Pairing Wine & Cheese
Pairing Wine & Cheese

If you want to entertain during the Holiday Season without having to cook…
Or if you'd like to host a 5 to 7 party at the office for your employees…

Consider a wine and cheese!

On your cheese platter, balance mild, medium and strong flavours; you may also wish to have a theme by offering cheeses from the same family or region. In the latter case, serve a "vin de pays" from the same region.

Although there are hundreds of cheeses available on the market, they can be classed in 8 families. Hard or soft, angular or round, golden or veined with blue, coppery or bright white, solid or scattered with holes, with a strong smell or a scent of fresh cream, there is a cheese to tempt every palate.

If you plan to set out several platters at your party, arrange cheeses, wines and accompaniments in groupings. Your guests can then put together their plates in a complementary way and your party will become a tasting!

Your cheese trays should be served at room temperature (except for fresh cheeses) and removed from their packaging - set them out one hour before the arrival of your guests so that they will be at their peak of flavour and texture.

  • Be sure the cheeses are not touching.
  • Provide a separate knife for each cheese.
  • Write the name of each cheese on a label that you can stick into each cheese with a toothpick.
Fresh cheeses


  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Cottage

With their mild fresh taste and acidity, they represent cheese in its "childhood." Soft and creamy, they often have an attractive fresh milky whiteness. Unfermented and unripened, they are made from milk or cream that must be pasteurized.

How should they be eaten?
These cheeses should be served very cool - bring the platter out of the refrigerator just before serving. These are creamy cheeses that go very well with crudités and flavourful specialty breads, such as olive bread.

Light and fruity wines, served cool

Surface-Ripened Soft Cheeses


  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Carré de l'Est
  • Chaource
  • Coulommiers
  • Neufchâtel
  • Saint-Marcellin

Creamy specialty cheeses These are cheeses traditionally covered with a fine white mould called "bloom." Their interior is soft and creamy, of a pale yellow colour when the cheese is well made. Unlike fresh cheeses, these soft cheeses undergo 2 to 6 weeks of cellar ripening after they are drained in perforated moulds.


  • Good crusty baguette.

Good pairings
A soft, well-rounded red wine like

  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Bourgeuil
  • Brouilly
  • Saint-Émilion
  • Pinot noir d'Alsace
  • Chardonnay
  • Gaillac

or a Sparkling Wine


Washed-Rind Soft Cheeses


  • Époisses
  • Livarot
  • Maroilles
  • Mont d'Or(Vacherin)
  • Munster
  • Pont l'Évêque

Specialty Cheeses Their soft, smooth, shiny rind ranges from an attractive yellow to orangey-red. They differ from the preceding cheeses in that they are thicker and undergo a washing phase in salted warm water to hasten and encourage the formation of a soft rind and to further bring out their flavour.

Rustic, hearty country-style breads

Good pairings
Well-structured and fairly full-bodied wines like

  • Côtes de Nuit
  • Saint-Émilion
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Chateauneuf du Pape
Goat cheeses


  • All goat cheese
  • Fresh chèvre
  • Banon
  • Crottin de Chavignol
  • Picodon
  • Sainte-Maure
  • Selles-sur-Cher
  • Valençay

White or rolled in ash, sprinkled with aromatics or wrapped in a grape leaf, their only point of commonality is that they are made from goat's milk. They have a distinctive goat cheese flavour and range from fresh cheese to pressed cheese.
Their fine, smooth consistency becomes firmer with age.


  • Rusks Salad with walnut oil
  • Confit tomatoes

Good pairings

  • Sancerre
  • Mâcon
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Chinon
  • Bourgueil
  • Sauvignon / Fume Blancs
  • Try Banon with a vin du pays, a white Cassis, for a very Provençal pairing.
Blue-Veined Cheeses


  • All Blue cheese
  • Bleu d'Auvergne
  • Bleu de Bresse
  • Bleu de Causses
  • Bleu de Gex
  • Fourme d'Ambert
  • Roquefort
  • Stilton

These white cheeses owe their name to the thin blue marbling that runs through them. The length and conditions of ripening vary.
Except for Roquefort, made from sheep's milk, the other blues are made from cow's milk.


  • Walnut or raisin bread
  • Roquefort is a perfect partner for pears

Good pairings

  • Graves
  • St-Émilion
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Cahors
  • Corbières
  • Stilton prefers Vintage or Tawny Port
  • Roquefort pairs well with French Wines as listed but you can serve also a Sauternes or a late harvest wine
Uncooked Pressed Cheeses


  • Cantal
  • Pyrénées
  • Mimolette
  • Morbier
  • Reblochon
  • Saint-Nectaire
  • Salers
  • Ossau-Iraty
  • Saint-Paulin
  • Tomme de Savoie

Under their hard rinds, these mild-flavoured, nutty cheeses are firm and pliable. The texture comes from a particular step in the cheese-making process: the curd is placed in moulds and pressed. The ripening lasts 1 to 12 months during which the cheeses receive careful attention; they may be turned, washed and brushed regularly. Country-style bread


  • Assorted nuts

Good pairings
There are numerous good pairings like

  • Pyrénées and Madiran
  • Beaujolais
  • Gamay
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Reblochon and Tomme with a fruity Savoy white;
  • Cantal and Saint-Nectaire with a Burgundy
  • Salers likes a fruity red such as a Mâcon, a Burgundy or a local eau-de-vie such as Gentiane
Cooked Pressed Cheeses or Firm Cheeses


  • Brick
  • Cheddar
  • Colby
  • Emmental
  • Farmers'
  • Gouda
  • Gruyère
  • Provolone
  • Beaufort
  • Comté

Gruyère These cheeses come from the Jura or the Alps where the mountain-dwellers traditionally produced a supply for the winter in the high mountain pastures.These are large cheeses, with a blond rind and a pale yellow interior that in some varieties is typically filled with holes.
Unlike uncooked pressed cheeses, the curd is heated for a long period before pressing.

The ripening can last almost a year in cold and warm cellars during which time the holes form.

Rusks and fruit

Good pairings
A lively white or astringent red like

  • A wine from the Jura
  • Pair Beaufort with a white Savoy wine
  • or a vin jaune from the Jura
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Very mature cheddar will pair well with Syrah (Shiraz) or Zinfandel
Processed Cheeses


  • Processed cheeses
  • Spreadable cheeses

These are soft smooth mild-flavoured cheeses that are often flavoured with other ingredients.
Plain or enriched with nuts, ham, garlic, herbs or spices… they are made from one or more pressed cheeses, to which milk, butter or cream are added.


  • These cheeses are perfect for canapés
  • Place the cheese into a pastry bag and pipe onto endive leaves
  • Form rosettes on crackers
  • Fill little choux pastry puffs
  • They love fresh chopped chives, ham, etc.

Good pairings
Light whites or reds like

  • Beaujolais
  • Costières de Nîmes
  • Coteaux du Languedoc
  • Saumur-Champigny

or Beers

Pairing Wine & Cheese 1
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