Wine & Cheese Pairing for Intermediates

Last month, we touched on the subtle art of wine and cheese pairing. Today, we’re going to move past the 101 basics to delve a little deeper into this fine food art, thanks to a request from one of our Twitter followers.

As Wine Enthusiast magazine explains, wine and food pairings are all about acidity, texture, fat and tannin. Found in bark, plants, seeds and fruit skins, tannin is a naturally-occurring polyphenol that gives wine its dryness.


wine pairing tips

Photo via Wine Folly

One simple yet effective strategy is to divide cheeses into four main groups. Each group can then be paired with particular wines to achieve a complementary or contrasting flavor.

The 4 Cheese Groups


  1. Bloomy: These are your creamy cheeses with soft rinds. Pair them with chardonnay, pinot blanc, sparkling wine, or champagne.
  2. Hard: These firm cheeses (which can be aged) usually come with a salty and/or sharp taste. Pair them with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, zinfandel, bardolino, or chianti.
  3. Blue: These types of cheeses, as the name implies, have a blue tinge and pungent flavor. Pair them with Riesling, port, sauternes, or eiswein.
  4. Fresh: Tangy and mild, these cheeses are soft and spreadable. Pair with pinot grigio, cauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, tocai friulano, or Beaujolais.

The next step in learning how to pair wine and cheese is to become more acquainted with your wine tasting palette so that you can begin to refine your flavor detection abilities. This map of the tongue from Musings on the Vine can help!

wine pairing

Photo via Musings of the Vine

Another strategy is to stick to the classics. A couple of the most common wine and cheese pairings are mild cheddar with chardonnay or parmesan with a cabernet sauvignon. The Wine Vibe, a wine review and wine education blog by industry professionals, has an additional list of classic pairings.

What are some of the wine and cheese pairings you know and love? Or, what strategies do you use to find new and delicious wine and cheese pairings? Share your thoughts or experiences in a comment below or on our Twitter or Facebook pages.

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