Cheese and Wine Pairing

Cheese and wine pairing: a match made in flavor

Is there more heavenly match made anywhere than a cheese and wine pairing? When these two meet, cheese brings nutty, tangy flavors with fat, salt and protein, perfectly balanced by the sugar, acidity, and tannins in the wine. The result: a wonderful blossoming of aromas and flavor notes that you just can't find when tasting wine and cheese by themselves.

For most people, however, choosing the "right" cheese and wine pairing feels a bit daunting. And if you're preparing a cheese and wine pairing for guests, the task can be a little nerve-racking.

Here in Wisconsin, we are always working to give our cheese the partners it deserves, so we've done a lot of wine and cheese pairing in our search for amazing flavor combinations. You'll find pairing suggestions for edam, Emmentaler, romano, ricotta, and all of our cheeses on our website, or scroll down to pick up some handy tips on what goes into the perfect cheese and wine pairing.

Cheese and wine pairing 101: five easy tips

Here are a few suggestions for a cheese and wine pairing that will make any Wisconsin artisan cheesemaker proud.

  • Go for balance. Big-flavored cheeses like aged cheddar or brick want big, bold wines like cabernet, syrah or an oaky chardonnay. Lighter cheeses like colby or monterey jack will do better with lighter wines like pinot noir, pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc.
  • Contrast textures. A bright and bubbly, slightly acidic sparkling wine pairs nicely with soft and creamy cheeses, while a buttery chardonnay goes great with the crystalline crunch of aged cheddar.
  • Consider the salt. Salty cheeses like aged gouda or blue cheese can be nicely balanced by a sweeter wine.
  • Keep it close to home. Wine and cheese made from the same region tend to pair well. A local cheese loves a Wisconsin Wine, while an aged parmesan goes well prosciutto di Parma.
  • Funky loves sweet. The smellier the cheese, the sweeter you'll want your wine to be. Somehow the balance of stink and sweetness complement each other for a perfect flavor relationship.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: why do cheese and wine pair well?

Why do cheese and wine pair well?

Some science suggests that a cheese and wine pairing works because the fat and salt content in the cheese is countered by the astringency of the line to create a compelling and balanced taste combination in the mouth. Cheese helps to moderate the acidity of the wine, while wine helps to clean the palate from the fat in the cheese.

What cheese pairs well with sparkling wine?

Sparkling wines are best paired with creamy, sticky cheeses like muenster, camembert or brie – the high acidity and carbonation of the wine helps to cleanse the palate of these rich cheeses.

In Wisconsin, cheese and wine pairing is a breeze

Wisconsinites love wine pairings almost as much as cheese, and any wine certainly loves Wisconsin cheeses. That's because our cheesemakers really know what they're doing. We've been making cheese in Wisconsin for more than 175 years, so we've had a lot of practice at mastering traditions and developing new innovations. Maybe that's why we've won so many awards – 5,552 to be exact, more than any other state or country on earth.

So, whether you're deciding on pairings for a wine and cheese party or putting together or picking wines to go with a Wisconsin cheese gift, you can be sure that Wisconsin will always hold up its side of any cheese and wine pairing.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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