Bread and butter. Bacon and eggs. Spaghetti and meatballs. Some culinary duos are so classic you don’t even question them. Wine and cheese are definitely one of those perfect pairings. They just seem to go together. For an unforgettable and incredible pairing—the type of tasting that leaves you mind blown and at peace with the world—consider the following set of basic pairing principles.
- Choose wine and cheese from the same region. There is a saying, “if it grows together, it goes together,” and generally speaking, wine and cheese that are produced in the same area make nice pairings. When pouring an Italian Chianti Classico like those from Tenuta di Arceno, pair it with Italian cheese like parmesan and pecorino. French whites go well with French cheese like comte or brilliant-savarin, and Spanish reds are wonderful with manchego and mason.
- Consider the classics. Pinot Noir and Gruyere. Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese. Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Cheddar. Rosé and Havarti. Certain types of cheese have been paired with certain types of wine for centuries. You can’t go wrong with one of these tried and trusted pairings.
- Match the wine and cheese by flavor. Like goes with like and tangy herbal cheese, such as chèvre pairs nicely with an acidic, herbal Sauvignon Blanc like Matanzas Creek. Aged cheese goes with older wine, while delicate milder cheese like mozzarella will pair with lighter whites and rosés. An intensely flavored blue cheese tastes best with a more assertive and strong wine like a port. Younger, fresh cheese pairs best with dry, refreshing whites.
- Create balance between the cheese and wine. Look for wine and cheese that might be too much consumed alone, but when enjoyed together, harmonize beautifully. For example, a sweet wine mellows a stinky cheese by making it taste creamier and less funky.
- You can’t go wrong with a firm, nutty cheese like gouda or gruyere. This type of cheese is fatty and rich but not too strong, so it will pair with various wines, both red and white.
When all else fails, chat with your local cheesemonger. Cheese — and wine! — lovers are eager to share their opinion on what works and what doesn’t work. Let them know you want to pair wine and cheese and ask them for advice.