Classic combinations of cheese, wine and olives
- Mild, hard cheeses complement a wider range of wines than soft, ripe, or mature cheeses do.
- Overall, white wines go better with cheese than do red wines.
- Sweeter whites tend to be more versatile than drier whites when paired with cheeses.
- Tannic red wine (red wine with dry, rich notes) suits the hardest cheeses best.
Select the cheese, then match the wine
Consider the characteristics of the cheese in selecting the complementary wine.
- Texture — Softer cheeses coat your palate, preventing you from fully appreciating the flavor and body of many wines.
Solution: Choose white wines, which feature a characteristic, refreshing acidity, and thus provide a palate-cleansing effect when paired with soft or creamy cheeses.
- Sweetness — certain mild cheeses have a sweet flavor — and make dry wines taste acidic and tart in their company.
Solution: Choose a semi-dry, sweet or dessert wine.
These classic wine, cheese and olive combinations have withstood the test of time:
|Type of Cheese||Best Wine Pairings||Olives|
|Asiago||Bardolino, Pinot Grigio||Bella Di Cerignola olives; super supreme whole green olives|
|Brie||Sancerre, Frascati, Medoc, Bordeaux reds, and Cotes du Roussillon|
|Cheddar||Burgundy, Barolo, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc and tawny ports; Periquita||Picante green pitted olives with Cabernet Franc; Italian aglio green pitted olives|
|Colby||Reisling||Mixed olive salad|
|Danish Blue||Full-bodied reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon and St. Emilion; Sherry||Blue cheese-stuffed olives|
|Feta||Dry Greek wines, Retsina, pinot noir, ouzo, light reds, Beaujolais, and Gewurztraminer||Extra-large pitted Kalamata seasoned olives|
|Fontina (Italian)||Merlot, Pinot grigio, most white wines, Corvo Bianco, and verdicchio|
|Fontina (Swedish)||Dry reds; Barolo, and Bardolino|
|Fontinella||Zinfandel||Jumbo Sicilian green olives|
|Gloucester||Pommard, Sancerre, Pinot noir, and Chenin Blanc|
|Goat Cheese||Fruity white wines; Vouvray, Sauvignon or Chenin Blanc, and most reds||Sundried tomato-stuffed olives with goat cheese|
|Gorgonzola||Full-bodied, robust reds; Chianti Classico, Barolo, Bordeaux, Sangiovese or Sardinian||Super colossal Calabrese olives; gorgonzola-stuffed olives|
|Gouda||Most wines, especially reds; Valpolicella or Greves red or white; Pinot Chardonnay; rosé; dry or cream sherries; ports, and most dessert wines|
|Gruyere||French reds or whites; most rosé, sherries, and champagnes|
|Havarti||Dry reds such as Chianti; Bordeaux reds and Rioja reds, or dry whites like Meursault or Bordeaux white||Hot pitted olive salad|
|Jarlsberg||All wines, especially reds and French country whites|
|Mozzarella||Marsala||Sicilian green cracked olive|
|Parmigiano Reggiano||Dry reds such as Amarone, Barolo, and Chianti; dry Italian whites; Chardonnay||Olive medley (California green olives, jumbo Kalamata olives and mammoth black Greek olives)|
|Provolone||Full-bodied reds; Chianti, Pinot noir, Shiraqz and Rioja reds; light whites, including white Merlot||Seasoned olives gigantic; provolone-stuffed olive|