A Guide to Pairing Your Wine With Cheese

Sweet dreams are made of cheese, who am I to dis a ~brie~ !! We love cheese as much as the next person and what’s a better pairing than wine!? It’s the most classic pairing in the book and we wanted to explore it a little more and give you a guide on what wine to pair with the following six different styles of cheese, yes six! Let’s dive into the wine cellar and the cheese cave for the following delightful pairings.

First, not really out of the cheese cave, are our FRESH cheeses. These include mozzarella, feta, goat cheese (chèvre), and many more. These cheeses typically pair well with dry, light bodied wines with a lot of character. Some refer to fresh cheeses as being a blank slate because they do not have too much flavor to them because it is cheese in its youngest form; it has not been aged to develop a wide range of flavors. White wines with a lot of character like herbal notes, bright acidity, and a lighter body pair well because the herbaceous notes are writing all over the fresh cheese and creating a different flavor profile for these, once blank, fresh cheeses! Grab a Hawk Haven Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc and pair with Cypress Grove goat cheese, or the Signature Series Dry Rosé with feta cheese. You’ll love these pairings!

Dry RieslingBloomy cheeses are known for their thin white rind (that is totally edible and actually enhances the cheese flavor)! The most common bloomy cheeses are Brie and Camembert. They pair well with light bodied, unoaked wines due to the earthy nature of the cheeses. Another style of wine that pairs well with this creamy cheese is a sparkling wine, like Hawk Haven’s Signature Series Methode Champenoise Brut. Sparkling wine has high acidity and carbonation which acts as a palate cleanser to these creamier cheeses! Try pairing Brie with Signature Series Dry Riesling or Signature Series Pinot Noir Rosé.

Let’s dive a little bit into the stinkier cheese category, washed rind. The rind of these cheeses are washed in brine to open them up to certain bacterias that enhance flavors. Since they are a bit stinkier, they pair best with sweeter wines. But, there are cheeses in this category, like Muenster and Fontina, which aren’t so stinky and they pair well with Hawk Haven Signature Series Gewürztraminer, Signature Series Dry Pinot Grigio, or Hawk Label Pinot Grigio.

So far we haven’t paired any of the cheese categories with a red wine. Turns out, semi-soft cheese can be paired with lighter red wines. This cheese category includes Gruyere, Havarti, and many more! They pair well with medium bodied whites and barrel aged wines that do not have much oak. This is because these wines tend to be more fruity and have low tannins which pair well with the salty and nuttiness of semi-soft cheeses. Pair with Flying Press Red or Signature Series Viognier (say it with us, vee-on-YAY, cause these cheese pairings so far are to die for)!

Let’s get some more red wine in our lives, but this time let’s go bolder! Hard cheeses can stand up to bold red wines and oaked whites. We’re talking about Parmesan and Pecorino with those red wines and cheddar with an oaked white! We usually have Bellavitano Merlot cheese, a parmesan cheddar soaked in Merlot, try that with maybe…Hawk Label Merlot? If you have a favorite cheddar, pair that with Barrel Fermented Chardonnay!

The infamous blue cheeses, you either hate them or you love them! A more mild blue cheese will match the recommendations given for bloomy cheeses, so, light bodied, unoaked wines. But for the less mild blue cheeses they are best paired with sweeter or fortified wines to offset the bitterness in the blue marble; they compliment each other. One time, we paired Stilton Blue Cheese with Hawk Label Riesling and we can’t stop thinking about this drool-worthy pairing. Try the White Port (or any kind of port) with blue cheese, a winning pair as well.

Keep in mind that these are just guidelines for what to pair your wine with. You like what you like so, your pairings might look a little different! If they do look a little different or you are loving ours, let us know, hello@hawkhavenvineyard.com. We can’t wait to hear all about your wine & cheese pairing adventures!

Download the printable PDF here.