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How to Pair Wine & Cheese

Person pouring a glass of Sandbanks red wine to pair with cheese, cured meat, and berries.

Is there anything more classic than enjoying a good wine with cheese? Whether you're hosting a gathering, planning a romantic evening, or simply treating yourself, knowing the art of pairing wine with cheese can elevate the experience to a whole new level. The best part is you don't have to be a sommelier to get it right. All you need is some basic knowledge and a willingness to experiment!  

Let's dive into a bit of history first. Did you know that humans began pairing wine and cheese approximately 10,000 years ago? This age-old tradition began with the development of fermented foods. Pairing cheese and wine may have ancient roots, but today, it's more than just tradition – it's about creating harmony on your palate. 

A Guide to Delighting Your Palate 

Today, pairing is all about complementing flavours. While many believe that wine and cheese from the same regions often pair well, there's more to the equation than geography. It is also about having fun with contrasting flavours (opposites attract after all), trial and error through experimentation, and opting for food-friendly wines first, especially when there’s a variety of different flavours and textures of cheese on the plate.  

To help get you started, here’s an easy breakdown and a basic rule of thumb when it comes to pairing wine and cheese: 

Complementary Flavours: Just as wine is on a spectrum, so is cheese. Think of the robustness of an aged cheddar alongside a bold red wine as its counterpart. They're both strong and profound, complementing each other on a similar scale. For those robust cheeses, consider choosing an equally bold red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon.  

Contrasting Flavours: Opposites do attract! A smooth, creamy Brie with a glass of sparkling wine can be surprisingly delightful. The acidity and effervescence of the wine serve to cleanse your palate, setting the stage before each rich and luscious bite. One of our favourite combos is a sparkling that has flavours of brioche or pastry, which adds lovely toasty notes to your cheese and wine experience.   

Food-Friendly Wines First: When you're serving a platter with a variety of cheeses, it's best to choose wines that are versatile. A light to medium-bodied Merlot or a Pinot Noir, for example, has the balance and adaptability to complement various flavours and textures. At Wine Rack, you can find an amazing variety of food-friendly wines to go with any mixed cheese board.

Experimentation is Key: Here's where the real fun starts! The world of wine and cheese is vast, and not every combination you try will be a hit. Some pairings are bound to clash, so have fun experimenting until you find a perfect match. Try different pairings, see what works and what doesn’t, and remember, it's all a part of the journey.

Pairing Tips for Your Cheese Board

Pairing Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling with cheese and meats.

Let’s dive even deeper to help you find your perfect wine + cheese pairings. Here are some simple tips on what cheese to pair with red, white, sparkling, and rosé for your next cheese board:  

Red Wines: They often pair best with hard, aged cheeses. Think Cabernet Sauvignon with aged cheddar or a fruity, full-bodied Shiraz with Gouda. For lighter reds, like Pinot Noir, opt for a nutty cheesy, like Gruyere.  

White Wines: Lighter and crisp white wines go beautifully with soft cheeses. Try Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese or a Chardonnay with a creamy Camembert. 

Sparkling Wines: As mentioned, sparkling wine contrasts wonderfully with soft, creamy cheeses like Brie or even a sharp Asiago or blue cheese. The bubbles help cut through the richness. 

Rosé Wines: Depending on the style, rosé wines can pair well with a range of cheeses. A Provence-style rosé might go beautifully with Havarti, while a Pinot Noir rosé can be paired with Fontina or feta cheese.

Find Your Perfect Wine Pairings at Wine Rack

For those looking for some delightful wine options to accompany your cheeses, why not head to Wine Rack. Dedicated to all things local, you'll find a wide range of local whites, reds, rosés, and sparkling wines as well as crisp cider and ready-to-enjoy refreshments. If you're unsure of where to begin and need a wine recommendation, our friendly team of local wine experts is there to help you discover the perfect wine for you and your budget. Prefer to shop online? No problem! You can shop all your favourites with wine delivery making your shopping experience even more convenient.  

Wine and cheese pairing is an exploration of tastes, textures, and experimentation. So, whether you're a seasoned wine connoisseur or a newbie, remember, it's about the journey and the joy of discovering new combinations. Here's to creating sensational pairings that delight your senses!  

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