that’s the work of Cabernet Sauvignon.
  3. Rioja And Manchego. You’d get it perfect, if you can pair this creamy and sweet cheese with a Spanish wine, Rioja.
  4. Malbec And Aged Cheddar. The sharpness in this old Cheddar calls for a balanced touch. What’s up for the task? Chocolate Malbec does the work correctly. So much to be admired.
  5. Pinot Noir And Brie. With its clear-cut flavor, a glass of wine that would not overwhelm the taste is highly needed. Pinot Noir is just the real deal here. If you’ve got it, keep it safe.
  6. Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese. Goat cheese is tangy, so what pairs better with it? A sharp wine like Sauvignon Blanc is quite ideal!
  7. Monterey Jack and merlot. Monterey jack is light, and a complimentary wine must be lighter, merlot is the answer — An American wine that is fruitier and lighter.
  8. Port and Blue Cheese. This is a combination of sweetness and pungent-ness. Port is sweet and has a full body. Combined with pungent and crumbly blue cheese; you sure will experience magic moments.
  9. Sauternes and fondue. Fondue is a very rich and delicious cheese; an excellent pair should be a deserted wine, Sauternes.
  10. Riesling And Ricotta. Any creamy, sweet Ricotta would be a flawless lover to a tangy wine. This classic German wine is the right match for this. Riesling is tangy, and both the sweet and dry variety would go well. You should try it.
  11. Beaujolais And Feta. Feta has a salty taste, and nothing can go any better than shiny red wine, Beaujolais.
  12. Chardonnay And Gruyere. Gruyere cheese could be full or melt, want to snack on any of the variety and thinking about a better match? Chardonnay is the best mate; it has fruit and nut flavors that make a good trip down the throat.
  13. Viognier Pairs Well with Jarlsberg. The presence of stone fruits cut in Viognier cuts through the savory flavor of Jarlsberg.
  14. Gewurztraminer and Morbier. Morbier is stunk, the ideal wine for this is is the white Gewurztraminer wine.

This is a ready made list, but what if you desire to pair wine and cheese yourself, don’t even think about the old and crude mode mentioned earlier, I’m talking about you being the wine expert here. It’s a simple thing, and I’ll be diving into that shortly.

You may call them tips. That’s fine, but I call them principles guiding wine and Cheese Pairing.

Guide One

Only pair Wine and cheese with the Same Level of Intensity. This is the first guide to Pairing like a professional. So what are the rules here?

  1. Wines beyond 14. 5% ABV are higher and taste great with a sharply flavored cheese.
  2. Wines below 12.5% ABV are also less severe and will greatly pair better with exquisitely flavored cheese.

Little wonder, the delicate flavor of gruyere cheese wouldn’t make a great match with Carbanet, but would make an excellent pair with a Pinot Noir.

Guide Two

Aged Cheese Will Only Make a great Pair With Bold Red wines. As cheese loses moisture and ages, there comes to be a richness in flavor and increased fat content. As a result, an aged cheese will make a perfect pair with full red wines. Why? It’s experimented that the red wine raises the level of Tannins.

As a rule, red wine would make an excellent pair with aged cheese like gruyere, gouda, provolone, and manchego.

Guide Three

Sweeter Wines Are Better Partners With Super Strong Smell Cheese. Why does this guide play well? The sweetness in Wine balances up with the funk in the cheese and enables it taste creamier.

Remember that funk cheeses have stink and thus will help in the balancing of the sweetness of the wine. That’s the genius behind Pairing port with Stilton and Roquefort with Sauternes. What a delicious pair!

Guide Four

For sparkling wines, pair with soft, creamy cheese. The secret behind this pair is high acidity of sparkling wines, which presents a palatable purifying effect to sticky, creamy cheese. Thus, a couple of Brie, Fremont, camembert and other creamy cheese with a sparkling wine, wouldn’t be surprising.

Guide Five

Cheese and Wine from the same region go together. Don’t get carried away thinking this is a sort of a local tradition. Far be it! It just works together. Trust this! I do too, and it’s based on an actual experiment. Some experimented and recommended pair are: Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese.

You see that they both originate from the valley, France! That’s not all. Chardonnay with epoisses de Bourgogne is from the region of Burgundy, France. And these two pairs from Spain, Garnacha and manchego, are a delightful pair.

Guide six

Confused? Hold to a firm nutty cheese. What happens when you are in a gathering where varieties of wines are served, and you are confused as to which cheese you can pair with the wine. The way out? For all wine types, the firm cheese makes a popular choice and a great pair.

The sufficient fat in nutty cheese is enough to neutralize the tannin in red wine and complement white wines too. So, in a situation like this, grab any wine and Pair with your nutty cheese.

For the truly wine zealous, you may want to delve deeper to know the rich history behind the Pairing of wine and cheese, how it started and why? Take a sip of Pinot Noir and Brie. Let’s keep on with the ride through the fascinating origin of this pair, and how their pairing has survived through generations till our time, from region to region, let’s begin.

