Toronto, Canada devotes an entire convention to Wine and Cheese that
has been held for more than 20 years. However, one shouldn't become
too excited, because the pairing of cheese and wine goes back at
least 4,000 years.
There are a few similarities between cheese and wine, these include:
both are made from living substances and both improve with age, both
are a product of fermentation, the process by which yeast cells
introduce chemical changes and both reflect their terroir. Terrior
refers to the combination of soil, climate and region the product
Traditionalists suggest pairing wine and cheese according to region
or strength because this will prevent one from dominating the other.
This is partially due to tannin levels. Red wines are fermented with
the skins and therefore have a higher concentration than white. This
affects the pairing characteristics of wine and cheese. The protein
and fat contained in cheese will help coat the palate therefore
reducing the harshness of excess tannin.
In France this view goes so far that it is incorporated into the AOC
laws. The Appellation d'Origine Controlee is a set of regulations
dictating grape growing and winemaking conditions, labeling, output,
etc. Many times this match works very well such as the historic
Grand Cru Montrachet is a perfect partner for the Montrachet Goat
Cheese. They have been made side by side for centuries.
While wines with higher tannin content pair well with harder
cheeses, creamy cheeses require a wine with higher acidity, and
whiter, fresher cheeses complement a crisper, fruitier wine. Light
reds or even Chardonnay pair well with heavy cheeses. A few examples
are; Caraway and Gewurztraminer, Feta and Beaujolais, Havarti and
Anyone who enjoys a sweet or dessert wine should seek out a strong,
veined cheese, while a full-bodied white or younger red with lower
tannins goes well with a soft, bloomy white or red dotted rind.
A few examples are: a Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier or Riesling, even
a Pinot Blanc, pairs wonderfully with many Goat's cheeses such as
Fontina or Feta, Averti or Emmental. A dry Gewurztraminer will pair
perfectly with Brie or Camembert, Livarot or Oka, and a Gamay Noir
or Cabernet Franc, even Barberesco, goes well with no rind, a Gouda,
Gruyere or Munster.
When a complex Pinot Noir or Syrah is chosen, or even one of the new
Super Tuscans pair it with a Chaput, Langres, or Gubbeen. Choose an
oiled Parmigiano, Cantal or Tilsit to pair with that Bordeaux or
Finally, for the sweet Vouvray or Sauternes, or a favorite Auxe
Icewine search for a blue-veined cheese such as; a Cambonzola,
Moutonniere, or Mascarpone.
A traditionalist will certainly favor the tried and true rules of
red with this and white with that or full-bodied with full-flavored
and light with light. Radicals advocate experimentation and will
favor anything new and zesty and all this time the anarchist will
say: 'Down with the rules!' Whatever one's preference, all can agree
that wine and cheese are a perfect pair.
Swirl the wine gently, sniff and taste.
Sip of Wine
Wine Aging Table
Wine and Cheese
Wine and Health
British Columbia, Canada
Cotes Du Rhone