A classic wine and cheese pairing can elevate your dining experience and leave you with a memorable taste in your mouth. If you’re a wine and cheese enthusiast, you understand classic pairings’ appeal. Some tried and proper pairings are always a hit when it comes to white wine and cheese. The pleasant acidity, fruitiness, and lightness of white wine make it a perfect match to a variety of cheeses. However, not all white wines pair well with all cheeses. The right combination can accentuate the unique flavours of each, while a poor match can lead to an underwhelming experience. This guide will explore the classic white wine and cheese pairings that will impress your taste buds. Whether you are hosting a dinner party or looking to enjoy an evening at home, these pairings are perfect for an elevated and sophisticated experience.
Are you looking for the perfect match?
When pairing cheeses with wine, it’s essential to consider the texture, flavour intensity, and acidity of both to find the perfect balance. A good rule of thumb is to aim for complementary flavours and aromas rather than overpowering or contrasting ones.
White wines are good to pair with various kinds of cheese because they usually don’t overpower the taste and smell of the cheese. One type of cheese that goes well with white wine is young and creamy cheese.
Light-bodied white wine
When it comes to light-bodied white wines, cheese pairings are often overlooked in favour of more robust red wine options. However, a perfectly balanced white wine can complement and enhance the flavours of a variety of soft cheeses. Crisp and refreshing wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are great options.
Pairing these wines with creamy and mild cheeses like goat cheese, feta, and Camembert will highlight the wine’s delicate acidity and fruit flavours. Aged cheddar and Gouda can also be paired with these wines, as they won’t overpower the wine’s lighter profile. Try pairing a light-bodied white wine with tangy blue cheeses like Roquefort or Gorgonzola for a slightly stronger pairing.
Ultimately, finding complementary flavours in each element is the key to a successful white wine and cheese pairing. Experiment with different cheese pairings and note which flavours work best with your favourite light-bodied white wines.
It is served cold, between 8-10°C (46-50°F).
This temperature is ideal for highlighting the wine’s delicate flavours, including its light acidity and low alcohol. It is also beneficial for helping to keep the wine’s aromas intact.
Vinho Verde, a light, slightly sparkling white wine from Portugal, pairs well with various cheeses. Some great cheese options for a perfect pairing with Vinho Verde include young, mild and tangy cheeses like fresh goat cheese, feta cheese, Ricotta and queso blanco. These cheeses are soft and fresh, complementing the wine’s crispness and acidity. Also, try pairing Vinho Verde with Brie or Camembert for a mild, creamy cheese. The creaminess of these cheeses creates a nice contrast with the light and refreshing Vinho Verde. For a sharper semi-hard cheese, such as Gouda, Pecorino, or Manchego, a semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese, Vinho Verde’s bright acidity will help balance the richer, nutty flavours. However, the richness of harder, aged cheeses like Gouda and cheddar could overpower the wine’s delicate flavour. When pairing cheese with Vinho Verde, it’s best to think light, fresh, and mildly tangy. For a more intense experience, try pairing Vinho Verde with a tangy blue cheese such as Gorgonzola or Roquefort. Additionally, cured meats like prosciutto will add delicious salty flavour.
Generally, Riesling should be served at about 7-10°C/45-50°F to bring out its vibrant fruit flavours and aromatic qualities without overpowering its acidity. When serving Riesling, serving it at the right temperature is essential to highlight its unique flavours and aromas.
Riesling wine pairs well with a variety of cheeses. The wine’s acidity and sweetness make it a perfect match for creamy and nutty cheeses such as brie, camembert, and havarti. These cheeses are often buttery and have a mild taste, which complements the fruity and floral notes of the wine.
Mild and slightly aged gouda, goat cheese, and fontina make excellent choices.
Additionally, aged and sharp cheddar cheese and blue cheeses such as gorgonzola and roquefort also work well when the wine sweetness balances the cheese’s saltiness. These cheeses have bold flavours that can stand up to the complexity of the wine, while the acidity of the wine balances the richness of the cheese.
If you want a more intense flavour, pair the wine with a sharp, aged cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Overall, Riesling wine is versatile and can pair well with various cheese types. It’s all about finding the right balance of flavours to make the pairing satisfying and enjoyable.
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris
The ideal serving temperature for Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris is between 7-10°C/45-50°F, slightly cooler than standard room temperature.
