10 wine and cheese pairings that represent just how complementary these two wonderful things can be! A cheese board should be diverse, and some of my favorites are below to combine on a big tasting board, or just try one-on-one with the wines. I paired each cheese up with one of my favorite wines, if you are looking for recs.
Pinot Noir and Gruyere
Pairing notes: The bright red berry fruit and earthy touch of a Pinot Noir is the perfect match for the nutty flavors found Gruyere. Both have just the right amount of aroma and complexity to them, without running the risk of one overpowering the other.
Aged Port and Blue Stilton
Pairing notes: Port is known for its full body, sweetness, and bold character. And when you’re dealing with all that strength, you need a cheese to match. The complex character of a pungent and salty Blue Stilton matches up beautifully with an older, sweeter Port.
Champagne and Brie
Pairing notes: The softer texture of triple-cream cheeses like Brie calls for something sharp and acidic to cut through the fat. The high acid and bubbles of Champagne combine with Brie’s creaminess in a nice contrast. And that brioche flavor you get in champagne adds in a tasty bit of toastiness.
Tempranillo and Idiazabal
Pairing notes: Tempranillo and Idiazabal are a great example of the old saying “if it grows together, it goes together.” Both are Spanish, and both have savory, smoky flavors that match together perfectly. The full body found in Tempranillo is a terrific combination with the harder texture of Idiazabal, while the tannins of the wine contrast with the buttery flavor of the cheese.
Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese
Pairing notes: While they’re earthy and tart, most goat cheeses are a bit of a blank slate, so the citrus and mineral notes found in a French Sauvignon Blanc bring out the nutty and herbal flavors that can be found in the cheese. The acidity is also a great way to cut through the density of the goat cheese.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Cheddar
Pairing notes: A bigger, bolder cheese needs a wine that can stand up to it. An aged Cheddar has a fattiness that matches up well with the mouth-drying tannins you’ll find in Cabernet Sauvignon. Plus, their respectively bold flavors will match, instead of one drowning out the other.
Malbec and Edam
Pairing notes: The combination of the nutty flavors of Edam and the smooth fruit of Malbec is a crowd pleaser. Both the wine and the cheese are flavorful and aromatic without being overpowering, and the result is a complementary combination of complex flavors.
Prosecco and Parmesan
Pairing notes: The fresh and fruity bubbles in Prosecco cut nicely through the saltiness of this hard cheese. They make for a fantastic contrast, while the flavors of the cheese are still able to shine through. Plus, these two are both Italian!
Sauternes and Fondue
Pairing notes: The richness of fondue is a match made in heaven for the dessert wine Sauternes. Sauternes is a rich, thick dessert wine. The sweetness of the wine helps to make the fondue seem even more decadent!
Rioja and Manchego
Pairing notes: This sweet, classic cheese calls for the quintessential Spanish wine: Rioja! For older Manchegos, go with an aged Rioja (labeled Reserva or Gran Reserva). Likewise, pair young with young. Both have the bright acidity to handle the fat and acid of the cheese.
If you liked my tried and true wine and cheese pairings, check out my blog post on tips on tasting wine.