Common wisdom states that when it comes to cheese tasting, red wine is best. But, what if I told you that when it comes to perfect flavor combinations, you’re better off pairing your favorite cheese with a bottle of crisp white wine? Here’s why you should pair cheese with white wine, plus a few classic combinations to get you started.
The comfort of certainty
So why is it best to steer clear of red wine when cheese tasting? Simple: white wine and cheese is an almost foolproof pairing. While certain red wines pair extremely well with certain cheeses, the possibility of a unpalatable pairing is higher when using the red stuff. White wine, with its simpler characteristics, is a far more predictable and reliable choice. So to sum up, if you’re confident in your pairings, by all means, reach for a bottle of red. However, if you’re still testing the waters and want to make a good impression with guests, focus on white wine initially.
Chardonnay and Gruyère
Nutty and spicy Gruyère is a real treat when paired with the tart, fruity flavors of a chilled Chardonnay.
Sauvignon blanc and goat cheese
One of the basic principles of pairings is to match food and wine from the same region. In this case, the Loire Valley in France is the home of both Sauvignon blanc and some of the best quality goat cheese in the world. The fruity acidity of Sauvignon blanc acts as a perfect counterpoint to the tart cheese.
Champagne and soft cheese
Champagne and soft cheese are in many ways the perfect wine and cheese pairing. The bubbly acidity of Champagne, and indeed many other sparkling wines, offer a wonderful contrast to the creamy texture and subtle flavors of soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert.
Riesling and ricotta
The great thing about this pairing is that it works with both dry and sweet riesling. The sweet variety will complement the inherent sweetness of ricotta. Alternatively, a dry riesling provides an excellent contrast the cheeses sweeter notes.
Viognier and Jarlsberg
While it may be fairly obscure, Viognier wine is a perfect match for sweet and nutty notes of Jarlsberg cheese.