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris are light-bodied, dry white wines that pair well with fresh and soft cheeses. The acidity and fruitiness of the wines complement the creaminess and mild flavour of the cheeses.
Some of the best cheese options for Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris include fresh goat cheese, feta, Fresh Mozzarella (and other mild Italian cheeses, it is good with an antipasti platter), Fresh Chèvre (goat cheese), Ricotta , brie, and camembert. These creamy cheeses have a delicate flavour and texture that bring out the crisp, fruity flavours of the wine and won’t overpower the wine.
Gruyere is a semi-hard cheese with a nutty, slightly sweet flavour that Pinot Gris complements.
Alternatively, if looking for a cheese with a more robust flavour that pairs well with Pinot Gris, Parmesan and aged Gouda are great options. When serving Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris with cheese, remember that the cheese should be served at room temperature for optimal taste.
The ideal serving temperature for Grüner Veltliner is around 10-13°C/50-55°F, which is slightly cooler than room temperature. This temperature allows the wine’s crisp and refreshing acidity to balance the fruitiness and aromatic characteristics. By serving Grüner Veltliner at the correct temperature, you can enjoy its unique flavour and appreciate its complexity.
Grüner Veltliner is a crisp, acidic wine that pairs well with a variety of cheeses. The high acidity of this wine makes it an excellent match for tangy and salty cheeses with a bit of funk, such as goat cheese, feta, and blue cheese. The bright acidity can complement the creaminess of softer cow’s milk cheeses like Brie and Camembert. These cheeses contrast the wine’s natural acidity while enhancing its herbal and floral notes. Grüner Veltliner also pairs well with Alpine-style cheeses like Gruyère and Comté due to their nutty and savoury flavours. Semi-hard cheeses like Gouda, Fontina, or Gruyère are splendid accompaniments that bring out the wine’s minerality. However, it is best to avoid very strong, overpowering cheeses as they can clash with the subtle flavours of Grüner Veltliner. It’s always fun to experiment with different combinations and discover new favourites when pairing cheese and wine.
Sauvignon Blanc / Sauvignon Vert / Friulano / Sancerre
The ideal serving temperature for Sauvignon Blanc is between 7-13°C/45-55°F. Serving the wine at this temperature range allows the sweet and sour flavours of the wine to shine while also preventing the alcohol content from dominating the senses.
Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with fresh, tangy cheeses like Fresh Chèvre (goat cheese), Feta, and young pecorino. These cheeses complement the acidity of the wine and enhance its herbal notes. The tart acidity of the wine cuts through the creaminess of the cheese and brings out its tangy flavour.
Other cheeses that pair well with Sauvignon Blanc include Brie, Cambozola, Gruyère, Comté, and Gouda. Try pairing it with Havarti for a milder cheese.
The lightness of Sauvignon Blanc also allows for pairing with slightly stronger flavoured cheeses like aged Cheddar or Gouda. However, it is important to avoid extremely pungent or aged cheeses as they can overpower the delicate flavours of Sauvignon Blanc.
Sauvignon Blanc is also good with halloumi and cheeses with garlic and herbs, such as Boursin. Monterey Jack is known for its subtleness and needs to be paired with a wine that won’t overwhelm it. Sauvignon Blanc is a light-bodied, dry, bright white wine with citrus and grassy notes that complement the cheese. You can pair your Sauvignon Blanc with blue cheese for a bold flavour combination.
Ultimately, the ideal cheese pairing with Sauvignon Blanc will depend on personal taste preferences and the specific characteristics of the wine.
Medium-bodied white wine
When pairing medium-bodied white wines with cheese, there are a few options to consider. Pairing medium-bodied white wines such as Vouvray and Semillon with cheese can be a delightful experience. The wine’s acidity helps cut through the cheese’s saltiness, leaving a fruity aftertaste. When pairing wine with cheese, it is essential to experiment with different combinations to find what suits your palate.
Serving Chenin Blanc at the right temperature can enhance the wine’s flavours and aromas. The ideal serving temperature for Chenin Blanc is between 7-13°C/45-55°F. This range allows the wine to showcase its vibrant acidity and floral notes while preserving its fruitiness.
Vouvray wines, produced in the Loire Valley in France, are known for their delicate floral aromas and honey, apple, and citrus flavours. They pair well with soft cheeses with a relatively mild flavour profile, like triple-crème Brie, ripe Camembert, Fresh Chèvre (goat cheese), Feta, and Fresh Mozzarella. The acidity in Vouvray cuts through the richness of these cheeses while the sweetness complements their creaminess.
