There’s something quite powerful about a crisp wine and the perfect cheese. For centuries, people have paired the two—it’s a classic partnership that ignites taste buds in all a matter of ways. Even though for many people, this pair is one of life’s greatest pleasures, figuring out the right match seems a daunting task. To help you on your way to a successful pairing just in time for spring and sunshine, we created a guide to figuring out the perfect classic wine and cheese pairings for spring. We’ll include some basic tips and then delve into our favorite wine and cheese duos—take a look below!
Cheese and wine pairing guidelines
Understand cheese flavor profiles
Now, this is something, like wine, that will take time to fully understand. We’re not saying that you need to be some sort of cheese sommelier, but understanding flavor profiles will help you decide on the perfect partnership. There are hundreds of different flavors, but they all tend to fall under seven different categories: fresh, aged fresh, soft white rind, semi-soft, hard, blue, or flavored. These categories showcase the wonderful variety of flavors. In short, make sure you think about your cheese choices before heading to the wine section—the pungency of blue cheese may not be what you’re looking for.
Pair with equal intensity
This is a tip we tend to give for a lot of pairing guides—pair with equal intensity. You don’t want a cheese that can’t stand up to the wine, and vice versa. For example, pair sharp cheese or aged cheese with full-bodied wines. Similarly, try to match those unique cheeses (a Blue Stilton, for example) with sweet wines. The stink that comes with the cheese will balance the sweetness of the wine.
When in doubt, match the location
At the beginning of your wine and cheese pairing adventures, you’ll probably still be confused even if you pair intensity. To make your search a bit easier, search for the perfect pair by location. More often than not, local traditions make delicious pairs, showcasing how wines and cheese from the same region taste great together. We have a few of these examples below!
6 Perfect Wine and Cheese Pairings
Goat Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc
The cheese of spring, goat cheese is an effortless pair for the season. The best part is, there are tons of different types of goat cheese, so you can refine your pair based on the cheese you enjoy. In the most general sense of goat cheese, Sauvignon Blanc is a wonderful choice. But if you want to delve deeper into the realm of goat cheese, there are some even more refined partnerships you can try.
- Creamy Goat Cheese with a Sparkling wine from the Loire region
- Herbed Chèvre with Vermentino
- Aged Goat Cheese with Merlot
Stilton and Port
If you like a nice, funky cheese, then you probably don’t mind blue cheeses. Though laymen often believe there’s only one type of “blue cheese” out there, there are actually quite a few—one of which is a Blue Stilton. These more pungent cheeses are a great way to ring in warmer weather, and when you pair it with a strong, sweet, Port, you’re making a recipe for success. Like we said above, you want to match intensity. The full body and boldness of an Aged Port will stand up to the stink and saltiness of the cheese.
Brie and Champagne
Another fabulous pair, Brie and Champagne, is a choice everyone will love. Brie is a triple-cream cheese, and creamier cheeses taste even better when they’re paired with bubbles. Why? The high acidity of a bubbly wine contrasts remarkably with the thick cream of Brie. Better yet, smack the brie on a toasted brioche and some fresh berries and you’ll have the perfect treat for your picnic!
Pecorino Toscano and Sangiovese
Has your town still not made it out of the haze of winter? If that’s the case, then this wine and cheese pairing will both warm you up and get you in the mood for warm weather. Especially if you’re a red wine lover, this pair will solidify the fact that wine and cheese pairings are one of life’s greatest pleasures. Even better, Pecorino Toscano and Sangiovese fall in line with that matching location guideline we talked about earlier. The savory notes in the wine bring out an herbal flavor you may not notice otherwise in the cheese. Take a bite then take a sip—you’ll hit the jackpot!
Gouda and Zinfandel
You can never go wrong with a nice Gouda. When you pair that with a stunning Zinfandel, you’re in for an even better treat. In general, Zinfandel’s have a lovely concentration, bursting fruit flavors, easy tannins, and a lovely hint of black pepper. When you pair that with the sometimes nutty, sometimes sweet notes of an aged Gouda, it’s even better. They’re both quite aromatic choices without being too overpowering—they’re the perfect pair.
Havarti and Rosé
Springtime and Rosé—what could be better? Springtime, Rosé, and Havarti, of course! This pair is such a lovely option for picnics, indoor charcuterie boards, friend gatherings, or if you need a little treat after a long day. You’ll want a Rosé that’s a bit crisper and redder; a Provence Rosé would work wonderfully. It’s delicious and delicate so it matches the mellow flavor you’ll find in Havarti. If you’re looking for an easy pair, this is it!
These are just a few of the many different classic wine and cheese pairings you can try. Similar to the goat cheese, the options we mentioned above can offer a wide age variety. This means that the flavors you’ll notice in a fresh gouda will be quite different than that of an aged gouda. The more you practice pairing, the more you’ll see which flavors you enjoy. There isn’t truly a wrong or right way to pair—it all depends on what tingles your taste buds in the best way.
For all of your wine needs, turn to Wines ‘Til Sold Out. Sign up for our featured tastings, and we’ll send you some delicious new bottles! From there you can head to the grocer, take the tips we provided you, and pick out the best cheese for your wines. Or, you can head to our Last Chance Wines and grab the wine that matches best with the cheese in your fridge—the options are endless. Either way, don’t miss perusing our online wine shop for the best wine deals. You won’t regret it!