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Cheese And Wine Suggestions From Experts To Host A Legendary Wine Tasting Night

Pull off a wine tasting night like a pro!

Photo by Lana Abie on Unsplash

Wine and cheese, they both just seem to make everything better, but for some reason, we always seem to find ourselves stumped when tasked with matchmaking these two categories. You’re not alone! There’s a lot of options out there, but we’ve put together a failsafe pairing guide to help you pull off a wine tasting night like a pro!

Expert: Kylie Barnett

About Kylie: Kylie Barnett is the owner of Raising the Bar Communications. She is a wine & spirits expert based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been quoted in various outlets, including Bustle , Mashed, and the California Winery Advisor.

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Expert: National Wine Agency

About National Wine Agency: The National Wine Agency is a department within the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture, which works to increase the sector’s production capacity.

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#1 Brie & Sparkling Wine

All good wine tasting nights should start with popping a bottle of sparkling. Sparkling wine is a classic pairing for the soft, creamy texture and indulgent, slightly sweet flavors of brie.

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Expert Wine Pick: Chandon California Brut ($24)

#2 Goat Cheese & Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc's crisp flavors and zippy acidity are ideally suited to soft, fresh and tangy cheeses such as goat cheese - a classic, go-to pairing for this popular white wine.

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Expert Wine Pick: Drops of Jupiter Sauvignon Blanc ($20)

#3 Mozzarella & Pinot Grigio

The light-bodied, dry and slightly earthy style of Pinot Grigio makes this Italian varietal a great match for fresh, mild-flavored Italian cheeses like Mozzarella or Italian ricotta.

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Expert Wine Pick: Smoking Loon Pinot Grigio ($10)

#4 Triple Cream Cow’s Milk Cheese & Chardonnay

Chardonnay's combination of rich texture, oak flavors and mild acidity pair seamlessly with the weighty, full-bodied and buttery qualities of triple cream cow's milk cheese.

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Expert Wine Pick: Simple Life Chardonnay ($13)

#5 Gruyere & Pinot Noir

The nutty and mushroom nuances of Gruyere are a natural match for the earthy undertones of Pinot Noir. Gruyere is classic fondue cheese. To really impress guests on your next wine tasting night, melt it down and serve with fresh strawberries to highlight the red fruit characteristics also commonly associated with this popular red wine.

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Expert Wine Pick: The Crusher Pinot Noir ($14)

#6 Blue Cheese & Zinfandel

The signature robust style and sweet, jammy fruitiness of Zinfandel is a perfect foil for the pungent, salty flavors of classic blue cheeses like Roquefort, Stilton or Gorgonzola.

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Expert Wine Pick: Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel ($10)

#7 Aged Parmigiano-Reggiano & Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with firm, salty cheeses that match the intensity of the wine and have been allowed to mature and develop in flavor. Pair up with aged hard cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or cheddar.

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Expert Wine Pick: B Side Cabernet Sauvignon ($20)

#8 Gouda & Viognier or Sémillon

Gouda is another popular one for a cheese platter and tends to be on the mild side. Pairing this cheese with wine is relatively easy because it will go well with just about any wine varietal. However, when matched with a Viognier or a Sémillon, it can really enhance the aromatic Viognier with notes of apricots, orange blossom, and honey and bring out a richness in the Sémillon. These are two more obscure varietals but they're definitely worth trying!

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#9 Cheddar & (Mild) Chardonnay, Roussanne or (Strong) Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah

Cheddar is a very common cheese that usually sits somewhere in the middle of the cheese-strength spectrum but that doesn't mean it doesn't have more to offer! Pair Mild Cheddar with a crisp Chardonnay or Roussanne.

Both of these wines can be quite full-bodied without overpowering the mildness of the cheese. Strong Cheddar can be paired with Pinot Noirs or Petite Sirahs with great results. Pinots tend to be more fruit-forward and Petite Sirahs are often described as peppery, both of which will bring the most out of the Strong Cheddar.

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#10 Brie Cheese & (Young) Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or (Aged) Albariño, Zinfandel

Brie Cheese is wonderfully full-flavored and deserves a pairing that is equally indulgent. Young Brie Cheese is best paired with a white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. The Sauvignon Blanc can bring a bright acidity and even notes of tropical fruits, whereas the Chardonnay oftentimes are more delicate and buttery, which would complement the Young Brie perfectly. Aged Brie is best paired with red wines, such as an Albariño or Zinfandel. The Albariño grape comes from Northwestern Spain and is very aromatic with inherent tartness while the Zinfandel has blackberry aromas and flavors with a full body. Both of these bring out the richness of the Aged Brie.

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