Chenin Blanc is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of cheeses. Aged sharp Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyère, and Emmental also pair well with Chenin Blanc due to their naturally occurring sweetness and nutty notes, which balance out the acidity of the wine.
Blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton contrast the sweetness of Chenin Blanc and create a complex combination of flavours.
If you want something more decadent, try a creamy cheese like Boursin or a triple-cream cheese like Brillat-Savarin.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Still, these cheese options are a great starting point for pairing with a bottle of Chenin Blanc.
Sémillon should be served slightly chilled, between 10-12°C/50-54°F. Serving Sémillon at this temperature provides a balance between minimizing the wine’s acidity and allowing the fruit flavours to shine through.
Semillon is a medium-bodied white wine produced in regions like Bordeaux and Hunter Valley in Australia. It has a distinct aroma of tropical fruits and a rich flavour profile that pairs well with harder cheeses like aged cheddar, which can complement the wine’s rich buttery taste, Manchego, Asiago, and aged Gouda. Aged cheeses have a nutty flavour that complements wine’s richness, fruitiness, and sweetness and pair well with Semillon.
Sémillon wine is versatile and can pair well with various kinds of cheese, from mild and creamy to sharp and nutty. One excellent option is a creamy and nutty cheese like brie or camembert, which can help bring out the fruity flavours in the wine. Mild and creamy cheeses like Havarti and Gouda pair well with Sémillon’s sweet and creamy notes. Aged goat cheese can also be a great option, cutting through the wine’s sweetness while offering a slightly tangy taste that balances its flavour. Blue cheese, such as Roquefort or Gorgonzola, can also provide a strong and savoury flavour that works well with the wine.
Ultimately, the best pairing depends mainly on personal preference, so experiment with different cheese options to see which ones you enjoy the most with Sémillon wine.
Full-bodied white wine
When pairing full-bodied white wine with cheese, there are plenty of options. One great pairing is Chardonnay with hard, nutty, and salty Swiss Gruyere or Comte cheese. Another option is pairing a buttery, oaky Chardonnay with soft, creamy Brie or Camembert cheese. A Viognier with tangy, crumbly goat cheese or smoked Gouda could be a great choice if you prefer a more aromatic wine. Remember, the key to finding a good cheese pairing is finding the right balance between the wine’s flavour and body and the cheese’s texture and flavours.
Chardonnay is a popular white wine with diverse styles, from full-bodied, oaky examples to more fruity, unoaked versions. To serve Chardonnay at the optimal temperature, it is generally recommended to chill it between 7-13°C/45-55°F before serving.
This range allows the wine to showcase its unique characteristics, with cooler temperatures emphasizing a fresher, fruitier style, while warmer temperatures bring out more complex, barrel-aged nuances.
Ultimately, the serving temperature of Chardonnay will depend on personal preference and the specific style of the wine.
Chardonnay wine is versatile and pairs well with a range of cheeses. It is a rich and full-bodied wine, so it pairs best with cheeses that have similar creaminess and complexity. Chardonnay generally works well with soft or mild cheeses that don’t have an overpowering flavour. Cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, and Chèvre are excellent choices as they have a creamy texture and mild taste that complements the buttery flavour of Chardonnay. Similarly, Gouda and Havarti, with their nutty and buttery profile, are another excellent choice as they have a mild flavour that won’t overpower the delicate nuances of the Chardonnay.
However, aged cheeses like Parmesan, aged cheddar and aged Gruyere are not the ideal matches as they are robust and intense in flavour, which can overshadow the subtleties of Chardonnay. Pungent washed-rind cow’s cheeses will lose their stinky characteristics when paired with Chardonnay. Still, you can also opt for milder, traditional triple Cream cheese to avoid the smell.
So, if you’re looking to pair cheese with Chardonnay, softer, milder and creamier cheeses are a better choice to complement the wine’s flavour profile.
Serving it at the right temperature is important to fully appreciate its complex flavours. The ideal serving temperature for Gewürztraminer is between 10-16°C/50-60°F. The wine’s aromas and flavours are more pronounced at this temperature range, enhancing its balance.
