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Beginner's Guide to Wine and Cheese Pairings

Wine and cheese are a match made in heaven. Many of us simply throw our favourite wines and cheeses together and don’t give much more thought to the pairing than the fact that it’s delicious. However, if you want to really up your wine and cheese knowledge and you’re ready to become a connoisseur, choosing the right wine to pair with your cheese is important. Not only is learning about wine and cheese pairings fun and tasty, but it’s also simple. For top advice on how to choose the perfect cheese and wine combinations, we have all you need to know about choosing the best cheeses for your wine. Take a look at our top tips here.

Why it’s important

As much as we love cheese, the argument that not all cheeses are the same definitely applies here. When it comes to matching your wine and cheese, getting that winning pair isn’t sheer luck, it’s an art. When considering your choices, there are a lot of aspects that you have to take into account. Wines can vary in acidity, body and flavour while cheeses, on the other hand, will vary in flavour, texture, age and sharpness. These variances in flavour and taste can make a huge difference as to whether or not you have a winning combination.

But, never fear. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. While there are a lot of complex flavours at play between both wine and cheese, there are some handy tips and rules that you can follow to help you know which wine pairs best with which cheese.

Should you start with the wine or the cheese?

When you’re just beginning on your cheese and wine pairing journey, you will often find that you will be looking for wines to go with certain cheeses that you may already have in your cupboard. Or, you’ll want to find the perfect wine to pair with your favourite vintage cheese. Knowing which cheese you’re going to be eating will make the decision much easier, so it’s always a great idea to start there and then look at finding a complimentary wine.

Hard cheese

Hard cheese such as cheddar, Gouda, Parmigiano-Reggiano and comte are often the easiest cheeses to pair with. They pair well with bold and medium-bodied reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Merlot or Grenache. The tang and sharp flavours pair well with the body of the wine and are incredibly complimentary.

Soft cheese

Soft cheeses such as the ever-popular Brie and Camembert, as well as spreadable cheeses and mozzarella, are perfect for an afternoon of snacking and relaxing. They are also perfectly suited to a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, a Pinot Grigio or a robust Chardonnay. The mellow flavours and smooth textures of soft cheese pair perfectly with the crisp and bright finish of a cool glass of white wine.

Blue cheese

Blue cheese is a bold choice that isn’t for everyone. However, if you're a lover of strong, salty flavours, then you’re in luck. Your popular blue cheeses such as Stilton, Roquefort and Gorgonzola pair beautifully with sweet wines such as Port, Zinfandel or a glass of sweet dessert wine. The sweetness of dessert wines compliments the salty flavours of blue cheese in just the right way.

Goat’s cheese

Goat’s cheese, which tends to be fairly high in acidity, pairs perfectly with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or dry rose. Many people even consider pairing a fruity Riesling with goat’s cheese, which works well. The acidity of the cheese serves to highlight the fruitiness of the wine.

Melted cheese

Melted cheese is a guilty pleasure that deserves to be mentioned here. While it isn’t technically a cheese style of its own, melted classics such as Fondue and Raclette are still popular among cheese enthusiasts. Try pairing your melted cheeses with a crisp and aromatic white such as Chardonnay.

Getting the most from your wine and cheese pairings

Now that you know the basics of wine and cheese pairings, you can take advantage of your knowledge and impress your family and friends. When it comes to needing an excuse to spend an evening indulging in some of your favourite foods, it’s fairly easy to convince most people. Try putting together a large antipasto cheese platter and include all the trimmings such as olives, crackers, nuts, sundried tomatoes, small slices of meat and of course, all your favourite cheeses. You're sure to be a hit with your dinner guests!

Having the basic knowledge of wine and cheese pairings under your belt, you can really put some time and thought into your selections next time you go shopping. Choosing the perfect wine and cheese pairing is now easy. Have some fun trialling the different wine options and see what pairings make your taste buds sing. You will often find that some of the tastiest pairings are those you never expected. So, what are you waiting for? A whole world of cheese and wine awaits you.

Looking for some assistance?

If you’re looking for a way to get the most out of your evening of wine tasting and cheese pairings, consider investing in a gourmet wine hamper. If you need some help choosing the right hamper for your evening, get in touch and our team will be happy to help out.
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