Red Wine Cheese Pairing

The secret to red wine and cheese pairing

When you hear "wine and cheese," you likely picture a red wine and cheese pairing. But scratch the surface of this iconic image and you'll discover red wine's dirty little secret: it doesn't play that well with cheese. Many fine reds either inhibit the flavor of cheese or don't taste that good when served with cheese. It's easy to see why: the tannins in red wine don't pair well with many kinds of cheese, which is why experts often recommend white wine or beer.

Not to worry. If you're intent on a red wine and cheese pairing, there's a Wisconsin Cheese that's perfect for whatever bottle of red you're uncorking. That's because, in Wisconsin, we make more than 600 flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese. It's no wonder that red wine can always find a partner in the State of Cheese.

Take a cruise through our website to see all the Wisconsin cheeses that pair well with reds. Search our index of recipes for great cheese and charcuterie ideas. Or scroll down for a few recommendations on some of our favorite pairings.

Tips for pairing red wine and cheese

Deciding on a red wine and cheese pairing is more art than science. There are no hard and fast rules, and personal preference is a big factor. That said, here are a few guidelines for pairing red wine and cheese like a pro.

  • Match heavy body with heavy flavor. When drinking a red that is dry and heavy, avoid lighter cheeses or creamy cheeses – they'll be overpowered by the wine. Go instead with stronger, aged cheeses like aged gouda, cheddar, and parmesan. These are all great options for a cabernet sauvignon pairing¸ for example. On the flip side, lighter, creamier, or white mold cheeses do well with a light and fruity red like a pinot or a gamay. Camembert cheese and merlot can be a good match, for instance.
  • Pair sweet reds with rich cheeses. When pairing sherry, madeira, or port wine and cheese, choose a rich variety like a soft blue cheese.
  • Let opposites attract. A buttery, fresh cheese can pair well with a tangy sauvignon blanc, while a sweet Moscato works beautifully with the saltiness of a blue cheese or parmesan.
  • Things that grow together often go together. Wine and cheese that originate from the same region are often a great match.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What's the best red wine and cheese pairing?

What's the best red wine and cheese pairing?

Reds are harder than whites to pair with cheese because of the tannins in the wine. But there are many red wine and cheese pairings that deliver an extraordinary combination of flavor. Cabernet sauvignon pairs nicely with hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan. Malbecs pair well with asiago and aged cheddar. Softer, fruitier wines like merlot can complement pungent blue cheeses as well as soft varieties like camembert. And a light and delicate pinot noir works well with brie, gouda, and gruyere.

Why do wine and cheese taste so good together?

While people have been pairing wine and cheese for centuries, only recently have scientists delved into the question of why. It seems that the astringency of wine and the fat content of cheese form a perfect and harmonious balance of flavors and texture in the mouth that feels and tastes quite pleasing.

Why pair red wine with Wisconsin cheese?

Pairing red wine and cheese is an art. To find the perfect peer for your pinot or comrade for your cab, you want a cheese that can unlock luscious worlds of taste and texture. In short, you want a milky masterpiece of cheese.

That's why Wisconsin cheese is so perfect for pairing with red wine. Our 1200 cheesemakers produce the tastiest, highest-quality cheese on the planet. Each variety is created and crafted to be the cream of the cheese crop, a monument to the possibilities of what cheese can be. It's why we've won so many awards for our cheese – more than any other state or country in the world.

So, next time you're picking a cheese for a red wine pairing, for a meat and cheese board, or just for dinner on Wednesday night, take home a work of art in cheese from Wisconsin.

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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