Cheese and Wine Pairing Guide With Chart

Karen Frazier
wine and cheese

There are no strict rules for finding perfect wine and cheese combinations. As with all food and wine pairings, taste is subjective. However, some wines may work better with different cheeses based on the flavor profiles of both the wine and the cheese.

Classic Wine and Cheese Combinations Guidelines

Though there are no strict rules when matching the right wine with the right cheese, due to the strong flavors in certain cheeses and wines, there are a few guidelines.

  • Match by intensity of flavors - Big, intense wines generally match well with cheeses that have strong flavor characteristics and light, fruitier wines generally match well with creamier, mellow cheeses.
  • Pair hard cheeses with red wine.
  • Pair soft, creamy cheeses with white wine.

Matching Wine and Cheese via Region

There's a saying in cooking, "If it grows together, it goes together." This can be true in matching wine and cheese as well. However, matching wine and cheese by region isn't a failsafe and doesn't guarantee that the two will marry well together, but it's a good general guideline to use. So, if you're drinking an Italian red, pair it with an Italian cheese like Parmesan, Asiago or Gorgonzola. If you're drinking a nice French white, choose a French cheese like Boursin, Camembert, or Roquefort.

Wine and cheese pairing

Wine and Cheese Pairing Chart

The chart below is far from all-inclusive, but it gives you a good idea of some wines to pair with cheeses.

Cheese Wines to Pair
Asiago
Bleu cheese
Boursin
Brie
  • Barsac
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cava
  • Champagne
  • Crémant
  • Dessert wines
  • Ice wine
  • Moscato
  • Moscato d'Asti
  • Muscat Canelli
  • Port
  • Prosecco
  • Sauternes
  • Sekt
  • Sémillon

  • Sparkling wine

Burrata
  • Barbaresco
  • Barolo
  • Nebbiolo
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Pinot Gris
  • Riesling (dry)
Camembert
  • Bordeaux
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Meritage
  • Merlot
  • Moscato
  • Moscato d'Asti
  • Muscat Canelli
  • Riesling (dry)
  • Sémillon
  • Super Tuscan
Cheddar, mild
  • Cava
  • Chablis
  • Champagne
  • Chardonnay
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Crémant
  • Prosecco
  • Sekt
  • Sémillon
  • Sparkling wine
Cheddar, sharp
  • Bordeaux
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Côte-Rôtie
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Garnacha
  • Grenache
  • GSM
  • Hermitage
  • Meritage
  • Priorat
  • Shiraz
  • Syrah
Cheddar, white
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Sémillon
Chèvre
  • Burgundy, white
  • Cava
  • Chablis
  • Champagne
  • Chardonnay
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Crémant
  • Garnacha
  • Grenache
  • GSM
  • Moscato
  • Moscato d'Asti
  • Muscat Canelli
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Pinot Gris
  • Priorat
  • Prosecco
  • Ribera del Duero
  • Rioja
  • Sekt
  • Sparkling wine
  • Tempranillo
Colby
  • Burgundy (white)
  • Cava
  • Chablis
  • Champagne
  • Chardonnay
  • Crémant
  • Prosecco
  • Riesling (dry or sweet)
  • Sekt
  • Sparkling wine
Feta
  • Burgundy (red)
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Garnacha
  • Grenache
  • GSM
  • Pinot Noir
  • Primitivo
  • Priorat
  • Torrontés
  • Zinfandel
Gorgonzola
  • Bordeaux
  • Brunello
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chianti
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Côte-Rôtie
  • GSM
  • Hermitage
  • Malbec
  • Merlot
  • Meritage
  • Moscato
  • Moscato d'Asti
  • Muscat Canelli
  • Riesling (sweet)
  • Sangiovese
  • Shiraz
  • Super Tuscan
  • Syrah
Gouda
  • Albariño
  • Bordeaux
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Côte-Rôtie
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Gewürztraminer
  • GSM
  • Hermitage
  • Meritage
  • Merlot
  • Riesling (dry or sweet)
  • Sémillon
  • Shiraz
  • Syrah
Gruyère
  • Burgundy (white and red)
  • Chablis
  • Chardonnay
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Fumé Blanc
  • Pinot Noir
  • Sancerre
  • Sauvignon Blanc
Havarti
  • Beaujolais
  • Bordeaux
  • Burgundy (red or white)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chablis
  • Chardonnay
  • Fumé Blanc
  • Merlot
  • Meritage
  • Pinot Noir
  • Sancerre
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Super Tuscan
  • Zinfandel
Manchego
  • Barbaresco
  • Barolo
  • Cava
  • Champagne
  • Crémant
  • Nebbiolo
  • Prosecco
  • Ribera del Duero
  • Rioja
  • Sekt
  • Sémillon
  • Sparkling wine
  • Tempranillo
  • Verdejo
Mascarpone
  • Barsac
  • Dessert wine
  • Ice wine
  • Riesling (sweet)
  • Sauternes
Muenster
  • Beaujolais
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Garnacha
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Grenache
  • Grüner Veltliner
  • GSM
  • Malbec
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Pinot Gris
  • Priorat
Monterey Jack
  • Albariño
  • Burgundy (red)
  • Pinot Noir
Mozzarella (fresh)
  • Burgundy (white)
  • Chablis
  • Chardonnay
  • Fumé Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Pinot Gris
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Sancerre
Neufchâtel
  • Fumé Blanc
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Sancerre
  • Torrontés
Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Barbaresco
  • Barolo
  • Bordeaux
  • Brunello
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Chianti
  • Garnacha
  • Grenache
  • GSM
  • Meritage
  • Nebbiolo
  • Priorat
  • Sangiovese
Pecorino
  • Barbaresco
  • Barolo
  • Brunello
  • Chianti
  • Primitivo
  • Ribera del Duero
  • Rioja
  • Sangiovese
  • Tempranillo
  • Zinfandel
Pepper Jack
  • Albariño
  • Riesling (sweet)
Provolone
  • Burgundy (white)
  • Chablis
  • Chardonnay
  • Primitivo
  • Zinfandel
Roquefort
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Côte-Rôtie
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Garnacha
  • Grenache
  • GSM
  • Hermitage
  • Ice wine
  • Malbec
  • Port
  • Priorat
  • Riesling (sweet)
  • Sauternes
  • Sherry (sweet)
  • Shiraz
  • Syrah
Stilton
  • Dessert wine
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Ice wine
  • Malbec
  • Port
  • Sauternes
Swiss
  • Dessert wine
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Ice wine
  • Malbec
  • Port
  • Sauternes

