pairing wine and cheese

Wine and Cheese Pairing: the Best Cheeses for Dessert Wines

Discover how to pair dessert wine and cheese to end your meal with an exciting contrast between sweet and savory flavors.


Many people like to end the meal with a good cheese, accompanied by fruit (fresh or dried), in place of dessert. In fact you don't need to eat a cake slice to end your dinner with sweet and fruity flavors: you just need to pair cheese with a dessert wine.

This pairing is not easy because wines and cheeses have complex tastes. Cheeses vary in flavor, fat content and texture. Wines change depending on many characteristics: body, acidity, sweetness and structure. 
So, how to estabish what wine goes with cheese? In particular in this artice we'll see how to pair dessert wine and cheese.

Wine and cheese pairings for beginners

The first thing to know is that sweet and salty are a perfect match: the sweetness of winesis perfectly counterbalanced by the savory flavor of the cheese.

Another issue is trying to match wines and cheeses considering their organoleptic properties. Fresh cheeses have a higher content of liquid, their texture is creamy. They need a more acid and fresh wine. With the passing of time the liquid evaporates and the cheese taste becomes more savory, the aroma changes and the most mature cheeses are enriched by new flavor notes. This process varies accoriding to the place or method of seasoning, or by the components that mature within them. With time, Gorgonzola increases its piquant component, in other cheeses the smell gets stronger. Also dessert wines have a similar behavior: their flavor matures with age.

Here is an example of this transformation: a young Port (a Portugese dessert wine), with its notes of red berries, pairs best with Brie or Camembert, while the same cheese, with a longer seasoning, acquires a taste of caramel and nuts and pairs well with Cheddar and goat's milk cheese.

Another important tip: try to pair wines and cheeses from the same territory of origin. The flavors and nuances of a wine can be given by the surrounding vegetation or by a particular soil composition, and the same goes for cheese. For this reason it is always a good rule to keep combinations accoriding to the place of origin.

cheese and dessert wine

Wine and cheese pairing guide

Here we are with a list of cheese types and dessert wines that you can match.

Fresh cheese

With fresh cheeses avoid tannic wines, they marry better with fruity wines, with a light flavor, a sparkling Champagne, or a sweet Moscato, Riesling, White Port.
Wine and cheese tip: Marsala superiore and fresh ricotta enriched with chopped pistacchio. Marsala superiore has a sweet taste but is perfect for a dessert combination with ricotta!

Semi-hard cheese

Semi-hard cheese needs more structured wines, with fruity, acidity and tannic flavors. Emmental, Gruy√®reTommeCastelmagno pair with Champagne, vintage Port, Sherry.

Wine and cheese tip: Moscato di Noto and Castelmagno, from Italy, to appreciate the different shades of Italian flavors, from Piedmont to Sicily.

Stinky cheese

Cheese with strong smell like Taleggio and Morbier pair with sweet wines to complete and soften their strong flavor (Riesling, Sauternes).

Wine and cheese tip: Pont l’eveque with Champagne, two ancient flavors from the French tradition.

Blue cheese

StiltonGorgonzola, Roquefort (or Fourme D'Ambert) pair well with red Port, Madeira, Sauternes, Sherry, Tokaji. In this pairings, the sweet flavors combine with the sharpness of these veined cheeses.

Wine and cheese tip: Roquefort and Sauternes for a classic pairing.

Hard cheese

Aged cheeses require more body, structured wines with a more complex flavor. Aged Cheddar, Gouda, PecorinoParmigiano reggiano are excellent with Montefalco Sagrantino Passito, Champagne, Prosecco, Madeira, Marsala superiore, Moscato d'Asti, Moscato di Noto, red Port, Sauternes, Sherry, Vinsanto.
Wine and cheese tip: Montefalco Sagrantino Passito and Pecorino di Fossa, two regional products to exalt two fine flavors from the Center of Italy.

Cheese and wine by Vanessa lollipop CC 2.0
Cheese and wine pairing by Bruno Girin CC 2.0