Wine and Cheese

Wine and cheese: a match made in flavor heaven

Wine and cheese are both incredible on their own. But together, this dynamic duo reaches new heights of flavor thrills. Picking perfect pairs, however, can be a challenge for anyone who's not a sommelier or cheese expert. And there's some risk involved – who wants to ruin a wine and cheese party by unwittingly destroying the buttery goodness of a chardonnay with a wrong cheese pairing.

A good wine and cheese pairing is magic, opening the door to a whole new world of flavor that doesn't exist in the wine or cheese alone. This, my friend, is what we call the Holy Grail of wine and cheese. And we're about to hand you the treasure map.

Tips for pairing wine and cheese

You picked up some great cheese for a wine and cheese get-together, and now you're strolling the aisles of your local wine vendor wondering how you'll ever choose a good wine pairing from scores of varieties and hundreds of vineyards.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Match the intensity of the wine and cheese. If you remember nothing else from our conversation, this tip will serve you well. The delicacy of a mascarpone or fresh mozzarella cheese would be completely lost in a glass of a big and tannic cabernet sauvignon.
  • Consider textures. A good wine and cheese pairing can complement or contrast textures. For example, a creamy cheese likes a buttery wine, while a rich soft-ripened cheese contrasts nicely with the crisp bubbles of cava or champagne.
  • Bridge the flavor with food. Fruit, nuts, and charcuterie can help to bridge flavors and add even more interest to your wine and cheese pairing.
  • Salty cheese likes sweet wine. The high salt in cheeses such as an aged gouda, feta, blue cheese, or hard grana is beautifully balanced by a sweet wine, increasing the enjoyment of the sweetness of the wine.
  • When in doubt, go firm and nutty. A firm, nutty cheese is one of the safest bets when pairing. The cheese will have enough subtlety to complement delicate whites, while the tannins in red wine will be well-balanced by the fat content of the cheese. Swiss cheese, gouda, and emmenthaler are all good bets.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: Why do wine and cheese go together?

Why do wine and cheese go together?

Scientists suggest that wine and cheese are a good match because the astringency of wine balanced with the creamy fat content in cheese creates a pleasant taste combination and perfect balance in our mouths. Many wines have a high acid content, so it pairs perfectly to, pardon the expression, cut the richness of the cheese.

What wine goes with aged cheeses?

Aged cheeses tend to like bold red wines. As cheese ages, it increases in fat content and becomes richer in flavor, allowing the cheese to better balance the high tannin content in big red wines.

What cheese goes with sweeter wine?

Strong-smelling, washed-rind and blue-veined cheeses are a good cheese pairing for sweet wine. The sweetness in the wine helps the cheese taste creamier and checks the "funk" of stinky cheese, while the strong smells of the cheese help balance the sweetness of the wine.

What wine goes with soft, creamy cheeses?

Soft creamy cheeses like brie, camembert, or muenster cheese do well with sparkling wines. The carbonation and high acidity in these beverages act as is a palate-cleansing contrast to the creamy stickiness of soft cheese.

You get the wine, we got the cheese

In the great wine and cheese party of life, Wisconsin will always volunteer to bring the cheese. For one thing, we have more than 600 varieties to choose from – twice as many as any other state. And while our hometown humbleness might cause us to put our hands in our pockets and sort of look at the ground when we say it, our cheese has won more awards than any other state or country in the world.

In part, it's because we have the only Master Cheesemaker program in the world aside from the one in Switzerland. And we're the only state that requires cheesemakers to have a license – not just anyone can curdle milk in Wisconsin.

But really, it comes down to this: Wisconsin is a place where an entire state is dedicated to making the tastiest, highest-quality cheese on the planet. It's why they call us cheese heads. And it's why we're your best bet for pairing cheese with wine. Or pasta. Or charcuterie. Aw heck, you name it, we've got a cheese that'll go great with it.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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