How many times have you been entertaining guests in your home and decided to serve wine and cheese? It truly is the perfect pairing, bringing elegance and sophistication to your gathering. However, not every wine works with every cheese, and there is a real science and know-how behind it. In fact, for the everyday person, wine and cheese pairings can seem a bit daunting and can end up going horribly wrong without the proper insight.

So, before you host your next gathering and attempt to make the ideal cheese platter to serve with your chosen wine, we’ve put together some tips and information with the help of the the pros at Underground Cellar to help you out. These tips can take all the confusion out of the process for you and make your next gathering a smashing success. 

Did You Know There Is a Chemical Science Behind it?

The first thing to be aware of is that pairing wine and cheese together isn’t just about what sounds good, or looks good together; there is actually chemical science behind how you pair wine with the foods you eat. Some foods have a chemical compound in them that actually affect the taste, and therefore your experience. You can create a positive or negative experience, which is why it’s so important to dig in deeper when it comes to ideal pairings. For example, we recently found out that the ‘red wine with red meat’ rule is just a fallacy, and something as simple as roast chicken can be paired just as well with a nice Beaujolais. The same goes with cheese – you want to go beyond the traditional rules.

Keep the Intensity Equal Across the Board

The first tip has to do with intensity. Think of the flavor profile of the cheese and the wine separately. Ideally, you want to match up intensities so that one doesn’t overtake the other. For example, if you have an especially strong cheese with an intense flavor, you need to match it up with an intense wine. This means you want to shop for wines that have the words like ‘bold’ or ‘robust’ in their descriptions.

In general, a good rule to follow is that if you want to serve an aged cheese, you’re going to need to pick a bold red wine that can match the flavor intensity.

When Does Sparkling Wine Work?

Now, maybe you’re curious as to when you can choose a sparkling wine. This is always a fun one to serve as it’s special and unique, and can add a really interesting element to your party. In general, if you want to serve a sparkling wine, you want to choose a creamy or soft cheese since the fizz in the wine acts as a palate cleanser. Examples of soft cheeses include brie, goat, and camembert.

Sweet Wines Need an Opposite Match

You may assume that if you’re choosing a sweet wine, you need a cheese that has that same light sweetness, but that’s not the case at all. In this case, you want to choose something like a blue cheese. By pairing these two together, you actually create a balance as they help to cancel each other’s extreme properties out and meet in the middle.

Once you start to look at wine and cheese pairings as a science experiment and how the different flavors balance each other out, it becomes really interesting and much more successful.