Many cheese experts praise sparkling wine above all else for pairing with cheese. Thanks to its effervescent bubbles, it pairs beautifully with rich, creamy cheeses, whether it’s high summer or deep winter. (And, of course, sparkling wine makes a great cheese gift for the holidays.)
From soft cheeses to dense, crystalline varieties, popping a bottle of sparkling wine is a surefire way to have cheese and wine pairing success at your next gathering.
Double or Triple Cream Cheeses
Featured above is Sharon Creek Brie (click the image to learn more)
For rich, mouth-coating cheeses, a sparkling wine makes for an excellent pairing. Bloomy rind styles with additional cream added to the milk before cheesemaking are a fundamental pairing no celebration should be without. The difference between a double or triple cream is simply the percentage of cream added to the milk. You decide how far you'd like to indulge.
A double cream bloomy rind cheese has mushroomy, grassy, woodsy notes that pair best with a yeasty and fruity sparkling like a classic Champagne.
Pair the extra creamy triple cream cheeses with dry wine to achieve perfect balance - like a Prosecco or a Cremant d'Alsace.
Hard, Alpine Cheeses
Featured above is Pleasant Ridge Reserve (click the image to learn more)
Cheeses with a flavor profile and texture similar to Gruyère AOP have that nice balance of a rich, melt-in-your mouth flavor with dense cheese crystals found throughout the cheese paste. The nutty, slightly caramelized, slightly onion-y characteristics of these cheese styles make for an excellent sparkling wine pairing - namely traditional French Champagne and Spanish Cava. Be prepared for the cheese crystals to dance on the palate with the addition of bubbles, releasing fruity notes in both the cheese and the wine.
Very Dense, Crystalline Cheeses
Featured above is Pecora Nocciola (click the image to learn more)
The classic, holy grail of dense, crystalline cheese and sparkling wine is Parmigiano Reggiano and Lambrusco, a red sparkling wine. Because dense cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano and aged Pecorino are tightly knit in texture but stocked full of flavor, the acidity and bubbly characteristic of the wine serves to bring those flavors out even more. Also worth trying is a Brut Rosé Cava with super aged Pecorino styles.
Soft Washed Rinds
Featured above is Cooper Creek (click the image to learn more)
Washed rind cheeses, like Taleggio or this Taleggio style from My Artisano, are so full-bodied in flavor, mouthfeel, and aroma that they work wonderfully with sparkling wine. Another notable washed rind and sparkling wine pairing is the classic Langres and French Champage, where the champagne is poured directly onto the cheese.
For soft washed rinds of all types, try a Chardonnay-dominant, citrusy Brut with notes of green apples and an aroma of fresh biscuits. Or try a Brut Rosé whose deeper notes of red fruit, nuts, and fresh bread match the washed rind style beautifully.
Creamy Blue Cheese
Featured above is Bayley Hazen Blue (click the image to learn more)
Sparkling wine animates blue cheese in a way that makes it more palatable and accessible for all. Try a Cremant de Bourgogne with a classic creamy French blue like Fourme D'Ambert or the Italian Gorgonzola Dolce. Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farm is a nice American counterpart that is slightly denser in the texture but still melt-in-your-mouth flavor that balances buttery, creamy notes with the minerality naturally present in blue cheese.
These pairing recommendations only scratch the surface of what sparkling wine and cheese pairings can be - stay tuned for more pairing insights, and sign up for our Cheese 101 guide here! Tell us your favorite cheese & sparkling wine pairings in the comments below.
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