A Sommelier's Favorite Cheeses To Pair With Chardonnay

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If you've always wondered what the best types of cheese to pair with a chardonnay are and why, we've got the answers for you. Tasting Table spoke with Catherine Fallis, author of "Ten Grapes to Know" and Master Sommelier at Planet Grape, who revealed to us all of her favorite cheeses to pair with chardonnay. Now you too can enjoy the best cheese and wine pairing like an expert sommelier. 

"Mild, buttery, creamy, and nutty cheeses are great partners for chardonnay. For many palates, strong, spicy, bitter, earthy, or funky cheeses will overpower the wine, which only serves as a vehicle then to extend the cheese's pungency," Fallis stated. She also talked about an unforgettable cheese experience she had in the South of France. "The cheese was very strong, so we kept sipping the wine to make the taste go away, but it did the opposite," she added.

If you need a crash course on cheeses, we've explained 35 types of cheese. Milder and creamier cheeses include brie and camembert. Gouda is a mild and nutty cheese from Holland. One mild American cheese is Monterey Jack. On the other hand, stronger and funkier cheeses include a pungent French cheese you shouldn't judge on smell alone: Époisses de Bourgogne. It's rumored to have a smell so strong that it can fill up a whole room.

The best soft cheese to pair with Chardonnay is Bel Paese

Now that we've covered the flavor of cheese that works best with chardonnay, what about the cheese's texture? Cheese comes soft, hard, and anywhere in between. We asked Fallis what her top recommendation for a soft cheese to pair with chardonnay is. Fallis replied, "Semi soft Bel Paese from Lombardy, Italy is my top pick for classic warm climate chardonnay. Both the wine and the cheese have creamy, buttery texture and flavor, while the wine's intrinsic tartness will refresh the palate." Soft cheeses that are mild include burrata and, as aforementioned, brie and camembert. Soft cheeses are often young cheeses full of moisture and pair well with wines that aren't too bold in flavor or high in tannins. 

One of the best chardonnay options for this pairing in Fallis' mind is a 2023 De Wetshof Estate Chardonnay Limestone Hill Robertson Western Cape, as it is creamy, soft, subtle, and dry with delicious note of lemon, peach, mango, and almond biscotti. If you need another recommendation for chardonnay, we've uncovered the 10 best budget chardonnays of 2022.

Hard cheeses like gouda pair well with chardonnay too

We've uncovered that mild, buttery, creamy, and soft cheeses are best to pair with a good glass of chardonnay. However, there must be a hard cheese that we can enjoy with this white wine as well. Luckily for all the hard cheese lovers out there, Fallis has a recommendation for us.

She stated, "Gouda, from the Netherlands, is yellow in color with a dense, buttery texture for a firm cheese, opposite of the crumbly, chalky texture of Parmigiano Reggiano for example. Its texture and its sweet cream and nutty flavors pair nicely with even very oaky warm climate chardonnays, and pick up on the nutty, caramel flavors as well." Oaky, warm chardonnays are often bolder in flavor and can balance aged gouda, which is richer in flavor than young gouda. With young gouda cheese, reach for a crisper, lighter, and fruiter chardonnay.