Wine and cheese – or cheese and wine as it’s actually the cheese that’s the star of the show (honest) – are made for each other. Decadent and nutritious, with the protein and the antioxidants and all that, it’s also an interesting and flavorful pairing, especially when you do it right.

If you’re new to cheese and wine parties, then you need to keep it relatively simple to start off with, so let’s break it down for you.

Simple pairings

Of course, you can pair any wine with any cheese you want, but there are some easy rules you can adopt for success, as well as a few classic pairings you can always rely on.

To make things easy, you can divide cheeses into four main types:

Bloomy; these are unctuous, decadent cheeses with a creamy texture and a soft rind.

Hard; these are sometimes aged, and often sharp and salty.

Blue; these are highly-flavored, often salty cheeses with blue mold veins in them.

Fresh; these are sometimes spreadable and have no rind. They can be mild and creamy or quite tart, and not often aged.

If you fancy a particular cheese, then work out which type it is, then look through the pairings for more ideas.

Working with or against

Are you going for complementary or contrasting flavors? A lush, sweeter wine will go right along with a creamy cheese, whereas a more acidic wine will cut through the sweetness and fat.

Ideal pairings

Bloomy cheeses

Camembert        with Champagne

Brie with Chardonnay

Robiola with a sparkling wine

Taleggio with Pinot Blanc


Gouda with Merlot

Cheddar with Cabernet Sauvignon

Parmesan with Chianti

Double Gloucester with Zinfandel

Pecorino with Valpolicella


Gorgonzola with Port

Stilton with Sauternes

Cambozola with eiswein


Ricotta with Pinot Grigio

Mozzarella with Sauvignon Blanc

Goat with Chenin Blanc

Feta with Beaujolais

The party itself

Buy a few cheeses – two from each type, maybe – from a knowledgeable cheese shop. Talk about your party plans and get some ideas or recommendations and make sure your wines will be served at their appropriate temperatures:

  • sparkling wines at 40F;
  • whites at 50F, and
  • reds at 60F.

You should also take the cheeses out of the fridge an hour beforehand, too.

One good idea is to start off with pairings of lighter wines and fresher gentler cheeses then move onto pairings with stronger flavors and more complexity.