If you’re a child of the ‘80s or ‘90s, you are likely familiar with the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. At points throughout the book, the reader can select their own story path by turning to a certain page, making the book versatile and fun for any bookworm! At Cello, we think pairing wine and cheese should be the same kind of adventure. Plus, we’re all about easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy entertaining. So, whether you really love cheese, red wine, or white wine best, or tonight you just happen to have certain items in your pantry, check out our wine and cheese pairing pro tips.
Pairing wine and cheese – the basics
Before we explore our three pairing paths, let’s set the stage for how to pair wine and cheese at a high level.
If you’ve ever wondered “what cheese goes with what wine?,” the secret to success is mouthfeel! In general, cheese has a high fat content and makes the mouth slightly oily. The tannins in wine are astringent, making your mouth feel dry. Pair them together and everything is right in the world and right in your mouth.
Does red or white wine go with cheese? The answer is both! In addition to improving the perceptions of fruit aromas in wine, cheese reduces the duration of astringency in red wine and heightens the taste of white wine. With this in mind, a general rule about pairing cheese and red wine is to match intensities, and a general rule about pairing cheese and white wines is to match opposites.
To compound these “rules,” cheese flavor profiles can be complex, and options like Cello Rubbed Fontals offer 8 unique spice rubs and tasting experiences, especially when paired with your favorite wine.
Now, let’s get on with our wine and cheese pairing adventure.
Cheese – how to pair with wine
Your dating profile notes you’re an aspiring “turophile” – you may be looking for love, but your love of cheese is rock solid. Your fridge is stocked with all your favorites, and now you’re wondering how to score that epic mouthfeel we mentioned above.
- Parmesan – one of America’s favorite cheeses also lends itself to red and white options. Pour a glass of dry, fruity Merlot to even out the nutty, versatile Parmesan. While Parmesan can also taste quite sharp, a creamy oak barrel-aged Chardonnay with hints of vanilla is the perfect counterpart for this bold cheese.
- Cheddar – it really does make everything better, and because it’s one of America’s other most beloved cheeses, it has to pair well with wine! Going red? Try Malbec with an aged cheddar – both the wine and cheese have complex and deep, rich flavors, making them great complements. What white wine goes with cheddar cheese? Aged cheddar can be a challenge for white, but young cheddar is milder, making it a great fit for the crisp, tart Sauvignon Blanc.
- Blue Cheese – pungent, intense blue cheese is matched well with Port, a full-bodied sweet red, sometimes described as potent due to its high ABV. Moscato, a very sweet white wine, is opposite of blue cheese’s salty, sharp taste, providing that balanced mouthfeel you want in a pairing.
- Brie – that creamy, buttery goodness of Brie harmonizes well with a smooth, ever balanced Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir’s fruity notes meet Brie’s delicate earthy tones to create a magical taste you don’t want to miss! A semi-dry to dry Riesling cuts the cheese’s richness with the wine’s acidity, sure to be a palate pleaser.
Perhaps cheese boards are your latest hustle and you want to know what kind of wine goes with a cheese platter? When in doubt, we recommend Pinot Noir, but check out this and other pairing suggestions in our cheese board eBook.
Check out this pairing chart, summarizing which wines pair best with some of your favorite everyday cheeses:
|The Cheese||The Wine|
|Cheddar||Malbec (aged cheddar), Sauvignon Blanc (young cheddar)|
|Blue Cheese||Port, Moscato|
|Brie||Pinot Noir, Dry Riesling|
Red wine – how to pair with cheese
If you secretly wished Taylor Swift’s “Red” album was all about your latest wine store escapade, this adventure is for you. Whether you like sweet or dry, light- or full-bodied, we “red” your mind and have just the cheese you need – are you red-y?
- Pinot Noir cheese pairing – because of its great versatility, Pinot Noir is a definite go-to when it comes to cheese. From tangy, salty feta to a complex, earthy aged Gruyere, Pinot Noir can hold its own, offering equal intensities to whatever cheese comes its way! Curve ball – check out Cello Rubbed Fontal – Bergamot & Hibiscus to match the cheese’s aromatic herbs with the wine’s medium-bodied floral notes for an instant home run.
