Try These Time-Tested, Cool-Climate Wine & Cheese Pairings at This Year’s Holiday Parties

Want some cheese with that wine? Whether you’re celebrating solo or hosting a full house this holiday season, it helps to know some classic, tried-and-true wine and cheese combinations. It also helps to understand the part climate plays in determining a wine’s flavor, acidity and cheese-pairing potential.

Wine grapes thrive best in certain climates, and while temperature is a key influencer, so, too, is the elevation of the land where the grapes grow. Everything from wind to humidity level contributes to the flavor and attributes of the wine produced, and some cheeses simply work better with higher-acidity, cooler-climate wine varieties than others. Here are some wine and cheese combinations that are pretty darn close to a perfect match.

Pinot Noir Epoisses Pairing

Wine: Pinot Noir

Cheese-Pairing Pairing Suggestion:

Epoisses

Its pungent aroma might have you expecting a more intense flavor, but Epoisses, a soft, washed-rind cow’s milk cheese, is surprisingly – and delightfully – complex. Often described as having a “meaty” flavor, this “stinky” cheese is a favorite to serve with Pinot Noir. 

Also tasty with Pinot Noir: Brie, Camembert, Taleggio, Pennyroyal Farm Boont Corners Reserve Tomme

Wine: Riesling 

Cheese-Pairing Pairing Suggestion:

Raclette

Floral, citrusy and aromatic, Riesling is a tart, high-acidity wine we recommend serving alongside Raclette, a creamy Swiss cheese boasting impressive melting properties. The sweet, light wine brings out a subtle nuttiness in the smooth, buttery cheese, making for an ideal match. 

Also tasty with Riesling: Aged Gouda, Gruyere, Pennyroyal Farm Laychee

Phillips Hill Riesling and Raclette
La Crema Chardonnay and Brie

Wine: Chardonnay 

Cheese-Pairing Pairing Suggestion:

Brie

Diverse and acidic, Chardonnay works well with nutty, creamy Brie because the acidity in the wine helps counteract the richness of the soft, fatty cheese. Whether a Chardonnay is aged in oak or unoaked also helps determine what cheeses might pair best with it. Unoaked varieties tend to work well with mild, semi-soft cheeses, while oaked Chardonnay pairs well with cheddar or washed-rind cheese. 

Also tasty with Chardonnay: Gouda, Parmesan 

Wine: Gewürztraminer 

Cheese-Pairing Pairing Suggestion:

Swiss

Gewürztraminer, a floral, cool-climate white wine, has a seductive aroma and a hint of sweetness, while Swiss, a soft, washed-rind cheese, packs a more powerful aromatic punch. The cheese comes exclusively from a region in Alsace, France, with its pungent odor masking a milder, more subtle flavor.   

Also tasty with Gewürztraminer: Gruyere, Comte, Munster

Hush Gewurtraminer and Swiss
Sparkling Wine and Cheese Pairing

Wine: Sparkling wine

Cheese-Pairing Pairing Suggestion:

While it’s hard to go wrong when pairing cheese and sparkling wine, some pairings are particularly worthy of celebration. Next time you break out the bubbly, consider serving up some Brillat-Savarin alongside it. While somewhat obscure, it is a natural partner for sparkling wine with its’ rich, buttery triple-cream style making it an ideal companion. 

Also tasty with sparkling wine: Brillat-Savarin, d‘Affinois, Camembert, Pennyroyal Farm Boont Corners Two Month Tomme

Whether you start with these proven, time-tested wine and cheese pairings or stop by your local cheese shop to get some inspiration for your own, spread merriness this holiday season by adding fine wine and cheese to your menu.

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