Pairing & Tasting Tips
Pairing wine, cheese and charcuterie doesn't need to be a formal or intimidating experience, it should be fun and delicious! From the conventional to the unconventional, the pleasure in enjoying wine, cheese and charcuterie together is to discover your own favorite combinations. Enjoy these general guidelines to get started:
3-4 HOURS PRIOR
- Create signage to help guests specify each wine, cheese and charcuterie.
- Set up essentials, such as napkins, glasses, utensils and serving ware, chairs and tables
- Strategically set up trash cans for easy cleanup
- Prep any food items that you may be cooking and refrigerate if possible
2-3 HOURS PRIOR
- Put out any decorations, such as flowers, signs, unscented or flameless candles
- Place white, sweet and sparkling wines in refrigerator to chill
- Set up a music playlist to enjoy at the party!
- Run dishwasher so sink is empty
30 MIN - 1 HOUR PRIOR
- Set out hard cheeses, charcuterie, red wines and basic accompaniments such as nuts and breads to bring to room temperature
- Place white, sparkling, and sweet wines inice bucket(s). Open red wines to breathe
- Set out soft cheeses, remaining accompaniments and refrigerated items last
68°F: CHEESE & CHARCUTERIE
Encased & Whole-Muscle Charcuterie
60°F - 65°F: FULL-BODIED RED WINES
Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
55°F - 60°F: LIGHT RED WINES
Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Barbera, Grenache
50°F - 55°F: FULL-BODIED WHITE WINES
Chablis, Chardonnay, Viognier, Mentrachet
45°F - 50°F: LIGHT WHITE WINES & PÂTÉ
Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio
45°F - 55°F: SWEET WINES
Rosé, Moscato, Riesling
42°F - 52°F: SPARKLING WINES
Wine Pairing Tips
Pairing wine, cheese and charcuterie doesn't need to be a formal or intimidating experience, it should be fun and delicious! Take the time to understand basic pairings with these simple rules.
White wine is very versatile with low tannins and crisp acidity
Cheeses: Goat Cheese, Triple Cream Cheese, Mozzerella
Charcuterie: Mortadella, Lonza, Salmon Rillette, Duck Rillette, Salame Cotto
Red wines, such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, have ripe, red fruit flavors and soft to bold tannins.
Cheeses: Wash Rind Cheeses, Aged Cheeses, Blue Cheese
Charcuterie: Pork Salami, Chorizo, Lomo, Sbriocolona, Sbriocolona, Pâté Maison
Sweet wines are wonderful ways to offset tangy or pungent foods.
Cheeses: Blue Cheese, Gorgonzola, Muenster
Sparkling wines are very versatile, with the bubbles bringing out flavors in a range of foods.
Cheeses: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Goat Cheese
Charcuterie: Pâté, Rillete, Fatty Meats
The first rule of pairing wine is that there are no rules! A great place to start is with these simple and smart guidelines to help you discover your favorite palates and pairings. Enjoy exploring the different combinations with wine, cheese and charcuterie to discover your personal favorites.
WHAT GROWS TOGETHER GOES TOGETHER
Wine, cheese, and charcuterie from the same region will often make excellent pairings, as they reflect the culture and terroir of the area.
WHEN TO COMPLEMENT
Pair wines with cheeses and charcuterie that have similar balance, strength of flavor, body, acidity, tannins, and texture. Great pairings should complement each other to enhance shared characteristics rather than compete in flavor and texture.
WHEN TO CONTRAST
Contrasting strength and tannins will help balance the characteristics in the wine, cheese and charcuterie. Pairing aged cheeses and fattier charcuterie with a bold, full-bodied red wine will help balance the tannins and let the fruit shine through. Or pair a crisp and acidic Sauvignon Blanc with a Triple Cream Brie and more delicate charcuterie to balance the textures for a fantastic pairing.
WHAT TO AVOID
Avoid pairing lighter, creamy cheeses like Chèvre and Burrata with highly tannic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. Avoid pairing spicy meats with high alcohol wines, as this increases the "heat" of the wine. Pungent cheeses paired with spicy or seasoned meats will create a competition in flavors.