Whether you're putting together a stunning charcuterie board for family and friends, packing a picnic lunch, or designing a beautiful wine and cheese hamper to give as a gift, you'll want to pick the perfect pairings. Otherwise, you could wind up with tastes and textures that pair poorly, striking the wrong note and wasting gourmet ingredients on a less than ideal outcome.
If you're new to the world of wine and cheese, don't completely trust your palate, or just want to take your knowledge one step further, you've come to the right place. So read on for our full wine and cheese pairing guide, with selections to suit all tastes, from subtle to stinky and beyond!
Crowd-Pleasing Wine and Cheese Combinations
Pairing wine and cheese is all about finding the balance between acidity and sweetness, body and texture, fat and flavour. So, if you're new to the world of gourmet wine and cheese, you'll want to start with classic combinations.
Like brie and gruyere, young cheeses are generally mild in flavour, as they have more water and milk than fattier aged cheeses. These pair well with young, vibrant wines that deliver a bright and juicy taste without too much sweetness.
If you prefer a sweet wine, you'll need to balance it with a bold, salty cheese. For example, a fortified wine or dessert wine will pair perfectly with a rich, savoury blue cheese. Dry wines, by contrast, are best served alongside a sweeter cheese and other balancing elements like fruit.
Believe it or not, you should also consider texture when pairing wine and cheese. Opt for a harmonious match, like rich spreadable cheese and buttery, oaky chardonnay. Or, for something more playful, pair that same cheese with a crisp and bubbly Champagne.
For the best possible wine and cheese spread at a party or event, offer guests a variety of combinations to play and experiment with. That way, everyone can taste a variety of different pairings and find their favourite. Of course, you'll also want to offer a selection of gourmet snacks to help balance all the bold flavours that your wine and cheese will impart.
Assembling a Cheese and Wine Gift
If you're planning to offer a wine hamper or gourmet snacks basket as a gift, you'll want to keep a few basic rules in mind. Most people prefer to pair hard, aged cheese with red wine and soft creamy cheese with white wine.
So, suppose you're starting with a bottle of shiraz, petite Sirah, cabernet sauvignon, or grenache. In that case, you'll want to look to a salty and solid cheese like aged cheddar, gruyère, gouda, manchego, or pecorino. And, if you're working with a light chardonnay, sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio, you'll want to opt for double or triple cream, camembert, mozzarella, or muenster.
Sweet whites like riesling work well with goat's cheese and chevre, and sweet reds like Port, Zinfandel, and some cabernet blends pair perfectly with the savoury tang of stilton, gorgonzola, and Roquefort.
Once you've settled on your wine and cheese of choice, it's time to throw in a few goodies to enjoy alongside.
Try to consider which flavours could currently be missing from your hamper. Salty, sweet, acidic, and even spicy tastes can pair perfectly with wine, so don't be afraid to get creative!
To ensure an absolutely perfect gift, you can also purchase a prepacked gourmet wine hamper with all these elements included. That way, you know the flavour pairings will be on point, and your present will be delivered straight to your desired recipient's door, without hours of shopping and gift wrapping.
Easy Entertaining With Wine and Cheese
If you're hoping to serve up a people-pleasing selection of wine and cheese, you'll need to start with a fantastic bottle. Thankfully, Australia is home to a world-class selection, with offerings to suit every budget and personal taste. However, for small gatherings where you'll only serve one bottle of wine, it might be easiest to stick to red, as more of your guests are likely to be familiar with its taste.
The classic foundation for your tasting should always include a cheese or two, something salty like olives or sundried tomatoes, something crunchy like mixed nuts, artisan crackers or bread, and a sweet element like local honey, fruit, or chocolate.
Now is also an excellent time to consider the dietary concerns of your guests. Stick to hearty snacks like cheddar, gouda, red grapes, and mixed nuts for a gluten-free board. For a keto spread, swap out the grapes for aged meat like salami and add a square of extra dark chocolate or two.
When catering to a crowd, you'll want to serve both red and white wines and a wide variety of snacks. You can also invite guests to bring an element of their own to create a supersized selection that caters perfectly to those invited.
Perfect Wine and Cheese Pairings
Now that you know more about wine and cheese flavours and pairings, it's time to sample a few and find your favourites! Before you know it, you'll be able to quickly pick perfectly balanced selections to suit any meal or special occasion.
Do you love easy online shopping for gourmet snacks and speciality treats?
If so, skip the guesswork with unknown brands and hours spent wandering the market's aisles. Instead, order gourmet hampers loaded with delicious and bespoke items guaranteed to delight any recipient. You're also free to order one for yourself - we promise we won't tell a soul!