Matching Cheese With a Good Wine

Matching Cheese with a good wine can be more difficult than it sounds. Although wine and cheese are meant to go together, there are a few things to make the pairing more successful and the taste better for both. Many people may assume a red wine goes best with cheese, but in fact it is white wines that actually tend to go better and compliment the flavour.

Just like matching wine to foods such as poultry, fish and beef have some pairings that are better than others, the same goes for pairing cheese with wine. Sometimes, following one of the first rules of matching wine involves selecting wine and cheese from the same regions. For example, Italian wines may go best with Italian cheese like traditional parmesan.

Another rule is matching light with light. Under this rule, a light white wine might go best with a lightly flavoured cheese and a more robust and stronger flavoured wine would go better with a cheese that has a stronger flavour, such as a sharp cheddar.

In matching wine with food, another rule of thumb is to mix sweet with sweeter. When mixing a sweet wine with a dessert, a wine that is sweeter than the dessert is desired or the wine will have a nasty and sharp taste. The same is true when pairing with cheese. A delicate cheese might be desired for a sweet wine and the sweetness of the wine will compliment the delicacy of the flavour of the cheese.

A classic, when it comes to matching cheese and wine would probably be the pairing of Sauvignon Blanc, which is classically paired with Goat’s cheese, although the Sauvignon is also delicious with Cheshire, Lancashire, Caerphilly, Raclette, Taleggio and Graddost. If you try any of these combinations, I am sure you will agree that white wine is much better paired with cheese than any of the red wines.

Distinctive cheeses or everyday cheeses work well and compliment the flavour of a good wine, but some go better than others together and may be a matter of personal taste. Experimenting with different cheeses and wines can be a fun and entertaining way to match the two together.

Since there are particular regions and styles of wine and cheese, getting the right combinations of flavour in grapes and cheese can be essential in the right pairing and this is where the region they both come from can make the difference.

Since traditionally, wine and cheese pairings were done this way in past years and cultures, both the wines and the cheeses were flavoured and aged to optimize the flavouring of both to compliment the other. That is the main reason that regions are often chosen when making the optimal selections, but pairings still come down to a matter of personal taste.

Since taste is subjective, the only real way to make the best matching cheese with a good wine is to try different ones in combinations, until you find the combinations you like the most.

Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents a number of UK businesses. For help on matching cheese with wine, he recommends Alexander Hadleigh Wine Merchants & Importers.

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