Nothing is more delicious than a slice of creamy cheese paired with a complementing wine. While each is enjoyable on its own, keep reading to learn how to taste a piece of cheese with a flowery rind in a way that celebrates the magic of the combination. That means you’ll have every excuse to serve the Fromage and uncork the wine.
Bloomy cheeses are known for their thin white rind that is totally edible and ripens the cheese from the outside in, actually enhancing the cheese flavor. The most common bloomy cheeses are Brie and Camembert. The flavor of brie is rich, buttery, fruity, and increasingly earthy with age.
Have you ever wondered what wine goes well with Brie?
Named after France’s historic town of Brie, this double-crème, soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese is characterized by a white, bloomy rind of penicillium candidum mold, and has got a smooth creamy texture, and soft yet distinct flavor: it should smell fresh with perhaps a light hint of mushrooms. Be sure to bring this cheese to room temperature before serving it. In this way, Brie becomes softer, runny, and is quite spreadable.
Taste it like a pro
Pairing wine with Brie can take a little creativity and some preparations. Although there’s no wrong way to enjoy wine and cheese, there are steps you can take to engage your senses and appreciate the two tastes to the fullest.
For both of the tastings, it’s important to remember how you are appreciating the wine and cheese: first by look and feel, then smell, and finally, taste.
For the perfect pairing of wine with Brie keep in mind that the savory richness of French cheese often provides the perfect balance to a crisp white wine, flavorful red, or sparkling wine from the same region. Cheeses and wines with the same origin will often make excellent pairings, as they reflect the culture and terroir of the area.
How Brie likes it? Zesty, of course
Rich and creamy Brie goes exceptionally well with a golden glass of light-bodied, unoaked Chardonnay such as a steely Chablis, from Burgundy, that with its sharp acidity, tangy finish, and delicate lemon and green apple flavors deliciously marries with the soft-ripened beauty of Brie cheese.
Dry, traditional-method Brut sparkling wines from Chardonnay are one of the best wines with Brie. The balanced fruit, lingering acidity, yeasty flavors of a Blanc de Blanc Champagne will match the creamy paste, slightly sweet flavor, and velvety white rind of the cheese.
Restrained, dry, elegant Sauvignon Blanc along with its subtle herb and mineral elements such as in a Loire Sancerre should allow the rich flavors of the cheese to shine and its freshness will cut through the cheese fatty profile. Defined by its refreshing acidity and notes of herbs, citrus, and gooseberry Sancerre is generally unoaked, thus recommended for the Brie mushroomy and nutty feeling.
With its soft, gooey center, Brie just screams elegance and exquisiteness, whether served with a classic varietal white or sparkling wine.
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, a sparkling wine that goes brilliantly with Brie is Chenin Blanc, a fresh, crisp and versatile zesty white wine which comes in its sparkling version in France as Crémant de Loire, Vouvray, and sparkling Saumur that all have high acidity which acts as a palate cleanser to this creamier cheese.
Going local or closer to home: no hard & fast rules
The best wine with Brie could also be cultivated in a different region as we’ve moved on from the days where wine pairing just involved drinking a region’s wine alongside its delicacies, especially if the cheese comes with a special coating.
Newer Brie creations coated in herbs, nuts, peppers, are also now on the market. These varieties pair well with very young, light-bodied, fruity, and unoaked wines due to the earthy nature of the cheeses and the coating affects the palate.
Light-bodied and delicately floral Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy is another perfect companion for the creamy, buttery feel of the cheese. Some tend to turn their nose up at Pinot Grigio for being too simple. But this Italian wine is ultimately refreshing, straw-colored in the glass, with delicate citrus and spring blossom aroma, and will be a good companion for your cheese tasting.
The north of Italy has hidden gems worth being matched with the soft creaminess of Brie such as the Friulano grape from Venezia Giulia Region. The former “Tocai Friulano” (a name no longer allowed after a dispute between Hungarian Tokaji and Tocai Friulano) wine is white and tart, therefore it’s completely different from the usual sweet Tokaji, which is made from botrytized grapes. Characterized by aromas of apple, pear, and frequently white peach – as well as flowers, the Friulano is ideal to be combined with the delicate buttery flavor and smooth texture of Brie.
