As with all wine choices the final decision comes down to personal taste, however certain guidelines have been proven favourable by a majority of enthusiasts. Here are some of those basic cheese and wine truths:
• White wines match best with soft cheeses and stronger flavours.
• Red wines match best with hard cheeses and milder flavours.
• Fruity and sweet white wines (try something from Alsace) and dessert wines work best with a wider range of cheeses.
• The more pungent the cheese you choose, the sweeter the wine should be.
When offering several cheese choices in a wine and cheese pairing spread, white wines fair better than reds. That’s because several cheeses, particularly soft and creamy ones, leave a layer of fat on the palate that interferes with the flavour in reds, rendering them monotonous and bland.
Quite the opposite, most of those sweeter whites nicely complement a full range of cheeses. Additionally, the “sparkle” in a sparkling wine or Champagne can help break through the fat in heavier cheeses. Therefore, the spicy zing of a Gewürztraminer or the peachy zip of a Riesling is ideal if you’re going for wide-reaching appeal.
If you’re a cheese adventurist, meaning you go for the stinkiest of cheeses, pick a big wine to back it up. Try a French Bordeaux or a buxom California Cabernet Sauvignon.
Ports and dessert wines are your best choice if you like blue cheeses.