You like wine; you like cheese. Having them both together should be easy enough. But here's the thing: There's a method to properly pairing the two. "There’s an art to pairing — and a little science — but it’s not brain surgery, so there’s a lot of room for experimentation," says Joseph Hernandez, food and dining reporter for The Chicago Tribune. "Wine and cheese in particular are wonderful together, because there are so many elements to play with — fat, salt, acid, texture; it goes on!" Sure, you'd normally be totally happy guzzling down any Trader Joe's wine and snacking on any cheese. But what if you want to do it the "right" way? First off, remember that sparkling wine is always your friend. "Sparkling wine clears the palate like no other — bubbles act like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for your tongue, but better — so if all else fails, pretty much everything goes with sparkling," says Hernandez.
If you're trying to make a perfect match, Hernandez says that you should "start with the cheese and go from there." You need to consider its texture — is it an aged, hard cheese? Or are you in love with a creamy, rich cheese? That helps to inform your choice of wine. If that still sounds too complex, there's also this handy wine-and-cheese pairing rhyme that is too easy to forget: "'If it grows together, it goes together,' which is a general way of saying, if they’re from the same place, they pair well," says Hernandez. A prime example, Parmigiano-Reggiano from Emilia-Romagna in Italy, and sparkling Lambrusco from the same region. At the end of the day, any combination of wine and cheese is a win — after all, it's the nectar of the gods. Hernandez says the thing to remember when experimenting is that "some pairings will blow your mind — salty blue cheese with a sweet icewine, for instance — while a mismatch will at worst be just weird. Don’t overthink it. You’ve got wine, you’ve got cheese: You’re already winning at life." If you're still worried about going astray, scroll down to see some easy wine and cheese pairings we've already put together. Click through to see which wine pairs best with each cheese — and tips from Hernandez about each coupling. Cheers!