January 10, 2023 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Cheese
Name a more iconic pair; we’ll wait. Cheese and wine have held fast each other’s hands throughout the ages, on sumptuous feast tables, gingham picnic blankets, in many, many art galleries, and at so many other events of varying notoriety and luxury. The experience of wine and cheese can be either a humble snack consumed in front of your open fridge, or a sensory and expensive adventure guided by the hands of pro somms and cheesemongers. Either way, it’s usually delicious.
How to pair wine with cheese
The genres of wine and cheese both span from mild to intense, from aromatic to subtle, and from robust to velvety (or velveeta, as the case may be.) The wrong pairing can be just as problematic as the right one is delicious, but there are a few simple rules you can follow to tip the odds in your favor.
- Go for congruent intensity. A strong cheese will pair amicably with a strong wine. A milder cheese will get along well with a lighter wine. And so forth.
- Temper funk with sugar. If you’ve selected your edible first, and tend to go for smellier varieties, a sweeter wine such as a port or riesling strikes the right balance.
- Geography provides a map to “yum.” Wines and cheeses made within the same regions often provide a miraculous match for one another. Similarities of tradition, access to ingredients, soil, and even the critters doing the fermentation may all be to thank for this phenomenon.
- Ask your cheesemonger for a nuttiness rating. It’s hard to go wrong with a hard, nutty cheese. The flavors are bold enough to stand up to a stronger wine but not so strong that they’ll overwhelm something with a more delicate body.
If this guide isn’t quite enough for you, allow us to recommend some bottles from the Argaux cellars that were practically made to be eaten with our cheesy friends.
Best wine for cheese
- 2020 Storm Duvarita Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir – $44
This jammy, spicy Pinot is super food friendly, and cheese is definitely on the menu once this cork is popped. Red fruits, herbs and earth are carried on a silky smooth body – pair with gruyere, either on its own or smothering a juicy burger you grilled up on the back patio.
- 2021 Origin Santa Cruz Mountains Rosé – $65
A wild mountain wine from the woody coasts of California. This rose owes its unique taste – ripe with strawberries and citrus – to native fermentation techniques and the rich redwood-and-ancient-seabed soils in which it was grown. Try it with a slice of provolone, or a chunk of ripe Humboldt Fog goats cheese to evoke more of that California coastline.
- 2020 Viña Cartin Rías Baixas Albariño – $32
Fresh, delicious, accessible – an excellent weeknight staple. Citrus, nuts, and melons deck out this wine’s wonderful palate, inspiring some of the accouterments you might add to your cheeseboard. Between your almonds and sliced clementines, consider tucking in manchego for a geographic pairing, or some fresh burrata to bring out the best in this bright and acid beverage.
- 2021 Cantine Carlo Mazzella Ischia Biancolella – $24
Verdant and saline, this exceptional bottle can be compared to a dip in mediterranean waters – or Tyrrhenian, more accurately. Farmed sustainably and organically, fermented with native yeasts, the Biancolella begs to be paired with a fresh mozz in herbed olive oil.
- 2020 Weingut Emmerich Knoll Loibner FEDERSPIEL Grüner Veltliner – $25
For tried-and-true foodies and siloed wine enthusiasts alike, this maker just keeps ending up on menus at the world’s most notable restaurants, so you know it goes well with a generous helping of the good stuff. Stone fruit, florals and spices on the tongue offer a sensuous tasting experience. It’s the perfect pair for something soft and just a little funky, say, a honeyed chevre.
- 2020 Lionel Faury Saint Joseph ‘Vieilles Vignes’ Rouge – $60
Old, old, old vines, with a flavor that tells no lies about their age. Proud flavors of dark vittles like blackberry, olives, leather and cherry come together to create a velvety palate and sophisticated sip. Gouda has gotta be the right cheese for this wine.
Other offerings from Argaux
If you’re looking for additional culinary wine pairing inspiration that extends beyond the cheese board, we’ve got a couple choice kits in the Argaux collection that are bound to spark any foodie’s imagination.
For a simply delicious experience, take your taste buds on a trip to Italy with our ‘Gaux To Italy Italian Wine & Food Gift Box. Perfect as a present or for adding a little spice to your dinner time routine, this kit comes complete with artisanal semolina rigatoni, OOO (organic olive oil), marinara from Ciao Pappy, and a bottle (or two!) of Italian wines, your choice of red, white, or mixed, to complete the table spread.
For a broader palate, take a peek at our Food & Wine Pairing kit, flush with two bottles of hand-selected vino, a 101 pairing guide, and a copy of Vanessa Price’s brilliant Big Macs & Burgundy that will teach you how to match wines with all your favorite foods – from poached salmon and asparagus, to a greasy pack of fries.