Classic combinations of cheese, wine and olives

Classic combinations of cheese, wine and olives

merlot party 5

Basic Guidelines

  • 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.

Classic combinations

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
Taleggio Merlot Garlic-stuffed olives

The right pairing of wine with cheese, or combination of wine, cheese and olives adds a touch of elegance to any gathering. Try some of these combinations and discover your own favorites. Salude!

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Filed under Artisan Cheese, Cheese, Cheese wine and olives, Chef Lippe

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