Food & Wine
Wine and Cheese: Pairings Guide and Chart
January 12, 2022
Written By Coravin
It’s been said time and time again that good things come in pairs. One of the best examples might be two of life’s greatest culinary treasures: wine and cheese.
Mastering the art of wine and cheese pairing comes with its challenges, mostly thanks to the endless varieties of both cheese and wine. Plus, when facing a pairing decision, there are a number of elements to take into consideration like acidity, tannin, texture, and flavor for wine, then taste, texture, flavor, and smell for cheese.
We’re here to help make things easier. Read on for our wine recommendations based on cheese styles then we get granular, pairing some of our favorite cheese varieties with bottles available on the Coravin Wine Shop.
Wine and cheese guide
Taking some of those elements – taste, texture, flavor, and smell – into consideration, here are some guidelines when it comes to pairing cheese with wine.
Delicate, buttery cheeses like brie and camembert are great to have on your cheese platter because they pair well with most wines. The best pairings are sparkling wines, all whites, and those sweet dessert wines. Rosé and red wines are also good picks, but less so than the aforementioned wines.
A nutty, hard cheese, namely gruyere, comte, and mozzarella also pair well with all wines but our top picks for these tasty cheeses are white wines, sparkling wines, and light to medium-bodied reds.
Salty, crumbly cheeses like feta, cotija, and halloumi are typically a component of meals like salads, grain bowls, tacos, and sandwiches or burgers. To pair with these types of cheese, we recommend sparkling wine, light-bodied whites, and rosés. Think of those refreshing wines you love to sip on during the warmer months.
If smelly cheese like blue cheese or gorgonzola are on your cheese platter or a component of your meal, you want your wine to be aromatic and sweet. Try an aromatic white like Albariño, Riesling, and Moscato or a dessert white like ice wine or Tokaji.
Sour and creamy cheeses like sour cream, cream cheese, and ricotta are typically tangy and mildly-flavored making them a great pairing for sparkling wines, light-bodied whites, and most lighter reds. In general, we recommend avoiding a full-bodied red wine.
Now onto some of those fan-favorite fruity, umami cheeses like cheddar, couda, colby, and muenster. Most wines pair well with these cheeses but topping our list are medium to full-bodied reds. For dry and salty umami cheeses like parmesan, pecorino, asiago, and manchego, we recommend everything except dessert wine. Exceptional picks include sparkling wine, light-bodied whites, and medium-bodied reds.
Wine and cheese pairings
Our love for wine and cheese runs deep, so we want to make sure we go a little deeper and provide some really on-point recommendations for pairings. Here are our top 5 cheese platter picks paired with wines from the Coravin Wine Shop:
Gruyere and 2018 Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel Napa Valley: Mouthwatering acidity and slightly savory finish of this 2018 Zinfandel makes you crave a bite of gruyere after every sip. As you pour, you’ll pick up on notes of strawberry, then spicy aromas of clove and pepper start to come through. On the tongue, you’ll taste boysenberry and blood orange.
Camembert and 2019 Duckhorn Migration Chardonnay Sonoma Coast: There’s no shortage of Chardonnay on the Coravin Wine Shop. We chose this 2019 bottle of Duckhorn because of its hints of graham cracker, vanilla, and sweet baking spices. It’s smooth mouthfeel pairs perfectly with a creamy camembert.
Parmesan and 2020 Aquilini Red Mountain Sauvignon Blanc: This acidic white wine has aromas of white peach, lychee, citrus, and pineapple, and has a clean finish that really cleanses the palette in between bites of a salty, umami cheese like parmesan.
Chevre and 2013 Sektkellerei Christian Madl Von Weissen Sekt: We love this Austrian Sekt with it’s yellow peach, nectarine, and herbal aromas together with a ripe citrus palette.
Blue cheese and 2019 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Blanc: We know blue cheese is one of those hate-it-or-love-it cheeses but we love it. To pair with this pungent smell and acquired taste, we recommend a white that can stand its own like Tablas Creek Vineyard's flagship white blend. It’s wildflower honey, baking spice, and citrus pith aroma, coupled with a textured and dry mouthfeel works perfectly with smelly cheese.
Need a visual guide? Here’s a simple wine and cheese pairing chart with some of our favorites.
How to set up a wine and cheese tasting
Is your mouth watering just thinking about the wine and cheese pairings above? Let’s talk logistics when it comes to setting up a wine and cheese tasting. You’ll need wine and cheese, of course, plus plain crackers and your Coravin wine preservation system. With Coravin, you can taste a little bit of wine from multiple bottles without worrying about when you’ll finish the rest.
Some Coravin accessories you might find useful are extra argon capsules, Timeless or Pivot aerator, Timeless needle, and Timeless Screw Caps or Pivot Stoppers. Having these on hand will give you the confidence to go all-out in your wine and cheese pairing plan.
Here are some additional tips for setting up a fun wine and cheese tasting:
Take the cheeses out of the fridge around 2 hours before the party starts; most cheeses taste better when enjoyed at room temperature.
When thinking about organizing a wine and cheese party, keep the number of guests under 12 so you aren’t overwhelmed and can properly take care of everyone.
Try offering no more than five different cheeses. It’s usually recommended to offer 2 to 4-ounce portions so guests can sample all the different varieties. For large parties, create a few different platters so guests aren’t crowded around one area.
Speaking or portions, portion your cheeses ahead of time so your guests don’t need to think about this part.
Have other neutral snacks available like sliced baguette, almonds, and lightly salted crackers.
Now it’s time to get tasting. Use our wine and cheese pairing recommendations to craft your next cheese platter or tasting party. Share your photos with us on social, @coravin. Cheers to great wine and tasty cheese!