The Cheeselover's Guide: Pairing Wine and Cheese
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The Cheeselover's Guide: Pairing Wine and Cheese

Peanut butter and jelly. Batman and Robin. A cool, crisp pinot grigio and creamy, smoky gouda. When two things are good together, you just know.


Wine and cheese are both delicious, but paired properly brings them both to a whole other level. You may be thinking, I love cheese. I love wine. What more do I need to think about? But, when paired effectively, the combination elevates the experience and enhances the taste of both.

Plus, it’s a super easy way to impress your friends and family. Intimidated by the idea of pairing cheese and wine? Don’t worry—we’re here to help. You’ll be pairing like a pro in no time.

Pairing Cheese with White Wine


In general, white wines pair best with lighter, milder cheeses. This allows the fresh, often fruity notes of the white wine to enhance the sweet creaminess of the cheese. The best white wines to pair with cheese are ones with a little more sweetness and acidity to cut through the cheese’s buttery palate.

Sauvignon Blanc and Wisconsin Brick 

Two classic crowd-pleasers, together in matchmaking heaven. This Wisconsin original comes in varying intensities. A younger, milder Brick is versatile, and perfect for burgeoning cheese enthusiasts. Its earthy flavor pairs perfectly with the sauv blanc’s slightly savory finish. A more intense aged brick—while delightful on the taste buds—might overpower a delicate wine like the sauvignon blanc.

Chardonnay and Aged Parmesan

Chardonnay’s buttery mouthfeel contrasts beautifully with the drier, more complex notes of a good parmesan. The fruity, slightly nutty taste of the parmesan cuts the richness of the chardonnay and will have you saying, “alright, just one more bite” in no time. 

Champagne and Baby Swiss

Baby swiss is smoother and creamier than its more well-known parental counterpart. It’s mild, slightly sweet flavor is a total crowd-pleaser: perfect for holiday celebrations where Champagne is a must. Champagne’s dry notes allow the buttery sweetness of the cheese to shine through, while the cheese’s tiny holes mirror the wine’s bubbles and makes you feel like, just for this moment, you have your life together.

Pairing Cheese with Red Wine


While white wine is best suited to milder cheeses, red wine can complement the stronger, aged cheeses. Red wine typically has more tannins, allowing it to pair well with full-bodied, flavorful cheeses. The tannins act as a palate cleanser, making each bite and sip just as delicious as the last. Keep in mind that red wine often doesn’t pair well with fresh cheese, as the tannins and low acidity can cause fresh cheeses to taste chalky.

Beaujolais and Feta

This wine is on the lighter end of reds, with high acidity and low tannins. The fruity, bright wine pairs perfectly with the salty, crumbliness of feta. It may feel a little weird to put feta out on a cheese board, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you love it.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blue

Blue cheese often takes a little bit of palate training to fully appreciate. (We recommend you start training your palate ASAP.) Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied, tannic, and dry, which pairs well with a firmer, more crumbly blue cheese. They both pack a punch on their own, but together they balance out to be a sophisticated crowd-pleaser.

Pinot Noir and Colby

The mild, sweet flavor of colby won’t overpower the complex notes of the wine, while the creamy texture of the cheese matches the supple body of the wine. Honestly, though, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a cheese pairing here. Gorgonzola and swiss would both be delicious. Why limit yourself to just one kind of cheese? 

No Wine, No Problem


Even if you’re not a big wine drinker, there’s tons of ways to pair cheese with your drink of choice. Here are a few swoon-worthy cheese combos for whatever mood you’re in.

Pilsner and Butterkase

Butter-what? If you’ve never heard of this rich, decadent cheese – boy, are you in for a treat. This semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese originates from Germany and literally means “butter cheese.” It’s sort of like muenster’s sophisticated older sister who lived abroad for a few years and came back all cosmopolitan. Paired with a light, hoppy Czech Pilsner, you’ll be transported to the green hills of Bohemia.

Cider and Aged Cheddar

Cheddar is perfect with a sweet accompaniment – think fig jam or honey – and cider fits the bill. Whether you choose a drier or more sweet cider, it will both contrast and complement the rich, tangy flavor of aged cheddar. Fall flavors, year-round.

Scotch and Gouda

Just as scotch can range from light and fruity to peaty and rich, gouda comes in many forms: from flavor-infused to aged to smoky. Make sure to select a gouda and whisky with similar flavor profiles and strengths so that neither overpowers the other. No matter which variety you go for, the salty, nuttiness of the gouda is sure to add more character to the whisky. 

Conclusion

Whatever your preferred beverage – there’s a Wisconsin cheese eagerly awaiting to be consumed with it. When you’re ready for even more pairing options, you can set sail for new, cheese filled horizons with our comprehensive list of cheese and drink pairings. Want a meal or meat pairing to go with all that wine and cheese? We don’t blame you. Explore the world of meats and cheeses, or pick something else that suits your style from our selection of over 300 handcrafted recipes featuring Wisconsin cheese. Share your creation with us on Instagram or Facebook and become part of the largest cheese community in the world.

FAQs

Should I pair cheese with white wine or red wine?

Mild, creamy crowd-pleasing cheeses, like fontina, swiss, or havarti pair best with white wine. Stronger cheeses like blue, romano, and aged cheddar are best with red wine.

What temperature should my wine and cheese be served at?

White wine should be served chilled and red wine at room temperature. Take your cheese out of the fridge 2 hours before you plan on consuming. Try to restrain yourself from nibbling, though, otherwise it may all disappear before your guests arrive. Definitely not speaking from experience.

What cheese pairs best with Prosecco?

Baby Swiss and parmesan are both great cheeses to pair with Prosecco. Buttery, earthy cheeses are complemented by the dry, bubbly white wine and elevate any social gathering. Honestly, get all three and thank us later.

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