One might think that the subject of pairing wine with cheese would be an easy subject to address, but it seems to be a rather controversial one. In addition to my own opinion, I researched what other connoisseurs find to be good pairings. Among chefs, wine enthusiasts, gourmet foodies and cheesemongers, it appears that everybody has an opinion. One tends to hear a lot of, “This can go with only that.”

First and foremost, I believe that whatever your palate prefers is the right pairing for you. If you like red wine with your lobster, then that is your perfect pairing. I have made the same observation over many years of catering countless wine and cheese parties. People try many different cheeses with many different wines, but they most often end up staying with the wine they prefer. If you research the subject, you will find one expert pairing a cheese with one type of wine, and yet another will pair it with the opposite type of wine.

That said, I propose the following chart listing different wines and their cheese pairings. Rather than consider these suggested pairings as a rule, utilize them as more of a guideline. After the chart, I list a couple of dessert pairings that have worked very well for me over the years.

Wine Type Cheese
 Sparkling Wines/Champagne
Asti Spumante Bries, double and triple crèmes, Stilton with fruits, Tomme des Pyrénées, Crucolo, assorted Tilsits, Beemster goat cheese, Midnight Moon, Polder Goat, Honey Bee Goat, BellaVitano Merlot
 Champagne Universal – goes with all cheeses
 Moscato d’Asti Light to medium blues – Cambozola, Blue Castello, Gorgonzola, Bleu d’Auvergne
 Prosecco Similar to champagne – all cheeses
 White Wine
 Burgundy Light blue – Cambozola, Blue Castello, mild to medium cheddars, goat cheeses – especially chevres, Cantal
 Chardonnay Same as White Burgundy
Chenin Blanc Same as White Burgundy
Condrieu Epoisse, Fromage des Clarines, Moses Sleeper, Fromage d’Affinois, most soft-ripening cheeses
Fume Blanc Light blues – Blue Castello, Cambozola, mild to medium cheddars, goat cheeses – especially chevres
Gewurztraminer Same as Fume Blanc
Gruner Veltliner Medium Cheddars – Cabot Vermont, Grafton Vermont,vIrish Dubliner, Swiss-style cheeses – Emmenthaler, Gruyere, Dutch Leerdammer
Montrachet Light blues – Blue Castello, Cambozola, mild to medium cheddars, goat cheeses – especially chevres, Cantal, Harbison
Pinot Blanc Medium cheddars – English Ford, Cabot Vermont, Grafton Vermont, Irish Dubliner, Swiss-style cheeses – Emmenthaler Gruyere, Dutch Leerdammer
 Pinot Grigio Epoisse, goat cheeses – Bucheron, goat logs, Crottin, mild to medium cheddars such as English Ford, Dubliner, Grafton, Cabot, Swiss-style cheeses such as Emmenthaler, Dutch Leerdammer, Beemster Goat
 Pouilly-Fuissé Same as white burgundy wines
 Pouilly-Fumé Same as white burgundy wines
 Riesling Epoisse, goat cheeses – Bucheron, goat logs, Crottin, mild to medium cheddars – Dubliner, Grafton, Cabot, Swiss-style cheeses – Emmenthaler, Dutch Leerdammer, Morbier, Italian Fontina
 Sancerre Goat cheeses, Feta, Piave Vecchio, Parmigiano Reggiano, most blue cheeses – Roquefort, Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert
 Sauvignon Blanc Soft ripening cheeses such as Fromage d’Affinois, Brie, Camembert, Fromage de Clarines, Moses Sleeper, goat cheese, light to medium cheddars
 Savennières Medium cheddars such as Grafton 2-year, English Ford
Soave Bellavitano, Piave Vecchio, Asiago, Manchego, Iberico, Castellano, Tres Leches, most pecorinos