Regions Play a Significant Impact on Cheese Pairing.

For generations, history has it that wine and cheese from the same location have been served together. To cap it, historians have noticed a glaring connection between geographical origins of wines and cheese.

And looking at it from a historical perspective, it makes so much sense. But why? It’s pretty easy to know. A large variety of cheese and wine have been grown at the same time, and usually either on the same farm or in the same village.

As a result, based on this close relationship, regional recipes of cheese, wine, and other local meals were matched together. And it didn’t stop at the beginning, year after year, the Pairing styles keep on existing. I want to highlight two of the regions.

French Wine Regions. The French Brie region has been noted for its Brie cheese production and that of tannic wine varietal. Thus, this is one of the most common wine and cheese pairs. It has been for centuries.

Italian Wine Regions. The country of Italy is another producer of cheese and wine. It has a rich history of wine and cheese Pairing, and yes, with significant ties to regionalism. Take, for instance; most experts suggest Italian Asiago as an excellent pair with Italian Brunello or Chianti, and an in-depth look into these pairs also show us how that they are from the same region.

Anecdotes of History.

In conjunction with the regional customs, some high held wisdom about Pairing wine and cheese is deeply rooted in the traditional adages and historical anecdote.

Take, for instance, there is this adage that says: white wine goes well with fish, and red wine is perfect with meat — this traditional idea centres on a principle, which is the body or richness of wine to the heaviness of food.

Also, in history, British winemakers show that if a glass of wine has a good taste with an acidic, sugary apple, it is entirely possible to blend well with many kinds of cheese.

This clearly shows that merchants have long been taking note of the similarities of, and workability of wine and cheese together.

Another idea that sounds similar to the white wine pairs well with fish, is the strong wine with sharp cheese. And that’s true. Full boiled wines are usually paired with firm flavored cheese. Desire to know where it emanated from?

Among many historians, this concept is believed to have originated from the early days of winemaking in France. And till today, many modern wine merchants often recommend matching and Pairing of food based on this adage.

The Science Backing wine and Cheese Pairing.

In a more transparent form, Pairing wine and cheese has been identified as a strictly nuanced art that dates back centuries. And what do modern scientists have to say concerning that? It’s been confirmed! Two of the studies that have proven this are found below.

Opponency of Astringent And Fat Sensations

In the year 2012, a group of food scientists for the national institutes of health conducted a test to examine the concept of mouthfeel, and how it plays a vital role in helping people interpret food matching and Pairing. And the term “mouthfeel” is used to describe how food feels in the mouth.

From scientists standpoint, it’s believed that food that relaxed in the opposite ends of the spectrum of the taste buds, often results into a pleasant taste, and yes results into a good Pairing in mind. And when experimented with wine and cheese, this is true!

This study didn’t leave behind “palate cleansing.” It works to see how it matches with food Pairing. It’s experimented that astringent food paired with creamier food often result in a pleasant combination.  This discovery has pointed to the real reason why wine and cheese have been matched for a very long time.

Influence of Cheese on Wine Perception

Barely two years ago, the year 2016, researchers in France examined that eating cheese while you have a glass of wine can enhance the experience you get from the wine itself. How was it done?

All who participated in the experiment were given cheese and after that, a sip of wine. The sensations felt were observed and recorded. During the period of wine drinking, four varietals of wines were evaluated with four varietals of cheese. Despite the vast array of possible combination, results show that they have an improved experience.

Wine And Cheese Pairing, A personal preference? The reality is wine and cheese Pairing have a long history, traces of regional influence, and scientific backings.

With these, you can create a faultless wine pairing yourself. You can visit wineries in your neighborhood to inquire about local wines and how they’ve evolved over the years. You can use that knowledge in Pairing the local wines with available cheese.

You may find the art and science of matching food an overwhelming task, take into account that an essential aspect of any food Pairing is personal preference.


As revealed by Pete Martin in his claims, his doctor said wine is good for him, and that’s correct. It helps raise good cholesterol, and the availability of antioxidant in red wine goes a long way to be of great help against artery damage.

He said one of his favorite ways to enjoy wine is either by Pairing with a loaf, or with cheese- a combination that negates a little bit of the health benefits of drinking wine.

He further added saying, give me wine and cheese, and I’ll be in heaven. In fact, he insisted, even if the match or the pair isn’t the right way to go, he still doesn’t give a buzz.

What does this teach you? While it is often good to pair the best way (going by the recommendation above) to get the perfect taste, a wrong pair can still be improved. You can always get better.

Now that you’ve been equipped with the right information, you can go pair like a professional. Remember, folks have been Pairing wine and cheese for a very long time, and there’s never going to be an end to the suggestion. With the wealth of information disbursed so far, you can come up with your preference after carrying out your experiment.

Undeniably, in your subsequent wine and cheese experience, you’ll let the attendees at events know you’ve used the tool in your hand (the internet) to match wine and cheese like a wine expert.


I am a blogger turned Wine Enthusiast, Who loves to try new things and this is my blog.

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