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Cheese and Wine Pairings

Also see: Grilled Cheese and Wine Pairing | Host a Cheese & Wine Party

Once you understand the eight styles of cheese, you will also understand how to approach cheese and wine pairing. That is because the texture of a cheese is a window into its flavor, and understanding flavor is the key to understanding how to pair cheese and wine.

One of the main things to know is that cheese will influence the flavors in wine much more than the other way around. That is to say, cheese can enhance or ruin a wine in a heartbeat. To avoid the latter, here are a few tips for successful cheese and wine pairings. You can read much more about how to pair cheese and wine in my book, The All American Cheese and Wine Book.

• White wines work better with most cheeses. Most people don't like to hear this, but I promise you, it's true.
• The texture of cheese influences your wine choice. That is, a light cheese goes best with a light wine just as a more full-bodied cheese will go with a full-bodied wine.
• Fruity wines, white or red, go better with cheese.
• Sweet wines, sparkling wines, and older red wines go well with cheese too.
• To pair cheese with big, bold red wines, make sure to choose a well-balanced semi-hard cheese, such as the cheddar made by Fiscalini Farms in California or Cabot Clothbound from Vermont.

There's so much more to the world of cheese and wine pairing, but your best bet is to taste, taste, taste. That's really the best, and certainly the most fun, way to determine the pairings that work best for you.