There was one thing I learned at the Artisan Cheese Festival that changed my life. No joke! Normally when I think of pairing wine and cheese I choose a red wine.
However, after tasting over 30 types of cheese paired with both red and white wine, I have to agree with cheese expert Laura Werlin: in general, cheese pairs better with white wine than it does red wine.
Why? Simply put, cheese affects the taste of the wine more than the wine affects the taste of the cheese. A bold, highly tannic red wine cancels out the flavor of most cheese and leaves a soapy taste in the mouth. On the other hand, the buttery richness of cheese is complemented by a creamy Chardonnay or acidic Sauvignon Blanc.
Especially if there is a dominant characteristic in the wine — too much oak, extremely high alcohol content, etc. — it won't pair well with cheese. To truly understand the difference, I highly suggest you perform your own cheese and wine tasting. To learn how
- Select several different types of cheese from a variety of cheese families. Brie, cheddar, Pecorino Romano, and Stilton would be a nice group for the tasting.
- Pour two glasses of wine. A red (easy-drinking Pinot Noir) and a white (unoaked Chardonnay).
- Take a bite of cheese and a sip of white wine.
- Take a bite of the same cheese and a sip of red wine.
- Think about how they taste together. Which one tastes better?
Let me know how your tasting goes and if you agree that cheese does in fact taste better with white wine!