Can you drink white wine with cheese?

Sep 13, 2022Mary Domange
white wine with cheese - wine at home

Is it a good idea to drink white wine with cheese?

The simple answer to this is a resounding yes. While most of us reach for the red when faced with a hunk of cheddar or a cheeseboard – there are many people who believe that white wines are a far better match.

Why is white wine so good with cheese?

According to cheese expert Jessica Summers from Mouse & Grape, white wines contain enough acidity to cut through the fattiness of cheese and provide the perfect pairing. “Red wines can sometimes have strong tannins and bold flavours,” she says, “Which can overpower the delicate flavours in the cheese. It’s all about the balance.”

With this in mind, you should match your wine accordingly. So what are Jess’s current favourite pairings? “French Sauvignon Blanc with a firm goat’s cheese such as Dorstone or Valençay, or a white Rioja with Manchego or a dolce Gorgonzola with Pinot Grigio”. But that’s just to start!

There's an old saying in the wine world that 'What grows together, goes together,’ which provides another great guideline if you’re deciding what goes with what.

Our favourite white wine and cheese pairings

We completely agree with Jess that as the home of the Sauvignon blanc grape is the Loire valley in France it is always a perfect match for the local goats’ cheeses. Many of the villages produce their own local wine and cheeses – such as the well-known Sancerre AOC Tradition 2020 Pascal Thomas, home not only to the wine of the same name, but also to the delicious Crottins de Chavignol goats cheese. A match made in heaven. For a cheaper alternative, try a Sauvignon Blanc IGP Val de Loire L’Explosif du Fresne, Domaine du Fresne which will stand up to a range of goats cheeses.

Jess has also converted us to drinking a glass of aged Chardonnay with proper English Cheddar such as Keens or Montgomery and worth spending a little bit more to give it the gravitas it deserves. We gave it a go with a bottle of Chablis AOC, Domaine Ellevin, and were bowled over. For a cheaper alternative, try our Chardonnay IGP Coteaux de Beziers 2021 from Domaine Preignes le Neuf – not as much body but works well with a good cheese sandwich!

We don't often think about sparkling wines when it comes to cheese, but one of our favourite food memories is from a wedding in Italy where the biggest and best aged Parmesan Reggiano was hacked into crumbly hunks and served with an excellent Prosecco. Try any of those in our selection which have lots of freshness and no residual sweetness – giving the cheese a chance to shine. Try the delightfully fresh and fruity Prosecco Frizzante from Tonon with the best piece of parmesan you can find.

Dessert wine with cheese

Finally, when it comes to white wine and cheese, it would be remiss not to mention the mouth shattering combination of blue cheese with dessert wine. I cannot think of a better way to end a meal. A Coteaux du Layon AOC St Aubin 2019 Domaine des Barres with a Fourme d'Ambert, or a melting wedge of Gorgonzola is the perfect pairing. If you want to really pull out all the stops, treat yourself to a half bottle of late harvest Riesling Eiswein 2016 from the Weingut Familie Rauen and sip it with a really good blue.

The sweetness of these wines harnesses the saltiness of the cheese while bringing out the creamy flavours in a way that a red wine can never match.

Try one of our top white wine recommendations with your cheeseboard and let us know if you agree!

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