Wine and Cheese Pairing Basics

A wine and cheese pairing party is definitely what you need if you want to impress your family and friends on your next special occasion at home. Instead of slaving away in the kitchen preparing dishes, fine wine varietals matched with the perfect cheeses are just as filling and indulgent as well.

If you are planning on setting up a get together with friends, or an intimate dinner date with a loved one, a wine and cheese party should be well considered to make it more special. If you love the idea of wine and cheese pairings, but have no knowledge on how to do this yourself, here are some tips that will help you mix and match wine and cheeses for an undeniably unforgettable eats!

  • Know your cheeses

You will need to identify and group chesses based on their general flavor classification. Here are the four major cheese categories:

  • Hard: Generally stiff cheeses that feature sharp and salty tastes are considered hard. Aged cheeses are also identified as hard cheeses.
  • Bloomy: Creamy, decadent cheeses with soft rinds
  • Fresh: As the name implies, soft cheeses are those made just recently, and are therefore not aged. These are essentially soft, spreadable cheeses that have tangy or mild flavors.

Cheeses differ from each other as their moisture concentrations, texture, flavor, and fat content vary. In general, cheeses that are fresh and have not underwent affinage or aging feature higher water content this making them more creamy and mild in taste.  Aged cheeses on the other hand have low moisture content and bearing only high levels of fat and protein, thus allowing them to boast richness in flavor and intensity.

  • Know your wines

Just like cheeses, wines- both red and white come in a wide variety of flavors. The depth and complexity of wines directly relates to their age too.  For instance, young wines are generally fruitier and livelier. You can immediately taste the fresh aromas of flowers, herbs, and spices that were mixed in the wine. Older wines which have been aged in barrels for example are more put together in that its taste is more solid and bold.  Besides the primary fruity flavor from their grape varieties, aged wines also develop secondary flavors from oak, toast, earth, minerals, oxidation, and umami to name a few.  Just like cheeses, aged wines are stronger and savory than their younger counterparts.

Although there are guidelines on how to perfectly match wine with cheeses, it will all still boil down to your personal preference. Don’t be scared to try matching wine and cheeses that were never before paired. You don’t have to learn all these tips right away as your sense of taste will guide you on which bottle of wine will work beautifully with the cheese you have in the fridge.