Say Cheese: Picturing the Perfect Wine Combo

Jennifer Jordan

Jennifer Jordan is the senior editor at With a vast knowledge of wine etiquette, she writes articles on everything from how to hold a glass of wine to how to hold your hair back after too many glasses. Ultimately, she writes her articles with the intention that readers will remember wine is fun and each glass of anything fun should always be savored.

The combination of wine and cheese may sound a little cliche, perhaps, dare I say, even a little cheesy. Still, since their invention, wine and cheese have been a dazzling duo, going together like strawberries and champagne, Merlot and steak, boxed wine and Taco Bell. Doing it their way, yes their way, wine and cheese are the Laverne and Shirley of the alcohol industry.

/img/placeholder.gif?aHR0cDovL2k1OTYucGhvdG9idWNrZXQuY29tL2FsYnVtcy90dDQ1L2dldGZyYW5rLzA3MjYxMC9jaGVlc2VhbmR3aW5lY29tYm8uanBnIt may seem odd that two such separate entities have the ability to do this. After all, these two products come from seemingly opposite poles: wine is made to perfection; cheese can be processed to fit into a spray can and forego refrigeration. Wine is served with lobster; cheese is sprinkled on top of spaghetti and meatballs. Pouring wine is synonymous with sophistication, cutting cheese is a euphemism for passing wind. Nonetheless, when consumed together, cheese compliments wine like no other food, it's as if chunks of cheddar continually go up to bottles of Riesling to tell them how well they've aged.

The regular rules of food pairings - pairing white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat - do not apply to cheese and wine coupling, as most cheese is white or orange, or, if kept for too long, white and orange with soft green spots. Thus, in order to succeed in a proper pairing, we have to look beyond, viewing through the holes of a Swiss piece of cheese into an entirely different world.

Cheddar or Feta?

Generally, there are several guidelines that can be followed to achieve maximum wine/cheese pairing potential. Many people believe that the flavor of the cheese and the wine should be similar. For example, a strong or sharp cheese should be paired with a full-bodied wine, where a subtle and light cheese should be paired with a light or dessert wine. This kind of equality helps keep the two entities on the same level, disallowing one to overpower the other. Others believe that the wine and the cheese should hail from the same region: it is their belief that a French wine and a French cheese go together as well as beer and the state of Wisconsin. Still, others believe that it all comes down to texture: red wine should go with hard cheese and white wine should go with soft cheese.

Some of the most commonly loved examples of wine and cheese combos are Brie and Cabernet; Mild Cheddar with Pinot Blanc; Strong Cheddar with Cabernet, Rioja, or Sauvignon Blanc; Colby or Monterey Jack with Riesling; Feta with Beaujolais; Provolone with Chardonnay; Stilton and Port; and Baby Swiss - Baby Swiss of course being what happens when two pieces of cheese really love each other - and Chardonnay.

When you really get to the nitty gritty, wine and cheese, like anything that involves eating or drinking, all comes down to individual taste. There are literally hundreds of different types of wine and hundreds of different types of cheese; everyone is bound to find something they like, even if it seems to go outside the general guidelines. There may be people who find that a sharp cheddar is great with a light Vernaccia. There may be people who find feta to go exceptionally well with champagne. There may be people who swear that the duo of a 1787 Chateau Lafite and a bag of cheese puffs is the greatest combination at all. Anything, whether ordinary or not, can go. When it comes to wine, there are thousands of ways to say cheese.

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  • lette says
    Love the feta as it is also lower in fat that regular cheese. When having friends over for drinks I go low on the blue cheese as some people screw their nose up at it and have the belief the smell will taint the rest of the cheeses on the platter
  • Millie says
    Fascinating article - I've always wanted to know the ins and outs of wine and cheese....
  • Shaun says
    I have to say that I do enjoy wine with cheese (but def not the blue cheese - thats the one that smells like dog s***!). Red wine and dark chocolate are a great combination too..very decadent!
  • I think the perfect wine combo would be absolutely anything if it includes a gorgeous view!

  • Cindy says
    A huge cheese fan! although the blue cheese is a bit of an and a cheese and cracker board always goes down a treat!
  • Coco says
    I never know which wine to team with what cheese... however, I never fail with the bree :-)
  • Totara says
    Pairing cheese and wine can be a bit like playing pool with rope i.e. hit and miss. But that's where the fun begins, it's all about experimenting. There are no set rules... One of my favorite pairings is salty with sweet. For example, the salty flavor of blue cheeses is balanced out with the sweetness of Sauternes.
  • Peter T says
    NZ made Cheese is my favourite snack!!!
  • charmed says

    Yum Cambembert is perfect when the centre is still hard while the outer is creamy. I think it's best with red wine... oh and chocolate if you have any.
  • Gerry says
    I think there is nothing better than a wine and cheese night at your local supermarket,what a way to spend your day.
    • malinda says
      Oh yes camembert wine and blue vien cheese

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