Blue cheeses

March 24, 2023Pairing food

What wines pair well with blue cheeses?

Blue cheeses can be challenging to pair with wine because certain combinations can result in harsh flavors. Milder blue cheeses can generally be paired with simple, fruity red wines without too much structure, as well as most Sauvignon Blancs, dry Rieslings, and Italian whites. However, stronger blue cheeses often require specific types of wine. For example, Sauternes is a classic pairing with Roquefort cheese, and Stilton is traditionally paired with Port. When pairing Stilton with Port, it is best to choose a softer, creamier Tawny Port rather than a red Port. Roquefort can also be paired with sweet wines like Monbazillac, Cadillac, and New World examples. Be careful when pairing fortified dessert wines with strong blue cheeses, as the “heat” from these wines can be brought out by the bacteria and salt in the cheese, resulting in off-flavors. Gorgonzola and other strong blue cheeses can generally be paired with most dry white wines and reds from northern Italy, as well as the “marmalade” Torcolato dessert wine from Breganze. Oaked Chardonnays or oaked Sauvignon Blancs and Sauvignon-Semillon blends can also be good choices for pairing with blue cheese, as the melon, tropical, and citrus flavors of Chardonnay can harmonize with the blue vein in the cheese, while the oak brings out the creamy, nutty background. Aromatic whites like Alsace Gewürtzraminer and wines from Marlborough and other New World regions made in a similar style can also be good choices. Some top recommendations for pairing with blue cheese include Sauternes from Bordeaux, France; Pouilly-Fuissé (Chardonnay) from Burgundy, France; and Tawny Port from Portugal.