White Wine and Cheese

To get you started on your wine and cheese matching journey, here is a list of cheeses that pair well with popular white wines.

Albariño

This Spanish white is aromatic and slightly salty. It holds up well with cheeses with a little spice, or with soft white cheeses.

Albarino and cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Gouda
  • Monterey Jack
  • Pepper Jack

Chardonnay

Oaky and buttery Chardonnay is more difficult to match with cheese than a young, acidic un-oaked Chardonnay. So, think the creamier the cheese, the less oaky and buttery the wine.

  • Bel Paese
  • Cheddar, mild
  • Chèvre
  • Gruyère
  • Provolone

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is a light bodied wine that does well with mildly flavored white cheeses.

  • Cheddar, mild
  • Cheddar, sharp
  • Cheddar, white
  • Feta
  • Gruyère
  • Swiss

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer has some spice in it. It holds up well against salty and pungent cheeses.

  • Bleu cheese
  • Gouda
  • Gouda, smoked
  • Muenster
  • Stilton

Moscato

Moscato is lightly sweet and a light-bodied wine, often with a few bubbles in it. The sweetness works well with pungent or salty cheese.

  • Bleu cheese
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Chèvre
  • Gorgonzola

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

Fruity, dry, and light, this wine works best with soft, white cheeses.

  • Burrata
  • Chèvre
  • Mozzarella (fresh)

Riesling (Sweet and Dry)

The sweeter the Riesling, the more powerful the flavors it can stand up to. So pair sweet but acidic Riesling with strong cheeses, but pair the dry versions with a mild, soft cheese.

  • Asiago (sweet)
  • Bleu cheese (sweet)
  • Brie (dry)
  • Burrata (dry)
  • Camembert (dry)
  • Gorgonzola (sweet)
  • Gouda (dry)
  • Gouda, smoked (sweet)
  • Herbed Boursin (sweet)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (sweet)
  • Pepper Jack (sweet)

Sauvignon Blanc/Sancerre

Herbaceous and crisp Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with herbed cheeses, as well as with soft, mild cheeses.

Burrata and Sauvignon Blanc
  • Burrata
  • Blue Castello
  • Derby
  • Mozzarella, fresh
  • Gruyère
  • Havarti
  • Humboldt goat cheese
  • Neufchâtel

Sémillon

Sémillon has citrus notes along with an interesting lanolin-like texture that goes well with soft, fatty cheeses.

  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Cheddar, white
  • Gouda
  • Manchego

Torrontés

Soft, white cheeses are your best bet for pairing with Torrontés.

  • Boursin
  • Bucheron
  • Cream cheese
  • Feta
  • Neufchâtel

Viognier

The aromatic nature of Viognier allows it to stand up to pungent and salty cheeses.

  • Bleu cheese
  • Goat cheese

Sparkling Wine and Champagne

Sparkling wines and Champagne go well with cheese that has a higher milk-fat content because the crispness of the sparkling wine and Champagne, along with the carbonation, easily cut through any fat that coats your palate.

  • Brie
  • Cheddar, mild
  • Chèvre
  • Colby
  • Swiss (baby)

Dessert Wines

Matching dessert wines with cheese is the easiest of all matches because the sweetness of dessert wine happily balances the saltiness of strong, pungent cheese. An easy rule to keep in mind when matching sweet dessert wines with cheese is go for the full on opposite flavors - think along the lines of pairing a strong cheese like Stilton with a very sweet Sauternes.