Another light-bodied yet distinctive white wine that goes with Brie comes from the Spanish wine region of Rias Baixas: Albariño. High-quality, zesty, and fruity, the wine’s crisp acidity pairs well with the aromatic qualities of this soft, surface-ripened cheese. Besides the notes of citrus fruit like lemons, limes, grapefruit, and zest, Albariño is notable for its dryness and subtle salty flavor, and almost complete lack of sweetness, making it perfect to complement the delicate smell of this French cheese.
Crossing your mind
Smooth, creamy, and buttery Brie can certainly stand up to a bone-dry Riesling (and its offspring) from Mosel Valley, one of the most famous 13 German wine regions for quality wines (Qualitätswein). Its warm and melty inside, softly coating your mouth, will be cleaned by the natural acidity of the wine, and the green apples, lemon, lime, minerals, and stone aromas of the wine won’t overwhelm the cheese delicate flavors.
Complex with a good acidity due to acidity and to the mineral notes, sapid and profound, the white Kerner grape, a cross between Riesling and Schiava originally developed in Germany, from the Italian Alto-Adige area due to its elegance and structure is suitable for a fine Brie selection.
A successful crossing of Riesling and Madeleine Royale Müller-Thurgau is the perfect choice for savoring the creamy soft Brie cheese and carefully appreciating its flavor. The wines made from this German varietal have a lot of finesse and fruitiness, which is also very down-to-earth with a fresh acidity that matches with the fatty profile of Brie.
Fruity shades of red
Traditionally, when it comes to pairing cheese and wine, most tend to stick to white wines and pair wines with cheeses that have a similar balance, the strength of flavor, body, acidity, and texture. Great pairings should complement each other to enhance shared characteristics rather than compete in flavor and texture.
But a fresh, young and pale red is one of the best wine matches with “flowery crust” Brie: try it with Northern Italy reds with a flowery bouquet, moderate structure, and medium evolution, such as a Sangiovese di Romagna or a Dolcetto del Monferrato.
Some of the best Northern Italian wines with Brie have got a flowery bouquet, with good structure, precise fruity returns accompanied by a good acidity such as Valpolicella Classico, an intense ruby red Italian wine, with aromas of red fruit (strawberry, cherry), perfect freshness and a measured body that make it the ideal companion for Brie, whose creamy notes are enriched by the fruity aromas of the wine.
A medium-bodied Tuscan Sangiovese such as a Chianti with fruity, floral, and spicy notes and concrete tannin balanced by a fresh acidity will be a better match as the cheese matures and it forms a smooth, runny interior with earthy and sweet tones.
Pairing red wine with Brie will help balance the tannins and let the fruit shine through.
For example with a Cabernet Franc from a cooler climate such as Loire Valley in the Anjou-Saumur and Touraine region, where it creates refreshing, lighter-bodied, youthful wines with notes of red raspberries and cherries, that are less tannic wines than its more famous Bordeaux cousin.
The white-rinded Brie matches well also with a 100% Gamay red wine such as a light, fresh, and easy-drinking style Beaujolais Nouveau and Beaujolais Village. High acidity, low tannin, and bright red-fruit notes define Gamay wines, which have also delicate floral aromas of violets, and sometimes even subtle notes of earth, making Gamay a great wine to pair with Brie.
The delicate cherry notes and light body of a typical Pinot Noir is red wine and Brie’s favorite pairing: especially in Burgundy Pinot Noir retains a certain freshness and acidity, even in the hottest years, and comes in a fruit-driven style with delicate tannins, which soften over time. The mushroomy flavors of the wine also go beautifully with the earthy taste of the cheese.
Another style of wine that pairs well with this creamy cheese is a sparkling wine coming from the same grape: a Sparkling Pinot Noir such as a Sancerre Rosé from Loire Valley, which requires 100% Pinot Noir grapes. Usually, this wine has a powerful bouquet that combines red berry fragrances (strawberry, cherry, red currant) with spicy nuances and its bubbly effervescence beautifully cuts through the richness and creaminess of the cheese whilst its acidity keeps your palate refreshed, ready for more cheese.