Gewürztraminer wine is known for its aromatic floral and fruity notes. It is a favourite pairing with cheeses with a similarly intense and flavourful profile. Aged Gouda has a nutty and caramel flavour that perfectly complements the wine, while blue cheeses like Roquefort add a sharp and salty kick to the palate. Brie and Camembert are rich and creamy cheeses with a buttery texture that balances the sweetness and brings out the wine’s grassy, fruity and floral notes. Munster, this semi-soft cheese has a pungent aroma and a slightly salty taste, which pairs nicely with the floral notes of the Gewürztraminer. The strong floral, spicy and fruitiness aromas of Gewürztraminer are just the foil for strong-smelling cheeses such as Munster, Livarot or Stinking Morbier or Bishop to balance the intense cheese flavours.
To enjoy the full flavour profile of Marsanne, it is best served at a temperature between 10-13°C/50-55°F. The wine will have a balanced acidity at this temperature and showcase its fruity and floral notes.
Marsanne is a full-bodied white wine from the Rhône Valley in France. It is a rich white wine with an oily or waxy texture. It pairs well with creamy and rich cheeses such as Brie and Camembert. The creamy, buttery texture goes perfectly with the richness of Marsanne, creating a delightful combination. The earthy and nutty flavour of Gouda and the intense and sharp taste of Cheddar also complement the characteristics of Marsanne. Another great pairing is with aged Manchego, known for its buttery texture and nutty flavour. Another cheese that can be paired with Marsanne is Comté. This nutty and slightly sweet cheese brings out the complexity of the wine, making for a harmonious pairing. Additionally, Gruyère is a great option to consider. Its nutty and earthy flavours can enhance the flavours of Marsanne. Other cheese options that go well with Marsanne include Fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Soft blues like Roquefort or creamy blues like Stilton can also make for a unique and flavorful pairing. Ultimately, it is all about experimenting to find the perfect match for your palate.
The ideal serving temperature for Roussanne is between 10-13°C/50-55°F. This is slightly warmer than other white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. The slightly warmer temperature allows the wine’s complexity and layers of flavour to be fully appreciated.
Roussanne is a full-bodied white wine known for its rich and complex flavours. It has fruity notes of apricot and peach and a herbal quality that can make it a bit weighty on the palate. When pairing cheeses with Roussanne, it is best to look for cheeses that can stand up to its power. A good rule of thumb is to aim for firm, nutty cheeses with a bit of saltiness to match the wine’s herbal edge. Aged Gouda, Manchego, Comté, or Parmesan are all great options. Soft and creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert can be an excellent choice to balance the wine’s heaviness. Roquefort or blue cheese can be a bold and flavorful pairing if you prefer a more pungent cheese. Whatever cheese you choose, always serve it at room temperature to get the full spectrum of flavours.
The ideal temperature to serve Viognier is typically around 50-55°F or 10-12°C. Serving Viognier at this temperature allows the aromas and flavours to develop, fully showcasing its floral and fruity character.
When pairing cheese with Viognier wine, it’s essential to look for cheeses that balance the wine’s fruit-driven and full-bodied qualities. Soft-ripened, fresh, and aged firm cheeses are excellent choices for pairing with Viognier. Viognier’s full-bodied and fruit-driven nature pairs well with rich and creamy cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, and Triple Cream. These cheeses have a buttery soft texture and a mild, nutty flavour that complements the fruitiness of Viognier. Viognier also matches very well with fresh cheeses such as Chèvre or Feta, which are tangy and slightly acidic. These cheeses are light and moist, and their acidity contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the wine. Additionally, aged cheddar, Comté or Gouda may also make a great pairing with Viognier, as they have a rich and robust flavour that can stand up to the wine’s boldness.
The best cheese pairing will depend on your personal preferences.
Feel free to explore and experiment to find the combination you enjoy the most.
One easy rule of thumb if you don’t find what you’re looking for here:
Pairing wine with cheese from the same region is usually a fair bet.
This article is part of “How to plan an unforgettable wine & cheese party”
These tips are from my own experience;
I’m neither a party organizer, a sommelier, nor a turophile (a cheese connoisseur).
I just love cheese, wine and spending time with family and friends.
I hope my easy tips will give you the confidence to host a wine and cheese party with a handful of close friends.
If you use my tips for your next Wine & Cheese party, please comment below and remember to take a picture, tag @Fast2eat.com and use #Fast2eat so that we can both marvel at how easy it was!
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