Ruby port and bleu cheese

Here are a few suggestions to take into consideration:

  • Bleu cheese
  • Brie
  • Mascarpone
  • Roquefort
  • Stilton

Red Wine and Cheese

Remember, big reds need strong flavored cheeses to stand up to its strong flavor characteristics. Mellow reds like Pinot Noir and Merlot pair well with medium flavored cheeses but can also go with a few stronger cheeses as well.

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is coming into its own as a varietal that is also a part of many Bordeaux blend wines. Its flavors pair well with many cheeses, from mild to bold.

  • Bleu cheese
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Goat cheese
  • Gorgonzola
  • Roquefort

Cabernet Sauvignon

The tannins in Cabernet Sauvignon (as well as Meritage and Left Bank Bordeaux wines) cut nicely through fatty cheeses creating a delicious balance, but you can also choose strongly flavored and pungent cheeses with this wine.

  • Camembert
  • Cheddar, sharp
  • Danish bleu cheese
  • Gorgonzola
  • Gouda
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano

Grenache/Garnacha

Grenache has a smoky, earthy flavor, so wines that contain Grenache or Garnacha including Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Spanish Priorat will pair well with most cheeses. Some particularly good pairings:

  • Asiago
  • Cheddar, sharp
  • Chèvre
  • Feta
  • Muenster
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Romano
  • Roquefort

Malbec

Malbec has deep, bold flavors that hold up well to bold cheeses.

  • Bleu cheese
  • Gorgonzola
  • Muenster
  • Roquefort
  • Stilton

Merlot

Merlot is softer than Cabernet Sauvignon with lighter tannins. Therefore, Merlot, Super Tuscans, and Right Bank Bordeaux wines work well with cheeses that have slightly softer flavors than those that pair with Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Camembert
  • Romano
  • Parmesan
  • Jarlsberg
  • Gouda
  • Gorgonzola

Nebbiolo (Barolo/Barbaresco)

With powerful tannins and lovely strawberry notes, Nebbiolo wines pair well with a number of strongly flavored and fatty cheeses, as well as with most Italian hard cheeses.

Manchego cheese and Nebbiolo wine
  • Asiago
  • Burrata
  • Manchego
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Pecorino

Pinot Noir (Burgundy)

Pinot Noir can either be fragrant and soft or bold and earthy. Both are delicious, and both pair well with a number of cheeses. Burgundy and Old World Pinot Noir wines tend to pair well with softer cheeses, while bold New World and warm climate Pinot Noirs (think Oregon and California) can hold up to stronger cheeses.

  • Edam
  • Feta
  • Gruyère
  • Monterey Jack
  • Pecorino
  • Swiss

Sangiovese (Chianti/Brunello)

Sangiovese is a reasonably tannic wine, so it pairs well with fatty cheeses while standing up well to strong flavors found in hard Italian cheeses.

  • Asiago
  • Gorgonzola
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Pecorino

Syrah/Shiraz

Syrah and wines that contain it such as Côtes du Rhône, GSM, Côte-Rôtie, and Hermitage are spicy and fruity. The fruitiness and spice of the wine makes it a great pairing for strong cheeses.

  • Bleu cheese
  • Cheddar, smoked
  • Gorgonzola
  • Gouda, smoked
  • Roquefort

Tempranillo/Rioja

Tempranillo wines are low in acid and tannins with subtle fruit flavors. It pairs well with Spanish cheeses as well as cheeses with mild flavors.

  • Chèvre
  • Manchego
  • Pecorino

Zinfandel/Primitivo

Zinfandel is jammy and spicy with big bold flavors. Therefore, you can pair it with a boldly flavored or pungent cheese that won't be overpowered by the wine.

  • Asiago
  • Feta
  • Muenster
  • Pecorino
  • Provolone

No Rules With Wine and Cheese

Some cheese and wine matching traditions state that reds are best with cheese because they can stand up to its strong flavors. Other experts say this isn't so because the strong flavors in red wine and good cheese clash, so whites are better due to their higher acid content. The only thing that everyone (almost) universally agrees upon is that a strong Stilton cheese is best with Champagne or a nice port wine.

Gathering with wine and cheese

Experiment With Pairings

More and more high-end restaurants now have Sommeliers and Fromageries (think the expertise of a Sommelier, but with cheese instead of wine) and even they can't agree on the perfect cheese and wine marriages. More importantly, most people don't possess the highly developed palate for wine like a Sommelier nor can they taste all the nuanced flavors of cheese like a Fromagerie. Therefore, the only thing people can do is experiment with wine and cheese pairings on their own.

Eat and Drink What You Enjoy

Go ahead and try nutty Asiago with an oaky California chard. No one's going to be mad at you. The above lists are merely suggestions of a few good wine and cheese matches. Cheese, like wine, is completely subjective and a matter of personal tastes.

Cheese and Wine Pairing Guide With Chart