Table of Contents
Chardonnay, a versatile varietal known for its diverse expressions, pairs excellently with a range of cheeses, offering a myriad of delightful combinations!
What Kind of Wine Is Chardonnay?
Chardonnay is typically a medium to full-bodied wine with a range of flavors. Often, Chardonnay has undergone oak aging, imparting buttery, vanilla, and even caramel notes. With age, Chardonnay wines can develop a creamy texture and nuances of hazelnut.
Chardonnay crafted from grapes grown in cooler climates forefront green fruit and citrus notes. Chardonnay from warmer climates will have stone fruit and maybe even tropical fruit, like pineapple. Keep this in mind while you’re pairing your Chardonnay with cheese.
Chardonnay comes in two general styles:
- Fruit-Forward Chardonnay: This variant of Chardonnay offers a luscious, fruit-driven experience, featuring rich, fruity flavors that captivate the palate. Often full-bodied, it showcases a vibrant fruitiness.
- Buttery and Oaky Chardonnay: This style of Chardonnay encapsulates buttery richness and distinct oak notes, presenting a creamy and full-bodied tasting experience. It often feels heavier in your mouth as you sip.
Knowing what kind of Chardonnay you have can help you pair your cheese.
Helpful Tip: Almost all Chardonnay producers in the US will include hints as to their wine style on the label, so read those labels! If you’re buying a Chardonnay and aren’t sure what the style is, ask a store clerk for help.
Check out more about Chardonnay wine here.
Cheese Recommendations for Fruit-Forward Chardonnay Wines
For fruit-forward, luscious Chardonnay wines, select cheeses that complement the wine’s flavors, for example, fruit-infused cheeses, such as apple-infused or pear-infused variations. The natural sweetness and tang of these cheeses align with the fruity character of Chardonnay. Additionally, creamy and mild options like Camembert and Gruyère act as wonderful partners, allowing the fruit-forward notes of Chardonnay to shine.
Check out these Chardonnay cheese pairings to get you started:
1. Chardonnay & Camembert
Camembert, with its creamy texture and slightly nutty notes, finds a delightful partner in fruit-forward and luscious Chardonnay. The wine’s fruitiness enhances the creamy Camembert, creating a palate-pleasing fusion. Try herb-infused Camembert for a twist.
2. Chardonnay & Gruyère
The creamy and slightly nutty Gruyère harmoniously complements the fruity essence of fruit-forward Chardonnay. The gentle flavors of Gruyère elegantly align with the luscious notes of the wine.
3. Chardonnay & Apple-Infused Cheese
Infused with the sweetness of apples, this cheese enriches the fruit-forward profile of Chardonnay. The burst of apple flavors in the cheese resonates with the fruity essence of Chardonnay, creating layered, fruity bites.
4. Chardonnay & Pear-Infused Goat Cheese
The delightful tanginess of goat cheese, infused with the essence of pears, perfectly balances with the fruit-forward notes of Chardonnay. This pairing offers a unique blend of flavors where the sweetness of pears complements the fruity character of Chardonnay, resulting in a taste sensation that is both complex and inviting.
Chardonnay Cheese Pairings for Buttery and Oaky Wine Styles
The other common style of Chardonnay wine embodies buttery richness and oaky notes, offering a distinctive flavor profile for cheese pairing. This style of Chardonnay can hold up to creamy and rich cheeses. Check out these pairings.
5. Chardonnay & Triple Cream Brie
Triple Cream Brie, a rich and creamy cheese, pairs beautifully with the buttery richness and oaky notes of Chardonnay.
6. Chardonnay & Aged Gouda
Aged Gouda is a Dutch cheese variety characterized by its intense, nutty flavor and crumbly texture. This pairs wonderfully with the buttery and oaky tones of Chardonnay.
Pro Tip: Smoked Gouda also works well with this style of Chardonnay. I had it last night. OMG!
8. Chardonnay & Fontina
Fontina is a semi-soft Italian cheese with a mild, nutty flavor. Its creamy texture and gentle taste make it an ideal companion for oaky Chardonnay.
9. Chardonnay & Havarti with Dill
Havarti with dill, known for its creamy texture and a hint of dill flavor, complements the buttery and oaky notes of Chardonnay, creating a delightful tasting experience.
10. Chardonnay Alpine Style Cheese
Alpine style cheese, with its nutty and fruity flavors, pairs well with the oaky nuances of Chardonnay, adding depth to the tasting experience. Examples include: Gruyère, Emmental, Comté, Appenzeller, Raclette, and Beaufort
These cheeses are excellent for melting, slicing, grating, and enjoying on their own.
As an aside – Grilled Cheese is also a winning Chardonnay pairing.
Quick Tips for Pairing Chardonnay and Cheese
If you already know what your chosen Chardonnay tastes like, then choosing the right cheese is easier.
Here are a few quick tips:
- Pair Flavors: Tangy, briny cheese pairs well with fruit-forward, cool climate citrusy Chardonnays. Chablis, anyone? Buttery Chardonnays work well with rich, creamy cheeses.
- Pair for Vintage: Older Chardonnays express nuanced layers of dried peach, and apple, developing almond notes. This works well with milder cheeses that allow the wine’s flavors to shine through.
- Pair for Region: If you’re fortunate enough to live in a place that caters to local, boutique wines and cheese, then why not combine both for your next tasting? At the very least, you’re supporting your local artisans.
- Pair for Intensity: You can go about this one of two ways: 1) Match a powerful, aromatic Chardonnay with a powerful, pungent cheese, or 2) opt for an aromatic Chardonnay and a less aromatic cheese or vice-versa.
Discover: Goat Cheese and Wine Pairing Guide
Final Thoughts: Chardonnay Cheese Pairing Options
Experimentation is always a must when pairing foods and wine together, so be sure to try different combinations to dial in your favorite Chardonnay and cheese pairings.
Start with the Chardonnay style you’ll be enjoying, and then move onto your cheese selection. Pick up a few different cheeses at a time. This will help you tease out flavors and textures.
Thirsty for More?
Getting started with food and wine pairing? Check out this quick guide here.
Love Chardonnay? Here’s a list of my 5 favorite everyday Chardonnay pairings for normal people.
Hosting a wine night? Here are a list of cold appetizers for white wine here.