- Cabernet Sauvignon cheese pairing – another popular varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon is a dry, full-bodied, and structured wine with notes of dark fruit, tobacco and chocolate. Pair it with aged cheeses like gouda, cheddar, or swiss for nutty pairings. Or, consider intensely aromatic cheeses like Gorgonzola or Camembert to engage multiple senses.
- Zinfandel cheese pairing – with bold flavor and a smoky finish, Zinfandel is the perfect counterbalance to the rustic asiago cheese. While the cheese brings out the wine’s tartness, the wine’s notes of black pepper make it a spicy companion for the nutty, smooth cheese. Not a fan of asiago? Try a few pieces of Muenster, but be sure to select an aged Muenster, or risk it being completely overpowered.
- Chianti cheese pairing – skip the liver and fava beans, and grab a few slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano to pair with your Chianti. This savory, fruity wine is sure to be besties with the intensely savory, complex fruity/nutty Parmesan. Also consider how this Tuscan wine is a lovely match for Cello Rubbed Fontal – Tuscan Wedge, and imagine you’re pairing these two while touring the Italian countryside.
Check out this pairing chart, summarizing how to pair cheese with your favorite reds:
|The Red Wine||The Cheese|
|Pinot Noir||Feta,Aged Gruyere, Rubbed Fontal – Bergamot & Hibiscus|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||Aged Gouda, Aged Cheddar, Aged Swiss, Gorgonzola, Camembert|
|Zinfandel||Asiago, Aged Muenster|
|Chianti||Parmigiano-Reggiano, Rubbed Fontal – Tuscan|
Don’t see your favorite red listed? Check out more red wine and cheese pairing ideas here.
White wine – how to pair with cheese
While red wine is statistically more popular than white wine, cheese does not discriminate! If white wine is your bag, box, or bottle, learn how opposites attract when it comes to cheese pairings.
- Chardonnay cheese pairing – the world’s top white wine, Chardonnay turns out to be a perfect match with Cello’s signature Copper Kettle cheese. This full-bodied, crisp wine pronounces the cheese’s caramel finish for a truly decadent treat. Seeking a soft cheese option? Consider a fresh, young chèvre with its mild, buttery flavor to balance Chardonnay’s oaky finish.
- Pinot Grigio cheese pairing – as a dry, fruity wine, Pinot Grigio finds itself in need of a non-confrontational companion! Mozzarella turns out to be a match, with a mild, delicate flavor. Other fresh, young cheeses like cheddar and gouda offer a nutty profile, perfect for your Pinot!
- Champagne cheese pairing – does champagne give you that bubbly feeling? Let that lightness pair with fattier, more decadent cheeses. We suggest mascarpone or goat cheese, or perhaps colby cheese for that desired savory-sweet combo.
- Riesling cheese pairing – if you love Riesling, perhaps it’s because of this wine’s extreme versatility. From super sweet to super dry, this wine varies as much as the cheeses it complements. For the sweet Riesling, consider an aged gouda or Gorgonzola; drier Rieslings pair well with brie and ricotta.
Check out this pairing chart, summarizing how to pair cheese with your favorite white wine:
|The White Wine||The Cheese|
|Chardonnay||Copper Kettle, Chevre|
|Pinot Grigio||Mozzarella, Young cheddar, Young gouda|
|Champagne||Mascarpone, Goat, Colby|
|Riesling||Aged gouda, Gorgonzola, Brie, Ricotta|
For more fancy-striking white wine and cheese pairing ideas, click here.
Your wine and cheese pairing adventure
No matter which pairing path you may choose, may you also find freedom to explore and break the mold (unless it’s the blue cheese cultures – don’t mess with those) when it comes to pairing wine and cheese. For a quick, easy wine and cheese thrill, hop on a flight! Select 3 wines and pick up a Cello Cheese Flight and write your own future.
Before you navigate a trip to the store, here’s our official Cello Wine and Cheese Pairing Chart – may it be your guide and your friend on your wine and cheese pairing journey.