It is difficult to find consensus among the experts; everyone has his or her own idea of the appropriate marriage of wine and cheese. I would say it is a matter of personal taste. Consider the Brie de Meaux; some will tell you that this cheese must be accompanied by a red Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon, while others will prefer a Côte de Beaune, Beaujolais or even Champagne. I once heard an oenologist say:
The best wine is the one you love.
It is also worth noting that we did not always have the varied choice of wines that we have today. Wines of South America, Australia, New Zealand, California, South Africa, and even Canada were not marketed in the past as they are today. In the past, each wine producing country consumed nearly all of its production and exported none or very little. I can use the example of the French, who admittedly are patriotic to a fault and swear by French wines only. With the development of international trade and the living standards of industrialized countries, the wines of different origins are on the table of more and more consumers. People travel more and are more adventurous in terms of gastronomy. I must admit that I admire oenologists who recognize the difference between a Sauterne produced in France and one produced in Chile. There is certainly a difference because the same wine produced in another region of the world, is not quite the same wine produced in France. There is different soil composition, different climate, and how to treat the vine. For example, in France we do not irrigate the vines while in some wine producing countries, it is normal to do so.
Most people think that red wine is required with cheese. This is a misconception. Each cheese has its own personality and each wine has its own personality. As they say, the perfect marriage exists only in heaven. It is the same for a marriage between wine and cheese. I would settle for arranged marriages and unusual pairings.
Soft cheeses, such as brie, camembert, époisses, etc. pair well with a white wine such as Vouvray, Gewurztraminer or a white wine from the Loire Valley or Champagne. The wedding is rather unusual with red wine. It is believed that tannin in red wine will dilute the fat in cheese, which is not actually true.
Pressed cheeses, such as Comté, Beaufort, Tome de Savoie, etc. blend well with white or yellow wine. Straw Wine, Gewurztraminer, Pomerol. Red wine is not recommended with these cheeses.
Blue cheeses, such as Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne, Roquefort, etc. pair very well with sweet wines such as Banyuls, Sauternes, and Vouvray fluffy.
Goat cheeses are eaten with white wines like white Sancerre, Côte de Beaune, Pouilly fumé.
Sheep cheeses like Ossau Iraty Brocciu from Corsica, Manchego go very well with a Riesling, a Chinon, a white Sancerre, a Bandol Blanc.
Fresh cheeses pair well with the Rosé d’Anjou, the Rosé de Provence.
These are a few diverse practices that follow from the diversity in individual tastes. When you translate the very strict rules of French wine and cheese consumption to the new world, very few are interested in being so rigid with wine and cheese pairing rules, thus you find some enjoying their cheese with champagne, a previously unheard of practice. Many of my readers are keen on me offering wine and cheese pairings and I have done so in most of my cheese posts, offering the most suitable wines to accompany the cheese I present. Stay tuned for more on this in the future.
In the meantime, I will list a collection below of wine and cheese pairing infographics found on the internet. Some agree with my pairings, some don’t. I would love to hear which rules you find most suitable, so feel free to get in touch.