Wine and Cheese Pairing Guidelines

By: dgcarticle

When putting together a tasty wine and cheese pairing, the only thing you have to know is: If it tastes yummy, do it! I’m sure you’ve heard all the best known chefs explaining about what cheese works with which wine; however, when you make your decision, it’s all about personal taste. You may prefer one cheese with a particular wine while someone else may like an entirely different pairing. My typical recommendation is for you to be in a mood experimenting. Choose several cheeses and several wines. each person will find what combination is best for themselves. There are no wrong combinations. wine and cheese pairing parties will create conversation. It will be interesting. It will be yummy. And it will be amusing.

Cheese and wine are often matched, and they have been enjoyed together since olden days. Both are foods of fermentation. Both may be consumed while fresh, simple, and young or in their more intricate forms when they are mature.

When joined, wine and cheese do their part to bring out the finest aspects of each other, and even the experts can’t agree on any guidelines for the wine and cheese pairing match game. Now obviously, if you’re researching this subject, you’re a smarty pants like the rest of us, and with snobs, there’s no worry about errors in wine and cheese pairings — say like snacking on Cheese Whiz while sipping boxed Franzia.

There are no hard and fast rules as to which wines should regularly be served with a precise} cheeses. There is a tradition that cheeses of a certain area are best enjoyed with wines of the same area. But, just as one bottle of pinot gregio from the Napa Valley is not like that of another vintage or another producer, neither is one quesco cotija exactly like another. Both are living and constantly changing. This is what makes combining cheese and wine alluring as well as fun.

Even though it comes down to personal taste, certain guidelines have been supported by a majority of enthusiasts. Here are some of those general rules:
• White wines pairs well with soft cheeses and stronger flavors.
• Red wines pairs well with hard cheeses and milder flavors.
• Fruity and sweet white wines (not dry) and dessert wines pairs well with a extended range of cheeses.
• The more odoriferous the cheese you choose, the sweeter the wine should be.
• Accord should always exist between the cheese and the wine. They should have similar strength. There should always be a balance - strong and powerful cheeses should be paired with similar wines and delicate cheeses should be paired with lighter wines.
• A complete list of recommended wine and cheese groupings can be found at

When offering many cheese choices in a wine and cheese party, white wines fair better than reds. That’s because several cheeses, particularly soft and creamy ones, leave a after taste of fat on the palate that interfere with the flavor in reds, rendering them monotonous and bland.

Just the opposite, most of those sweeter whites complement most cheeses. The “sparkle” in a sparkling wine or champagne can help clean the fat in heavier cheeses.Therefore, the spicy zing of a Gewürztraminer or the peachy zip of a Riesling is perfect if you’re going for a wide appeal.

If you’re willing to try new things, pick a big wine to back it up. Try a French Bordeaux or a buxom California Cab. Ports and dessert wines are your good pairing if you like mold-donned or blue-veined cheeses.

To be safe while offering several wines, choose Parmigiano or Romano cheeses. They go with most wines.

A Wine and Cheese Pairing Party to Remember

Here are a few tips for setting up a memorable and fun wine and cheese pairing tet-together for your friends:
• Purchase your cheeses in large chunks for the best delivery.
• Cheeses should be served at room temperature. Pull them out of the fridge several hours before your tet-together.
• Serve most wines cool — whites between 50-55 degrees and reds between 60-65 degrees.
• Reds need to breath 15 to 20 minutes before you server them.
• Make handwritten name cards for all your cheeses.
• Display cheese on a wood chopping block, a slab of marble or even a cheese tray.

Ultimately, the perfect wine and cheese pairing is not a guideline that professional chefs dictate. It is a match made on the palates of each person individually. Start with the basic guidelines above and then try the new pairings. You never know which pairings will end up to be your choice pairings.

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David Cragg is an Web marketing professional for the Temecula wineries with over 30 years of work with the biggest high tech companies. His work started with IBM and then was funded by Microsoft. Today he is retired and offers his suppport to winery managment to help with their Web marketing to help expand their businesses. You can read more about his work for Temecula wineries at

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