A Master Guide to Wine and Cheese Pairing

From understanding acidity and tannins, to enhancing hidden flavors in wines, this guide will provide the ultimate wine and cheese combos to try

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Prove us wrong, but we are fairly certain wine and cheese were the official food and drink of the gods. Like peanut butter and jelly or Beyoncé and Jay-Z, this combo just belongs together and has since the start of time. Heck, even science backs it up.

But like any good combo, there’s good and bad wine and cheese pairings—and no one wants to tarnish that. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re hosting your own wine tasting at home or looking to bring an iconic wine and cheese duo to someone else’s house, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to pairing your wine and cheeses together. 

Understanding Wine and Cheese Pairings

Before we delve into some of the best wine and cheese pairings out there, it’s important to understand why these wines and cheeses work well together, as well as some of the cardinal sins of wine and cheese pairings. 

When it comes to how you pair your favorite wines with foods, one thing to consider is how tannic your wine of choice is. 

Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in grape skins—and if you like to drink wine, you’ve probably experienced how they define a bold red’s flavor. 

Pairing Tip: When drinking tannic wines like cabernet sauvignon, nibble on some aged cheeses that are high in fat such as Gouda, or a sheep’s milk manchego cheese. Or indulge in a creamy, delicate cheese like Brie or a soft triple-creme cheese like Saint-André. 

Another element of a wine’s flavor to consider is acidity. This is the flavor that causes your mouth to pucker, just like when you eat a Sour Patch Kid or take a sip of fresh-squeezed lemonade. Riesling, Champagne and sauvignon blanc are common wines that tend to be more acidic. 

11 Wine and Cheese Pairing Examples 

If mastering the flavor profiles behind your wines and cheeses is too complicated, don’t fret. We’ll take care of the pairings so you can get right to snacking and sipping or focusing on crafting the perfect, Instagrammable wine and cheese board that won’t leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.

1. Cabernet Sauvignon and Gouda

Pour yourself a tall glass of your favorite cab and lay out some aged Gouda to snack on. The key to this pairing is opting for an aged Gouda, which will balance out the tannins in your cab of choice. 

If you’re building out a wine and cheese board based on your favorite cabernet, add some sharp cheddar cheese and manchego to complete your pairing.

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2. Syrah and Smoked Gouda

If you’re cozying up with a Syrah, pair it with a smoked Gouda cheese. This light, smooth red wine has peppery undertones that partner well with the smokeyness of Gouda.

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3. Pinot Noir and Comté

While pinot noir is typically a versatile wine when it comes to pairings, it’s best to opt for foods and cheeses that won’t overwhelm this lighter, delicate red. Comté, a French mountain cheese, has a subtle nutty and sweet flavor that won’t clash with your pinot or your tastebuds.

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4. Merlot and Gruyere Cheese

Gruyere cheese, or the show-stopping melty, warm cheese that encrusts a traditional French onion soup, is a hard yellow cheese made from cow’s milk. This sweet, slightly salty cheese in its solid state pairs well with a nice merlot.

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5. Chianti and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Italian wine and Italian cheese—don’t mind if we do. This hard and crumbly Italian cheese is known as the King of Cheeses, and rightfully so. It has a buttery, savory flavor that complements a variety of wines. But in this pairing, the Parmigiano-Reggiano highlights the berry flavors of an Italian Chianti wine. 

Looking to nom on something a little more hearty than cheese? Go ahead and whip up (or order) an Italian meal featuring Parmigiano-Reggiano to enjoy while you imbibe.

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6. Pinot Grigio and Humboldt Fog Cheese

As one of the most popular white wines, pinot grigio is very easy to pair with foods and cheeses. Humboldt Fog is a creamy, soft goat cheese that has a citrusy finish that complements the minerality of pinot grigio.

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7. Sauvignon Blanc and Asiago

Sauvignon blanc is grassy and light, nicely contrasting the strong flavors of Asiago cheese—making this combo a perfect match. 

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8. Chardonnay and Cheddar

Chardonnay—a popular white wine—has a rich buttery, oaky flavor that can make it difficult to marry to a cheese. But in this case, the oakier the chardonnay, the better the match for a flavor-forward white cheddar.

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9. Riesling and Feta Cheese

Ah, the perfect summer pairing: riesling and feta. The sweetness of the riesling paired with the saltiness of the feta will leave you reaching for bite after sip after bite after sip. 

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10. Rosé and Brie

A delicate and sweet cheese like brie can be enjoyed baked, at room temperature, with fruit, by itself—or really any way your heart desires. Our tip? Don’t subdue this versatile cheese’s light flavor with a bold wine; instead, pour yourself a dry rosé to balance out the sweetness of the Brie—just enough to not overpower your palate. 

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11. Prosecco and Manchego

Whether you’re brunching with prosecco or enjoying some as part of your wine and cheese board, try to work in nibbles of manchego cheese between sips. 

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Pair Like a Pro

There are countless ways to compliment your favorite wines with flavorful cheeses and foods, but hopefully, this makes it all a little less daunting. From recognizing acidity and tannins to highlighting earthy tones and citrus notes, you’re armed and ready to impress your friends and family with your wine and cheese pairings. 


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