Skip to main content

Beginner Wine and Cheese Pairing Tips to Impress Anyone

wine and cheese pairing tips
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Having a date over and you want to impress her with how cultured you are? Need a raise and you heard your boss just got back from a month traveling around Bordeaux? Pairing wine with cheese—either for one person or for an entire party of people—is an amazing (and easy) way to showcase one of the most classic food and drink combinations ever. While it may seem daunting if you’ve never done it before, we’re here to help.

We sat down with Michael and Charlie Kalish, known as The Cheese Twins, (winners of Season 7 of “The Great Food Truck Race” on the Food Network and hosts of the new show “Big Cheese”) to get some quick and easy tips for how to flawlessly pair wine and cheese.

Using these wine and cheese pairing tips and tricks, you’ll be getting a call about that second date or that raise in no time.

The Cheese Twins
The Cheese Twins Image used with permission by copyright holder

Avoid Palate Fatigue Wine and cheese are both wonderful things, but as with anything else, too much can be a bad thing. When assembling a wine and cheese pairing, you don’t want too much of anything. A good number of cheeses to have for a tasting is between four and six. More than that and you’ll risk palate fatigue from too many flavors over the course of the night.

Portion Size Matters Once you figure out what cheeses you’ll be serving, you’ll want to portion them properly to best showcases the flavors as they play together with the flavors in the wines. A good rule of thumb is to have one ounce per cheese per person. If you’re hosting a party with more than four cheeses, than you’ll want to divide the cheeses into slightly smaller proportions, again to avoid palate fatigue.

Like Equals Like A good way to think about how to pair a wine with a cheese is remembering the phrase “like equals like.” That is, if you have a characteristic in the wine, such as creaminess or buttery mouthfeel as you would in a Meiomi Chardonnay, you want to find a cheese that has similar characteristics, such as brie. Another great pairing would be a fruity wine such as Meiomi Pinot Noir with a sweet and nutty Gouda.

Pick a Variety A surefire way to impress anyone with your choices for wine and cheese pairing is to do your homework beforehand (and perhaps spend some time talking to the cheesemonger in your local store) and preparing a spread that features both cheeses that your guests will recognize, as well as one or two that are new to them. This way, you help them to learn more about the world of pairing wine and cheese while also giving them something to fall back on in case one of the new choices doesn’t line up with their palate or preferences.

Don’t Forget Your Nuts When pairing wine and cheeses, it’s important to make sure you’ve got some other things to go with the stars of the show. Little snacks like nuts and fruits are great complements the wine and cheeses, and really help certain flavors in both to shine.

Editors' Recommendations

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
Cask finishing isn’t only for whiskey, as this new gin release shows
Copperworks has a new cask finished gin to release
copperworks cask finished gin spanish brandy 1

While you might think of cask finishing as something primarily used for bourbons and other whiskeys, the same principle can be applied to other spirits too, including gins. Leaving any spirit in a wooden barrel for a period of months will add in woody, spicing flavors that can be a beautiful addition to a more complex drinking experience. That's the principle behind a new release of cask finished gin from the Copperworks Distilling Co.

The new Copperworks Spanish Brandy Cask Finished Gin has been aged in brandy and whiskey casks, which gives it a rich copper color that makes it look more like a whiskey than what you'd expect from a gin. But it has the flavors of juniper and pine that you'd expect from a gin, along with woody notes and hints of lime and cinnamon.

Read more
Taste a devil and an angel on each shoulder with this pair of tequilas
A pair of aged tequilas from Tequila Cayéya with an angelic and demonic theme
tequila cayeya angel devil cay  ya

One of the distinctive features of aged tequila is its color, which is typically a rich amber brown that comes from its time spent in oak casks. But there is a type of aged tequila called Añejo Cristalino which is aged like an Añejo, but then filtered through charcoal to return it to crystal clear. The idea is to keep the intensity of flavors achieved through aging, whilst maintaining the clarity of an unaged tequila.

The brand Tequila Cayéya is now releasing a new Añejo Cristalino tequila, and this one is part of a paired set with an angels and devils theme. The El Diablo’s Elixir is aged for eighteen months in a three step process, beginning with six months in an American White Oak cask, before being moved to a French Oak cask for a further six months, and then transferred back to American White Oak for its final six months. It's then charcoal filtered to achieve clarity. It's nicknamed after the devil due to its 6-6-6 aging process.

Read more
Celebrate the start of summer with this brandy punch
Celebrate the start of summer with this brandy punch recipe from Argonaut Brandy
Argonaut Brandy

Brandy is one of those spirits that can often linger at the back of a home bar, rather overlooked until you need to pull it out for a specific cocktail. But it's not something that you want to skip if you're hoping to have a well-stocked bar, as it's an essential ingredient for a number of classic cocktails.

There's the New Orleans cocktail Vieux Carre, which combines brandy with cognac and rye whiskey, or the Brandy Alexander, a classic dessert cocktail that uses crème de cacao and cream along with brandy for a sweet, thick drink. And of course the beloved Sidecar, combining brandy with orange liqueur and lemon juice.

Read more