Pinot Grigio is a light, crisp white wine that pairs well with a variety of cheeses. The high acidity of Pinot Grigio allows it to cut through rich and fatty cheeses, while its flavors of citrus, green apple, and honey complement both mild and pungent cheeses. When pairing Pinot Grigio with cheese, you’ll want to consider the texture and flavor of the cheese to find the best combinations.
Mild, Creamy Cheeses
Young, mild cheeses that are soft and creamy pair nicely with Pinot Grigio. The wine’s bright acidity contrasts the rich creaminess of these cheeses. Some excellent options include:
Fresh and soft cheeses like mozzarella, burrata and ricotta complement the fruity flavors of Pinot Grigio. Meanwhile, buttery brie and camembert contrast nicely with the wine’s vibrant acidity. The result is a balanced pairing where neither the cheese nor the wine overpowers the other.
Aged Hard Cheeses
Slightly firmer aged cheeses also work well with Pinot Grigio. Although higher in fat and salt, these cheeses offer concentrated savory flavors that Pinot Grigio can cut through. Great options include:
- Aged gouda
- Aged cheddar
The fruity acidity of Pinot Grigio balances out the saltiness of these harder cheeses. Meanwhile, the honeyed notes in the wine pair nicely with the nutty flavors of aged gouda, Gruyere and Parmesan. The end result is a delicious combination of contrasting flavors and textures.
Soft-ripened cheeses with white, bloomy rinds offer a delicious bridge between mild, creamy cheeses and more pungent selections. Excellent options for Pinot Grigio include:
- Brillat Savarin
- Saint André
These cheeses offer a creamy texture along with earthy, mushroom flavors from their rinds. The light fruitiness of Pinot Grigio contrasts nicely with these savory notes. Meanwhile, the wine’s bright acidity cuts through the rich creaminess. Soft-ripened cheeses like these offer diverse flavors to pair with Pinot Grigio.
Pinot Grigio has the acidity to stand up to more pungent cheeses with assertive flavors. These cheeses tend to be drier, firmer and saltier. Excellent pungent cheeses to serve with Pinot Grigio include:
- Blue cheese
- Goat cheese
The tangy, salty flavors of these cheeses are softened by the fruity acidity of Pinot Grigio. Pungent cheeses like gorgonzola and blue cheese offer bold flavors that contrast the lighter citrus and apple notes of the wine. The acidity of the Pinot Grigio balances out the saltiness of the cheese.
Washed Rind Cheeses
Washed rind cheeses can be quite pungent, with earthy, funky flavors. But they also tend to be creamy in texture. These characteristics allow washed rind cheeses to pair nicely with Pinot Grigio. Try:
- Pont l’Evêque
The acidity in Pinot Grigio contrasts the rich, earthy flavors of these cheeses. The wine’s fruity notes balance out the pungent washed rind. Together they make an adventurous pairing for those who enjoy strong cheese flavors.
In addition to other soft, mild cheeses, fresh cheeses make a light pairing with Pinot Grigio. Their high moisture content contrasts the dry nature of the wine. Excellent options include:
- Cottage cheese
Fresh cheeses tend to be lower in fat and salt compared to aged varieties. This allows the fruity flavors of Pinot Grigio to shine. The high acidity of the wine also cuts through the dense creaminess of these fresh cheeses beautifully. Together they make a bright, flavorful pairing.
The tangy, tart flavors of goat cheese pair effortlessly with Pinot Grigio. Young, fresh goat cheeses complement the wine’s crisp nature. Meanwhile, aged goat cheeses offer more robust flavor for contrast. Excellent goat cheese options include:
- Aged goat gouda
The citrusy acidity of Pinot Grigio finds harmony with tangy fresh goat cheese. The wine’s green apple and melon notes contrast nicely with the nutty flavors of aged goat cheese. Together, they balance each other out beautifully. The high acidity cuts through the dense creaminess of fresh goat cheese as well.
