The Art of Pairing Wine and Cheese: A Beginner’s Guide

October 12, 2023

Before we dive into the world of wine and cheese pairing, it’s essential to understand the basic characteristics of both:

1.    Wine:
•    Type: Wines are broadly categorized into red, white, and rosé, with a wide range of grape varieties and regions, each imparting distinct flavours.
•    Flavour Profile: Wines can be classified as sweet, dry, or somewhere in between. Some may be light and crisp, while others are bold and robust.
•    Acidity: The level of acidity in wine plays a significant role in pairing. High-acid wines can cut through the richness of cheese.

2.    Cheese:
•    Type: Cheese comes in various types, such as soft, hard, semi-soft, and blue. Each type has a unique texture and flavour profile.
•    Texture: The texture of cheese can range from creamy and smooth to firm and crumbly.
•    Flavour: Cheese flavours can be mild, tangy, salty, nutty, or pungent, depending on the aging process and the type of milk used.

Pairing Principles

Now that you have a basic understanding of wine and cheese, let’s explore the principles of pairing:
1.    Match Intensity:A good rule of thumb is to pair wines and cheeses of similar intensity. A bold red wine pairs nicely with a sharp, aged cheese, while a delicate white wine complements a mild, creamy cheese.
2.    Complement Flavors:Seek complementary flavours when pairing. For example, a fruity white wine can enhance the sweetness of a mild goat cheese, while a rich red wine can complement the earthy, umami notes of a Gouda.
3.    Balance the Textures:Pairing textures is equally important. Soft, creamy cheeses work well with white wines, while firmer cheeses pair nicely with red wines.
4.    Consider Acidity:High-acid wines like Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine can cut through the richness of fatty cheeses like Brie or Camembert.
5.    Regional Pairing:Wines and cheeses from the same region often make great pairings. For example, a French Bordeaux pairs wonderfully with a French Brie.

Examples of Pairings

Here are some classic wine and cheese pairings to get you started:
1.    Chardonnay with Brie:The creamy texture and mild, buttery flavour of Brie complement the fruity and slightly oaky notes of Chardonnay.
2.    Sauvignon Blanc with Goat Cheese:The bright acidity of Sauvignon Blanc enhances the tanginess of goat cheese.
3.    Cabernet Sauvignon with Cheddar:The bold, tannic characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon contrast well with the sharpness of aged cheddar.
4.    Pinot Noir with Gouda:The red fruit notes of Pinot Noir balance the nutty and caramel flavours of Gouda.
5.    Prosecco with Parmesan:The effervescence of Prosecco refreshes the palate, making it a great match for the salty, nutty goodness of Parmesan.

Experiment and Enjoy

Remember that wine and cheese pairing is not an exact science. The best way to learn is through experimentation. Try different combinations, take notes, and discover what pleases your palate. The more you explore, the more you’ll uncover the nuances of this art and create pairings that delight your senses.


Pairing wine and cheese is a delightful journey of flavours and textures, and as a beginner, you have the opportunity to explore the world of gastronomy in a unique way. By understanding the basic principles of pairing and experimenting with different combinations, you’ll soon become a seasoned connoisseur, capable of crafting perfect pairings that elevate your dining experiences to new heights. So, grab a bottle of wine, your favourite cheese, and embark on this delicious adventure. Cheers to the art of wine and cheese pairing!