My Cheese and Wine Pairing Cheat Sheet

Few things pair so perfectly than wine and cheese. But, just because they work so well together doesn’t mean it’s not a pain in the butt to make the “right decision.” That’s why I made up this handy cheat sheet for making the ultimate cheese and wine pairing, so you can chill out and get to drinking already!

In this guide, I’ll share some tips and tricks, plus my personal go-to wine and cheese pairings. 

Meat fruit and chocolate board.

A Quick Look at Cheese and Wine Pairings

Here are a few quick tips for making up your mind at the cheese aisle:

Match the intensity – Richly flavored cheeses need equally rich wines and vice versa. Otherwise, the wine will be overpowered. Ex. Cabernet Sauvignon with aged cheddar or feta and sweet Riesling.

If it grows together, it goes together – When in doubt, pair a wine with cheeses from that region. Ex. Rioja blend with manchego or pecorino with Chianti.

If you can’t decide, go with a firm semi-mild cheese – Something with flavor that won’t overpower is a safe bet. Think Swiss cheese, asiago, or edam. Each pairs perfectly with red and white wines like Syrah and Pinot Gris.

Decide to pair to compliment or pair to contrast – Check out my beginner’s guide on how to pair wine with food to learn more!

Fresh and soft cheese and wine pairing

Young fresh cheeses are generally mild and mild in flavor, with a creamy texture and low acidity. Despite the variety of cheeses in this category, most will pair nicely with dry white wines, rosé, and sparkling wines. 

Cheeses: Feta, ricotta, cottage cheese, cream cheese, mascarpone, burrata, buffalo mozzarella

Wines to pair: Pinot grigio, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, dry rosé, Prosecco and other sparkling wines, Viognier, Albariño, Rhône white blends

A charcuterie board with a cheese wheel, a knife, and a pickle, next to a glass of red wine and an empty plate.

Semi-hard cheese

Firm in texture with a subtle saltiness and creamy flavor, semi-hard cheeses need a mild-mannered, medium-bodied wine to pair that will accentuate without being overpowering.

Cheeses: Gouda, manchego, havarti, gruyère, mild cheddar, edam

Wines to pair: Aged Chenin Blanc, full-bodied Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Pinot Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Barbera, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot

Four wheels of cheese stacked on each other with a bunch of grapes atop and roses on the side.

Firm-aged cheese

These cheeses are firm in texture with less creamy and more salty, buttery, toasted nut flavors. Full-bodied wines are best as they will accentuate the savoriness of the cheese and appear more sweet and fruity in comparison.

Cheeses: Aged cheddar, aged gouda, pecorino, mimolette, parmigiano, asiago, aged gruyère

Wines to pair: Nebbiolo, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, GSM blends, Rioja blend, Champagne, Petite Sirah, full-bodied Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc

Cut wedges of hard cheese on a blue counter.

Goat’s milk cheese

Despite the range of styles, it’s safe to say grassy, earthy, and tangy flavors are common. Pair goat’s milk cheeses with dry white wines that will compliment the acidity and green flavors. 

Cheeses: Chèvre, goat brie, feta, gouda, Humboldt fog, drunken goat cheese

Wines to pair: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, dry Riesling, sparkling wine, Provençal rosé, Chablis, Picpoul

A charcuterie display on a white plate next to two glasses of red wine and a bottle of wine.

Stinky cheese

Stinky cheeses can be tricky since they often have a potent aroma but a mild, tangy flavor. They pair equally well with sweet wines, aromatic white wines, and bold, tannic red wines. 

Cheeses: Camambert, brie, limburger, roquefort, taleggio

Wines to pair: Gewürztraminer, sweet Riesling, Sauternes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz

Two wedges of cheese, a sprig of flowers, and a baguette with a bite ripped out of it.

Blue cheese

Blue cheeses are salty, strong, savory, and tangy. They require full-bodied wines to stand up to the intensity, which in turn will make the wine taste sweeter and fruitier in comparison. 

Cheeses: Gorgonzola, stilton, roquefort, cambozola, bleu d’Auvergne

Wines to pair: Port, sweet sherry, Sauternes, Malbec, late-harvest

A wedge of blue cheese atop a wood counter.

10 Epic Wine and Cheese Pairings

  1. Ruby port and blue cheese
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon and aged cheddar
  3. Sauvignon Blanc and chèvre
  4. Sauternes and brie
  5. Chardonnay and burrata
  6. Rioja and Iberico
  7. Gewürztraminer and munster
  8. Pinot Grigio and ricotta 
  9. Tannat and double cream Camembert 
  10. Chianti and fontina

Want to learn more about wine?

I can not recommend The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil enough. I consistently refer to this book when creating content for myself and my clients. It’s reliable, easy to read, and remarkably well-written.

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