Sheep Milk Cheeses
The flavors of both fresh and aged sheep milk cheeses work well with Pinot Grigio. These cheeses offer deep, complex flavors that contrast the crisp, fruity wine. Superb options include:
Young pecorino and ricotta offer a creamy texture and bright, tangy flavors. The fruity acidity of Pinot Grigio balances out these cheeses beautifully. Meanwhile, the wine’s crisp nature contrasts the funky, pungent flavors of aged sheep cheeses like Roquefort and Manchego.
Guidelines for Pairing
When pairing Pinot Grigio with cheese, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Match intensities – Pair mild cheeses with leaner, brighter Pinot Grigios and more robust cheeses with richer, oak-aged examples.
- Consider textures – Creamy cheeses work best with high-acid wines like Pinot Grigio to provide contrast.
- Complement flavors – Nutty, fruity Pinot Grigio pairs well with similar cheese flavors.
- Compare rinds – Soft, bloomy rinds match Pinot Grigio’s delicacy while pungent washed rinds require the wine’s acidity.
- Mind the salt – Pinot Grigio’s brightness balances out salty cheeses.
- Respect the fat – Full-bodied Pinot Grigio stands up better to fatty cheeses.
Using these guidelines, you can successfully pair a variety of cheeses with Pinot Grigio. Focus on complementing textures and flavors to create the most enjoyable combinations.
Here are some additional tips for pairing Pinot Grigio with cheese:
- Serve cheese before or during the wine – The flavors of the cheese won’t overpower the wine this way.
- Pair sweet or oak-aged Pinot Grigio with sweeter cheeses like Brie or Gouda.
- Acidic Pinot Grigio works with salty cheeses like feta or pecorino.
- Let soft cheeses warm slightly before serving to improve texture.
- Allow pungent cheeses like blue cheese to come to room temperature before serving.
- Include cheese on a platter with fruits, nuts or charcuterie that also complement Pinot Grigio.
- With aged cheeses, opt for a more full-bodied Pinot Grigio.
- With fresh cheeses, choose a bright, crisp Pinot Grigio.
Considering the style of Pinot Grigio and the characteristics of the cheese will help you create ideal pairings that bring out the best in both.
Cheese Platters with Pinot Grigio
One enjoyable way to serve Pinot Grigio with cheese is on a thoughtfully composed cheese platter. This allows you to offer guests a variety of perfectly paired cheeses. Here are some suggested cheeses to include on a platter alongside Pinot Grigio:
This offers a range of textures and flavors to suit all preferences. Pair the platter with sliced apples, grapes, figs, nuts, olives and toasted bread for a complete cheese board.
Cheese Course Ideas
In addition to a cheese platter, Pinot Grigio pairs nicely with composed cheese courses. Here are some cheese course ideas to pair with Pinot Grigio:
- Burrata drizzled with olive oil and served with crostini
- Warm Camembert baked in puff pastry, topped with fig jam
- Pinot Grigio poached pears with a blue cheese crumble
- Goat cheese tart with caramelized onions
- Manchego stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto
- Halloumi skewers with grapes and mint
Each of these cheese dishes offers rich, complex flavors that contrast beautifully with bright, acidic Pinot Grigio. They make for an elegant wine and cheese pairing.
Pinot Grigio also pairs well with fruit-based desserts that mirror the wine’s flavors. Excellent options include:
- Lemon tarts or lemon cheesecake
- Fruit salads with citrus
- Apple tarts
- Vanilla cheesecake with berry compote
- Peach melba
- Panna cotta with raspberry coulis
The acidity of Pinot Grigio contrasts rich desserts while matching citrus and fruit flavors. For a sweet pairing, enjoy Pinot Grigio with vanilla notes alongside peaches, apples or berries.
With its bright acidity, fruity flavor profile, and easy-drinking nature, Pinot Grigio pairs beautifully with a wide variety of cheeses. Soft fresh cheeses, bold blues, and nutty aged varieties can all find harmony with Pinot Grigio. Pay attention to the intensity, texture and flavors of the cheese when making your pairing selections. With the right cheese choices, Pinot Grigio makes for a stellar wine and cheese experience.