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Take the Risk out of Wine and Cheese Pairings

If you’re planning on serving a cheese board at your next gathering, choosing wine to pair with it can be tricky.

To begin with, keep in mind a few rules.

For instance, contrasting flavors, when paired correctly, can play off one another and combine beautifully. Fresh, creamy cheeses pair well with tangy wines like sauvignon blanc and the sweetness of a moscato works perfectly with a salty cheese like Italian Parmesan.

But even if contrasting flavors pair well, sometimes it works to match the intensity. For instance, light, cool wines pair well with lighter, fresher cheeses.

And as the saying goes, “What grows together, goes together.” Soil and climate affect the flavors of wine, and the same can be said about cheese. It never hurts to match this way.

When pairing, taste the wine before the cheese for best results. And just like some wines, remember that some cheeses taste better at room temperature rather than cold.

Here are a few wine pairings to get you started:

Champagne or sparkling wine

For a brut Champagne, pair with the creaminess of brie and aged cheeses from France and Switzerland, like Comte and Gruyere. At the same time, prosecco contrasts well with Parmesan.

Chardonnay

Crisp, unoaked chardonnay matches well with the sweet, tangy flavors of fresh goat cheese. On the other hand, a bold oaky chardonnay suits a semi-hard cheese, like cheddar or havarti.

Sauvignon Blanc

With its grassy and mineral feel, sauvignon blanc pairs well with feta, Asiago and brie.

Rosé

Rosé is perfect all year and accompanies fresh cheeses like creamy burrata, chevre and havarti. Darker rosés like aged cheddar or Gouda.

Pinot Noir

Pinot noir can be simple as well as fruity. It stands up well with the earthiness of Camembert, brie or strong cheeses like taleggio. A light and fruity pinot noir works well with cambozola.

Merlot

Merlot goes well with just about everything including cheddar, havarti and a nutty Swiss.

Chianti

Think local when pairing with Chianti. It’s a love match with tangy cheeses like pecorino, provolone and Parmesan.

Zinfandel

Red zinfandel has lots of cherry and plum flavors with a hint of black pepper. Hard cheeses like aged cheddar and manchego stand up to its bold nature, or try Gruyere and even gorgonzola.

Port

A gorgeous ruby port alongside a wedge of pungent Stilton or gorgonzola is a classic pair. For a drier, young white port, try Gruyere or Appenzeller.

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