A Guide to Pairing French Cheeses and Wines

With so many varieties of cheese and endless options when it comes to great French wines, it can be a difficult task to match the perfect pair. Although choosing might seem complicated at first, once you grasp the fundamentals of good flavour combination, selecting the most suitable type of wine to accompany your cheese plate will become much easier.

Use our helpful guide to the best French cheese and wine pairings below.

Fresh and Soft Cheese

These types of cheese are soft and spreadable, with flavours ranging from tangy to mild. As these cheeses are often young, they match well with young wines that are crisp, light-bodied and fruity. Wines that are citrusy, tropical or contain hints of apple, berry, melon or stone fruits will pair well, whilst those that are high in tannin should be avoided.

Fresh and Soft French Cheeses

Brie, camembert, chèvre (goat’s cheese), Brillat-Savarin, crottin, bûcheron and reblochon.

French Wine Pairings for Fresh and Soft Cheeses

Riesling (dry to sweet), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, champagne, Provençal Rosé and white port.

Semi-hard and Medium Aged Cheese

These French cheeses have a firmer texture and beautiful strong flavours. These types of cheese require medium-bodied wines such fruity reds, sparkling whites and aperitif wines that are well balanced between acidity, fruit and tannin.

Semi-hard and Medium Aged French Cheeses

Tomme d’Alsace, cantal, comté, mimolette and French Emmental.

French Wine Pairings for Semi-hard and Medium Aged Cheeses

Chardonnay, white burgundy, white bordeaux, Pinot Blanc, Riesling (off to dry), champagne, red burgundy, Pinot Noir, merlot and vintage port.

Blue Cheese

As blue cheeses are bold and packed full of flavour, they need a wine that is both bold and sweet to balance their often very salty and savoury flavours.

Blue French Cheeses

Roquefort, cambozola and bleu d’Auvergne.

French Wine Pairings for Blue Cheeses

Red port, Sauternes and Banyuls.

Hard Aged Cheese

Lovers of harder cheeses should look for wines such as full-bodied whites or tannic reds. The nuttiness and saltiness of the cheese can also be complimented by oxidative or very sweet wines such as port.

Hard Aged French Cheeses

Comté, aged cantal, tomme de Savoie, French raclette, aged mimolette and p’tit basque.

French Wine Pairings for Hard Aged Cheeses

Aged white burgundy or bordeaux, Riesling (sweet), champagne, red burgundy or bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon and red port.

 

Although having a range of wines to pair with your cheese plate is a great option, if you’d prefer to open just one or two bottles, opt for a Riesling (off to dry) or a similar bottle.