Wine Lists

How to pair cheese and wine

By Eliza Campbell

27 Oct, 2022

Here's your guide to pairing wine and cheese.

We know pairing wine and cheese can be overwhelming, so we've created the perfect guide that removes all the guesswork.

Try combinations like sauvignon blanc with goat's cheese, grenache, pinot noir, and merlot with washed rind cheeses like Époisses, Gubbeen or Herve, and your favourite sweet or fortified wine with a sharp blue cheese.

“For every wine, there is a perfect cheese to match its flavour, body, style, expression and terroir,” says Melbourne cheese consultant Laura Lown. “We match in three different ways when trying to pair cheeses and wines: cut through the flavours, complement the flavours and contrast the flavours.” 

If you’re starting with the wine, Laura has some advice on picking a winning combination based on this cut, complement and contrast approach ahead.

Camembert being drizzled with honey and bread to the side.

Cabernet cheese pairing

When choosing which cheese and cabernet pairing, look to full flavoured options. “The best cheeses to pair with bigger, heartier red wines are bigger, bolder cheeses. Try aged goudas, such as Reypanear VSOP, as the caramel notes and dense texture stand up to a cabernet sauvignon nicely.” 

Explore top rated cabernet sauvignon.

Pinot noir cheese pairing

The best wine and cheese pairing here will be one that’s light, but with a little earthiness. “Choose more delicate flavoured styles like sheep’s milk – Ossau Iraty is a famous French one to try. Comte, with its complexity of flavour, is also a good option. You can even try pinot noir with brie.”

Explore top rated pinot noir.

Chardonnay cheese pairing

For cheese pairing with chardonnay, go for a like for like with something rich and buttery. “Try brie or triple cream white moulds. An oakier chardonnay can also work well with a creamy blue like the local Berry’s Creek Riverine, which is made from buffalo milk. It’s fatty and has a subtle salt flavour to match the higher acidity levels in the wine.”

Explore top rated chardonnay.

Sauvignon blanc cheese pairing

Sauvignon blanc is a classic pairing for goat’s cheese, Laura says. “The acidity of fresh goat’s cheeses like Meredith Farm Chevre balances the wine nicely.” 

Explore top rated sauvignon blanc.

Rosé cheese pairing

Rosé comes in many styles, and your cheese pairing could depend on which you choose. But Laura says your safest bet is: “Clean, salty cheeses, such as feta. The summery nature of rosé also makes it suitable to enjoy with Mediterranean cheeses like Spanish Queso Mahon or Cypriot Haloumi.”

Explore top rated rosé.

Sparkling and Champagne cheese pairing

Not much beats a glass of fizz clinked over a cheese board, and Laura suggests choosing: “Triple cream and high-fat cheeses, as the bubbles cut through the fat perfectly.” She also says that: “Vintage Champagne goes beautifully with aged cheeses, such as the G.Cravero Parmigiano Reggiano, which is dry and nutty but sweet.”

Explore top rated sparkling wine.

To learn more about food and wine matching, the Australian wine landscape, how wine is made, how to describe wine, along with other handy tips, sign up to the Halliday Wine Academy Introduction to Wine course.

Related article: Wines to pair this holiday season