Wine and cheese complement each other beautifully — just keep a few guidelines in mind when making your selections.
Consider the acidity levels in wine and cheese. Pairing wines and cheeses that are similarly high in acidity creates structure and balance. Sauvignon Blanc and goat cheese are equally high in acidity, for example, and make for a perfect match.
Look for wines and cheese of equal weight — a heavy wine can overwhelm a light cheese, and vice versa. Pair light bodied cheeses with light bodied wines and heavy cheeses with heavy bodied wines for optimal results. An ideal light bodied pairing is Pinot Gris and ricotta while a heavier wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon would pair well with an aged cheddar cheese.
Select wines and cheese with similar flavor profiles. Hints of fruit, butter, and nuts are prevalent in both wine and cheese. Pairing a rich Chardonnay with a creamy comté will enhance the nutty, buttery flavors in both the wine and cheese.
Cheeses to avoid:
Avoid pairing wine with cheeses coated in black pepper or strong herbs, as these flavors tend to overwhelm wine.
Cheese should be served at 70 degrees. To get to that temperature, take the cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour before serving. Take white wines out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Red wines can be taken out of the refrigerator 10 minutes before serving.
Differentiators between cheeses:
Artisan – hand made in small lots using European techniques. Farmstead – made where the animals are raised. Fermier – owns the animals, the pastures and is hand made from unheated milk.