Cheese & Wine Pairings

People have been pairing wine and cheese for hundreds of years for various reasons. From this practice, diners and wine lovers made a unique culinary art that has been passed down from generation to generation.

The pairings of wine and cheese have a historical context, and this practice remains to be cherished today.

Aside from the customs in various regions, some people find the penchant to pair wine varieties and cheese out of traditional and historical anecdotes, particularly during the early times of British wine dealers.

“Similar to the ‘white wine with fish and red wine with meat’ concept is the traditional idea of pairing strong wines with strong cheeses,” said wine expert Jeff Flowers.

“Full-bodied wines are often paired with strong, flavorful cheese. It is widely believed among wine historians that this concept originated in the early winemaking days in France. Modern wine merchants often recommend complementary food options based on this classic adage,” Flowers added.

Citing a study of food scientists for the National Institutes of Health said that the idea of “mouthfeel” played a big part in how people analyze and understand food matching.

“The scientists believe foods that sit on opposite ends of the spectrum of taste often create a pleasant taste sensation, triggering a good match in the mind. This is true for wine and cheese as well as many other food and drink combinations,” said Flowers, following the 2012 research.

pouring red wine and cheese variety

The study also focused on the science behind “palate cleansing” to explain how food matching makes wonder on one’s palate during the food pairing.

According to Flowers, this is “an oft-referenced concept in the realm of food pairing.”

“Astringent foods alternated with creamier foods often create a pleasant taste combination. This discovery helps to explain why wine and cheese have been paired together for so long, as the two developed simultaneously centuries ago,” Flowers added.

In another study conducted in 2016, researchers in France discovered that eating cheese while drinking wine can actually enhance the experience from the taste of the wine itself. 

Thus, if you intend to hold a party and love cheese while serving it with wine, try to discover at least one of the sweet cheese and wine pairings. “Not only are they delicious, but they might even change your mind about what’s for dessert!” said another wine expert Phil Keeling.

However, experts at Advance Mixology warned that “pairing wine and cheese is a sophisticated food and drink item, but many people don’t know that some combinations just don’t work.”

 “The key to successful cheese and wine pairings is understanding what makes each type of wine different from one another and how it will react with certain types of cheeses,” it said.

Cheese camembert brie on the board, two glasses and bottle of red wine.

Some of the best cheese and wine pairings you can try on all occasions 

1. Gouda and Merlot

Gouda cheese is an aged cow’s milk cheese with a savory texture. It has a hint of caramel or butterscotch when it matures. Like parmesan, A Gouda cheese is rich and crumbly.

Merlot is a sensational wine. With its inherent acidity, it is a perfect match for Gouda cheese. The spicy flavor of Merlot goes well with the rich texture of Gouda cheese. 

2. Roquefort and Syrah

Roquefort is creamy yet tangy cheese. Its sharp and metallic taste is balanced by the sheep milk’s sweet caramel flavor.  Syrah has an intense, salty texture. This wine is dark with hints of floral, meaty bacon, and smoke. 

The two can blend easily as both give a distinct taste of being dry but not too bitter or sour.

3. Aged Cheddar and Cabernet Sauvignon

Aged cheddar has a crumbly, sharp taste. Its texture and flavor are buttery and salty. On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic and rich-flavored wine. Its flavors come from various dark fruits like cherries, plums, blackberries, and licore root or vanilla.

Aged Cheddar and Cabernet Sauvignon are a perfect pair as each taste delivers a balance in terms of the bitterness of the wine and the buttery flavor of the cheese.

4. Asiago and Zinfandel 

Asiago cheese has a subtle creamy and nutty flavor, like parmesan. This Italian cow’s milk cheese has a mild taste and becomes sharp as it ages. Asiago cheese has a strong scent, but its flavor is not too salty.

Zinfandel wines tasted sweet and spicy, with a reminiscence of blueberry and black pepper.

5. Vintage Cheese and Malbec 

Aged or vintage cheese has a strong, nutty, and savory flavor. In comparison, Malbec has a well-balanced smell of fruit, with a hint of acidity. The robust flavor of vintage cheese will complement the equally intense texture of the red wine. The black fruit and anise-flavored wine match well with the nutty cheese.

6. Gruyere and Pinot Noir and Gruyere

Gruyère cheese has a soft, nutty, and creamy flavor. It has a delectable texture. On the other hand, Pinot Noir is a dry, tasty berry fruit wine with a hint of warm acidic flavor. 

This wine is an excellent match for the nutty Gruyère cheese, especially before dinner.

7. Goat Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc 

Goat cheese and Sauvignon Blanc are good paring. Goat cheese has a tangy and earthy texture. This cheese gives a cleaner aftertaste once the flavor is felt on your palette. In contrast, Sauvignon Blanc has a taste of citrus. The dry and heavy acidity of the wine gives richness to the taste of the cheese.

Pouring red wine into the glass in the vineyard at sunset

On the other hand, Barrie Lynn, The Cheese Impresario, knows how to make cheese flavors come to life.

 From olive oil to honey to wine – the pairing options out there are limitless. So it only seemed natural to develop a monthly cheese and wine pairing which would go along with the extraordinary Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi flavor portfolio. After all, terroir extends beyond the glass and into the complex world of artisan cheese. 

So get ready to start up your engines on The Cheese Highway and introduce your palette to some beautiful couplings from The Cheese Impresario.

Enjoy Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi fine Italian wines with the perfect cheese pairings that bring both the wine and the cheese to life.

Click here to view the Cheese Impresario and Frescobaldi Wines featured on the popular television show “View from the Bay”.

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Brunello di Montalcino
CastelGiocondo Riserva
Campo ai Sassi Rosso

Castiglioni Estate Wines
Castiglioni Chianti DOCG
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Castello di Nipozzano Estate Wines
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Castello di Pomino
Pomino Benefizio
Pomino Rosso DOC
Pomino Vinsanto DOC

Remole Toscana IGT