A Simple Guide to Cheese and Wine Pairing

Words: Tam Selley

There are honestly few things in the world that marry better than cheese and wine. Meghan and Harry? Try a rich, nutty Grana Padano followed by a swirl of MCC – now that’s true love if you ask us. Not too sure which cheeses and wines are a match made in heaven? We’ve put together a simple guide to cheese and wine pairing to help you get started.

A Simple Guide to Cheese and Wine Pairing

We categorise the different types of cheeses and examples you’ll find at your local stores, as well as provide some insights into which wines pair well with each.

Bloomy Cheeses

Named for the bloom of white mould on the outside, these are your light, subtle and creamy cheeses. Bloomy cheeses have a mild and buttery flavour and are characterised by their soft, creamy centres. These babies need light, dry wines that soften the rich, buttery flavours.

Examples: Camembert & Brie

White wine pairing: Brut MCC/Champagne, light-bodied unwooded Chardonnay and dry Chenin Blanc.
Red wine pairing: Dry, light-bodied reds such as Pinot Noir.

Semi-hard Coming-of-age Cheeses

Semi-hard cheeses are firm yet springy in texture and encompass a blend of tangy and savoury flavours. These guys are usually aged anywhere between one to six months, and because of this relatively short maturing stage, they are fairly mild in flavour and aroma.

Examples: Cheddar, Gouda, Emmental, Boerenkaas, Provolone, Edam and Gruyere.

White wine pairing: Dry white wines that are slightly wooded like Chardonnay
Red wine pairing: Sharp, punchy reds like Pinotage and Merlot.

Cheese and wine pairing

Hard Aged Cheeses

These cheeses are dense, firm and savoury and exhibit nutty and browned-butter flavours. They characteristically have deep flavours and finish with a sharp aftertaste. A well-matured hard cheese will display a crystalised and granular texture as seen with perfectly matured Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Examples: Pecorino, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana-Padano

White wine pairings: Vintage MCC/Champagne
Red wine pairings: Bold, mature reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec.

Blue Cheeses

These guys are classified by their classic blue mouldy exterior and quintessential stinky odour. The reason these cheeses have such a pungent smell and flavour is from the bacteria that’s worked its way down through the cheese. Although these cheeses can be pretty funky, they contain complex salty, nutty and creamy flavours that are really easy to appreciate once you get past the smell.

Examples: Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola and Saint Agur.

Best paired with: sweet dessert wines that cut through the intensity and stank of the blue cheese such as Port, Sherry or Riesling.

Now that you’re all clued up on how to pair your cheese and wine, see here how to put the perfect cheese board together.

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