Vouvray Triple crèmes – Delice d’Argental, Saint Angel, Stilton with Mango, Stilton with Cranberries, Stilton with Apricots, Cheshire and Caerphilly
Zinfandel Gruyere, Challerhocker, Appenzeller, Crucolo
Red Wines
Barbera Fontina, Morbier, Talegio
Barola Light blues such as Blue Castello, Cambozola, mild to medium cheddars, goat cheeses – especially chevres,  Cantal,
English Coastal Cheddar
Barbaresco Fontina, Morbier, Talegio, Fromage des Chaumes, Pont l’Eveque, Grayson, Robiola
 Beaujolais La Tur, Iberico, Fontina, Morbier, Beemster Classic,
 Bordeaux Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Fourme d’Ambert, Cabot 4-year, Cheddar, Grafton 4-year cheddar, Quebec 7-year cheddar, Piave
 Burgundy Cambozola, Blue Castello, Maytag Blue, Chaumes
 Brunello English Cheshire, Cantal, Italian Gorgonzola, Humboldt Fog, Bucheron, Robiola
 Cabernet Sauvignon Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Fourme d’Ambert, Cabot 4-year, Cheddar, Grafton 4-year Cheddar, Piave Vecchio
 Chianti Robiola, Fontina, Talegio, La Tur
 Cote-du-Rhone Medium Blues – Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert, washed rind cheeses – Chaumes, Pont l’ Eveque
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Sharp Cheddars – Cabot 4-year, Grafton 4-year, Black Diamond, English Ford Cheddar, Quebec 7-year Cheddar
 Malbec Robiola, Fontina, Talegio, La Tur
 Merlot Piave Vecchio, Pinzani, Pecorino Classico
 Pinot Noir Humboldt Fog, Crottin, Beemster Vlaskaas
 Rhone Challerhocker, Gruyere, Appenzeller     
Rioja Manchego aged raw milk, Roquefort, Old Chatham Ewes, Blue, Quebec 7-year Cheddar, Bellavitano, Beemster XO
Rosé (dry) Vlaskaas, Tomme des Pyrénées, Mimolette, Lamb Chopper
Sangiovese Acio de Busco, Pinzani Pecorino Classico, Pecorino Toscano
Sauvignon Cave Aged Gruyere, Beemster Classic, Cheshire,
BellaVitano, Merlot
Shiraz Piave Vecchio, Parrano, English Coastal Cheddar
Zinfandel Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago Stravecchio, Piave Vecchio, Gorgonzola Dolce
 Dessert
 Spätlese Fromage des Clarines, Moses Sleeper, Tomme des Pyrénées, Fromage D’Affinois
 Auslese Same as Spätlese
 Beerenauslese Double Cremes – Fromager d’Affinois, Stiltons with fruit, Tur, Kunik
 Trockenbeerenauslese, Ice   Wines, Sauternes, Barsac Delice d’ Argental, Brillat-Savarin or Saint Angel
 Ports Stilton, Stichelton, Roquefort, Arethusa Blue
 Madeira Gorgonzola Dolce
Sherry Blue Castello, Cambozola, Bayley Hazen Blue, Saint Agur

Two Classic Desserts 

  1. English Stilton or Stichelton on table water biscuits with a spread of sweet (no salt) butter served with the best port wine you can find. The butter adds moisture to the biscuit and smooths out the cheese. This is a classic English dessert.
  2. Delice d’Argental triple crème on a slice of pear served with a sweet dessert wine, Sauterne or Barsac (if you can find them). The German sweet wines are also hard to find (and expensive), but well worth the trouble, especially Trockenbeerenauslese. The three together are a wonderful taste treat.

When all else fails, serve two to three different wines with four to five different cheeses chosen from different cheese families. Your wine and cheese party will be a success.

Remember, room temperature for wine is not 70-75 degrees. To help improve taste, I usually recommend the fifteen-minute rule for both reds and whites. Place red wine in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving to cool it down to wine cellar temperature but allow white wine to sit 15 minutes out of the refrigerator before serving – to allow your taste buds to work properly.

Great Wine and Cheese Pairings