How to pair Italian cheese & wine
Each cheese presents unique organoleptic characteristics. When pairing cheese and wine it is to consider those characteristics. There will be, in other words, an ideal wine for a plate of meats and cheeses. Likewise there is an ideal wine for cheese and fruit together. In the first case, we will look for a contrast of flavors. Bearing in mind the intensity, aroma and persistence of taste of cheeses and cured meats. In the second case, instead, the sugary components will change the cards on the table. When sugar is present, to clarify, it is better to focus on a selection of sweet wines.
Some basic rules: useful but never to be taken literally
Soft cheeses, for example, can be better combined with medium-bodied white wines. Very flavored, soft cheeses will require, instead, aromatic wines. Like Riesling, Traminer or Moscato. Do not underestimate the pairing with sparkling wines. Especially if they have intensity and complexity. Flowery rind cheeses, such as brie or camembert, will require medium-bodied whites or reds. Those with a semi-hard paste, such as Tuscan pecorino, or provolone go well with medium-bodied whites. Red wines of great structure and softness for aged cheeses. The blue wines are enhanced in the combination with sweet wines, or passito. As well as with soft Reds of great structure. In conclusion, with very soft aromatic whites.
For the pairing obsessed ones
The rules of combination are simply indications, which serve to guide us on the use of the senses. In the combination of cheese and wine, therefore, it will be necessary to start from the structure of the cheese. Evaluating, firstly, the texture. Fatness and compactness of the dough are the most important characteristics. Also, succulence, i.e. salivation induced by chewing. It is important to focus our attention on flavors and aromas in addition to cheese persistence of taste.
Fresh cheeses & wine.
They are poorly seasoned, mainly, fatty and tending to sweetness. To clarify, we are not talking about the sweetness of sugar, but the sweet taste of the milk. So, as example, for Buffalo Mozzarella cheese a rosé or a medium-bodied red like a Piedirosso is very fine. Moreover, Dolcetto di Ovada wine or the Lagrein are the right choice. But if the Mozzarella is accompanied by vegetables then a soft white, like a Chardonnay, is better. That could be the right choice also for Burrata, which requires a fresh, soft and fragrant wine such as a Chardonnay, a Fiano di Avellino, the Ribolla Gialla. Fiordilatte mozzarella, stracchino and squacquerone will go well with Prosecco or Metodo Classico (classic method italian spumante).
Hard cheeses & wine.
Hard cheese with raw paste, pressed if with a sweet tendency, savory and succulent chewing will require whites of great structure but above all soft reds. So, for example, like the bra d’alpeggio and the castelmagno, they will want Chardonnay aged in wood or Chianti, Barbera, Pinot noir, Valpolicella. Raw hard cheeses with aromatic elements will want structured wines with long persistence to balance flavor, succulence and flavor. Thus, cheeses like the Grana, Parmigiano Reggiano, Fontina and Asiago goes well with Valpolicella, Pinot noir, Inferno. Likewise with Bonarda, Barbera (especially if aged in wood) and Barbaresco.
Long-term aged cheeses, spicy & wine
There are cheeses with a persistent complex and rich aromas. Therefore, the pairing will require very perfumed and structured wines. Like Amarone della Valpolicella, Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Sfursat della Valtellina. As well as, sweet wines such as Malvasia di Bosa, Passito di Pantelleria, Recioto di Soave.
Blue cheeses & wine
With a strong flavor, attacked by mold, they have a certain bitter aftertaste. So, the Gorgonzola likewise all the so-called blue cheeses go well with very morbid and sweet wines. Therefore, wines like Amarone, Marsala, Muffato, Porto, Sherry, Malvasia delle Lipari and Eiswein will be perfect pairings.
Fresh and seasoned goat cheese & wine
They are delicate and soft will ask for soft and sweet wines. The blue cheese will look great with an Erbaluce di Caluso, or a Picolit.
Cheese & wine pairing tips for Italian Cheeses
For the Buffalo mozzarella cheese we recommend a Classic method sparkling wine. That is intense and complex, fresh and sapid, perfect to balance the juiciness and sweetness of the cheese. Therefore, Champagne, Franciacorta, Oltrepò Pavese will match very well. But also red medium bodied ones are fine. Like the Fiano di Avellino, Aglianico Rosato. Etna rosé, Lagrein from South Tyrol and Falerno del Massico.
Castelmagno wine pairing
- Young Castelmagno: Red wines with tannins, well balanced. Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Barbera, aged Barbaresco, Brunello di Montalcino, Montefalco.
- Seasoned Castelmagno wine pairing: Nice pairing with sweet dessert wines. Passito di Pantelleria, Picolit, Sauternes
Tuscan pecorino cheese wine pairing:
- Fresh pecorino: Fresh and medium-bodied white and red wines. Refosco dal peduncolo rosso, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Dolcetto d’Alba.
- Aged Tuscan Pecorino pairing: Red wine of great body and complexity. Barolo, Brunello, Chianti, Amarone.
Caciocavallo wine pairing:
Wines of great body and softness. Aglianico, Cirò, Chianti Classico, Chardonnay
Parmigiano Reggiano & wine
- Young Parmigiano (12 months): Spumante metodo classico, (Franciacorta, Trento DOC). Lambrusco, Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
- Age 24 months: Sangiovese di Romagna, Chianti classico. Dolcetto d’Alba, Rossese di Dolceacqua.
- 36 months aged: Brunello di Montalcino, Barbera d’Asti, Primitivo. Montefalco red, Taurasi.
- up to 16 months: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer. Franciacorta, Oltrepò Pavese, Prosecco, Trento Doc.
- from 16-20 months: Lambrusco, Etna Rosso, Pinot Noir, Lagrein.
- over 20 months: Taurasi, Amarone della Valpolicella, Cabernet Sauvignon. Brunello di Montalcino.
Pecorino Romano cheese wine pairing
Pecorino Sardo & wine
Fresh or sweet red wine. Monica di Sardegna, Carignano del Sulcis, Barolo. Brunello, Malvasia di Bosa, Muffato dolce.
Blue cheeses & wine
Gorgonzola cheese will require a wine of great body. Rounded with aromatic complexity. Like the Amarone, Barbera d’asti, Pinot noir, Ghemme. Bramaterra. Some white wines, could match nicely, like the Chardonnay. Sweet wines will pair with blue Cheese: Picolit, Sauternes, Sweet, Gewürztraminer.