Kitchen & Cooking

6 expert-recommended wine and cheese pairings

From blue cheese to bubbles, and everything in between.

An illustration of a glass of rosé leaning slightly to 'cheers' with a wheel of cheese on a pedestal. Credit: Reviewed / Tara Jacoby

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As we finally get a chance to shake off the last bit of chill in the air, it’s time for all of the outdoor entertaining—but we aren’t all quite ready to fire up the grill. Enter: wine and cheese pairing, the perfect light bite-and-sip duo to enjoy al fresco. The best part? You are totally allowed to snack as you pull it all together and it’s a great way to gather a group for a casual nosh.

Where to shop online

The options for online cheese shopping seem as endless as the options for pairings, but we like Murray’s Cheese because it ships nationwide and has a truly un(brie)lievable selection. If you find yourself wanting to branch out from the options we recommend below, Murray’s cheesemongers can guide you on the site via live chat or you can select from their expertly curated cheese boards.

Of course, if there’s a cheesemonger nearby then this is the perfect time to avail yourself of their know-how to create a personalized experience. If you’re doing your own thing by shopping at your local cheese shop, we recommend about a ½ pound of each cheese and about six different varieties. Add in crackers, bread, fruit, cured meats, nuts, and honey for a delightful spread that will be great for three to four people to lounge around enjoying some cheese and cheer.

If you’d like to have your wine delivered, too, we recommend Drizly because it has a huge variety of bottles, automated tracking updates, and helpful customer service. Of course, you can also shop local and consult your favorite wine shop.

The not-so-basics of pairing

Pairing wine with food is all about the balance of flavors. There’s a whole lot of complexity to the science of food pairings, but we can give you some easy steps to get you on your way to Flavortown (it’s a real place because Guy Fieri said so).

Know your tastes and textures

Salty, sweet, bitter, sour, cool, hot, fatty, and umami. It’s fun to play with opposites when it comes to taste and texture. A great example of this is having a spicy dish that makes you salivate (hot) and then having a glass of milk (fatty and cool) to soothe the burn. It’s also fun to pair like things to amplify shared flavor compounds, like buttered popcorn and buttery Chardonnay.

Test your pairings

Have a small bite of your cheese and a small sip of wine together. If you have balance, then you know it’s a winner! If one flavor takes over another then it’s back to the drawing board and more cheese for you.

Wine 101

When it comes to wine just remember that red wines tend to be bitter, whites/rosés/sparkling have more acidity, and sweet wines are, well, sweet.

Have fun with it

Sake and cheese? Yes please! Fried chicken and champagne? Bring it! Blue cheese and cherry wine? Wine not? (See what we did there?)

Now that you’ve got enough to get you started, we can get into the good stuff. We did the hard work of tasting these pairings with a few friends just for you—cheers!

Pairing 1: Pol Roger Brut Reserve and Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor

champagne
Credit: Reviewed / Tara Jacoby

Bubbles are a great match for rich, fatty cheeses because the textures are opposites.

We had to kick things off with a fancy option because, treat yourself. Classic French Champagne is exactly what you want to drink alongside this creamy, unctuous truffled earthy goodness from Cypress Grove. Pol Roger is one of a handful of luxury Champagne houses that is still family-owned, so you’d best believe there's magic in this bottle.

With bubbles that tingle until the end of the glass and softly floral pear, plus brioche flavors on the palate, this is exactly the balance you need for the richness of Truffle Tremor. Feeling royal? We are too. Find your nearest tiara and tin of caviar and indulge.

Pairing 2: Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc and Sainte-Maure

sauvignon blanc
Credit: Reviewed / Tara Jacoby

If you can't find Sainte-Maure, any aged goat's milk cheese will work here.

Sauvignon Blanc is usually all about refreshing, crushable, tart, grassy flavors, but Mt. Beautiful flips all of that on its head by kicking up the tropical flavor notes and bringing in some creaminess on the palate. Of course, the perfect pairing is going to be a sassy little goat cheese like Sainte-Maure.

The tartness of the cheese plays with the tart tropical notes in the wine, but it’s simultaneously tempered by the rind’s minerality which comes from the time this wheel spends in Murray’s cheese ageing caves.

Pairing 3: Ravines Dry Riesling and Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue

riesling
Credit: Reviewed / Tara Jacoby

Choose a cheese with some sort of bite, either smokey or tangy, to pair with Riesling.

Say it with us: Not all Riesling is sticky and sweet. Not all Riesling is sticky and sweet. Not all Riesling is sticky and sweet… Did we mention that not all Riesling is sweet? Ravines Dry Riesling is bringing vibrance and acidity with some green apple, citrus and even a little pear. There's just enough sweetness in there to match up to the hazelnut-smoked bite of the Smokey Blue. Pro tip: Spoon a little lavender honey over the cheese and get ready for nothing but bliss.

Pairing 4: Aix Provence Rosé and Vermont Creamery Coupole

rose
Credit: Reviewed / Tara Jacoby

Rosé and goat's milk chèvre are a match made in heaven (also known as France).

Bright, sweet, and creamy is how the cheese geniuses at Murray’s describe Coupole, a lightly aged goat's milk chèvre from Vermont Creamery. Let this brainy-rind beauty sit outside of the fridge for a few minutes before slicing to enjoy at peak creaminess. Pour a glass of the Aix Provence Rosé to bring fresh floral acidity to this match up and if you’re feeling like adding a little Prosciutto di Parma into the mix, that'll tease out more of the wine’s fresh melon and peach aromas.

Pairing 5: Contour Pinot Noir and Cave Aged Gruyere

pinot
Credit: Reviewed / Tara Jacoby

Beef up this pairing with a side of herb-rubbed speck.

Contour Pinot Noir has everything—soft flavors of fresh blackberries and cherries, a little chocolate, and a hint of bell pepper to make it easy drinking with everything from cheese to BBQ to milk chocolate (but maybe not all at the same time). The food friendliness of Pinot Noir is what makes it such a great partner for the brown butter nuttiness of Murray’s Cave Aged Gruyere and a few slices of smoky, herb-rubbed speck.

Pairing 6: Zaccagnini Montepulciano and Fiore Sardo

montepulciano
Credit: Reviewed / Tara Jacoby

This pairings plays off of the similarities between the equally peppery cheese and wine.

Last but not least is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, one of Italy’s most famous wines. Let’s just say this pairing is bringing the noise and the funk. The Zaccagnini is all lush tobacco, ripened dark fruit, leather, black pepper, and a little vanilla. This is a Big Bold Red Wine that could only be paired with a Big Bold Cheese like Fiore Sardo.

Fiore Sardo (stateside, we know it more as Pecorino Sardo) is a hard sheep’s milk cheese that you’d likely see as a finishing touch over pasta or pizza, but it's great on its own cut into batons. Because it’s smoked and then aged, it pairs amazingly well with the lush tobacco, black pepper, and vanilla notes in the wine in this fantastic mirror-image cheese and wine duet.

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