Pairing Cheese

Our love affair for artisan cheese is as every bit as varied and complex as that of our passion for wine and craft beer. To simplify the cheese tasting experience, our proprietary pairing system allows guests to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® the most ideal flavor profiles from our large selection of aged, handcrafted cheeses.

Whether you think Cheddar is better, or a nice Blue is best, we've made it easy to find the perfect pairing for your favorite gourmet cheese.  When browsing in our cheese display, you'll notice there are wine 'style' labels on each cheese.   This 'style' label is your guide to help you find the perfect wine to pair with that particular cheese.  If the label says BOLD, match it with a BOLD wine, like a medium-bodied Merlot.  If the label says HEARTY,  match it with a HEARTY craft beer like a Rogue Mocha Porter™ it's that simple!

Additional Pairing Tips:

  • Keep pairings simple: pick one distinct wine and one distinct cheese that pair well.  For example, full-flavored cheeses, such as creamy washed rind cheeses require medium to full-bodied wines, such as Merlot, Zinfandel, or Syrahs.  Likewise, pair light cheeses with light wines, such as Rieslings, Pinot Gris, or Pinot Noirs.

  • Pair wine and cheese according to the area of origin or even on the local region.  Just as the growing conditions impart particular characteristics (called “terroir”) to a region’s wines, these same characteristics may be imparted to the cheeses through the vegetation on which the animals graze.

  • Do not limit yourself only to still table wines, but branch out and try sparkling wines, late harvest and sweet wines, as well as fortified wines such as sherries and ports.  In particular, blue cheeses pair extremely well with dessert wines such as late harvest Viogniers and Rieslings and Muscat wines.  Also, creamy cheeses pair well with with sparkling wines and Champagne, as the bubbles help to cleanse the palate and refresh it for another bite.

  • Explore the varieties of cheeses based on their sources of milk.  For example, fresh goat cheeses are mild, lemony, and somewhat acidic in their flavor profiles and creamy in texture.  They pair well with crisp white wines, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, and especially Rieslings.   Aged sheep’s milk cheeses pair well with Gewurtztraminers and fruity Zinfandels.  Aged cow’s milk cheddars go well with sherries.

  • Remember that wines aren’t the only beverages that go well with cheese!  There is an ever-growing number of artisanal and craft beers, as well as craft ciders available that create interesting and fresh flavor combinations, which can also inspire you to experiment and broaden your culinary knowledge.

Remember, there are no “rules” in pairing cheese and wines, and much depends on personal likes and dislikes.  In many cases, you will discuss many characteristics found in both wine and cheese.  Good cheese and wine pairings take some thought, and it’s important to consider both the wine and the cheese’s texture and flavor profiles before making final selections. The goal is to create harmony and balance between the wine and the cheese and not overpower one with the other.


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