Wine and Cheese Pairings

“Wine and cheese is an ideal marriage,”

Tony_Asplersays Tony Aspler. And he should know. As well as being one of Canada’s leading wine experts, he also has a keen palette for fine cheddars.

“The cheese flatters the wine,” Tony explains, “and the wine mellows the cheese. The older the cheese, the more flavourful and intense the wine is needed to match it.”


  • As a rule of thumb, plan on a half bottle of wine per person.
  • White wines should be chilled for two hours (no longer) before being served. Red wines
    should be opened and allowed to breathe at room temperature for two hours before serving.
  • If you’re serving several wines, start with the lighter whites, move through more robust
    reds and end with a port or sherry.
  • If possible, use the correct stemware for each of the wines. The right glass does make a
    difference. Visit the web site of Riedl Crystal for some helpful guidance:


Some general guidelines for pairing Cheddars and wines…

  • Serve the cheese at room temperature to bring out all of its special characteristics and flavours
  • Research the websites of your selected wineries to see if they offer specific food or cheese suggestions to pair with their specific wines.
  • Cheeses with higher fat or moisture contents are better suited for lighter and white wines. Aged cheeses that develop stronger flavours and aromas as they mature are better suited for more robust wines.
  • For a cheese plate, cheese board or wine pairing, select a variety of cheeses that have range of texture, flavour and visual appeal and, if possible, select your variety from the same geographical region or country to give it a “terroir” appeal.
  • Both the wine and cheese go well when served with crackers and toasted breads that have complementary fruit flavours such as raisins, dates, figs and other dried fruits. Avoid crackers that have salt or herbs added.
Mild Cheddars and Other Mild Cheeses

  • BALDERSON MILD: a gentle, buttery cheese that would go well with a dry sparkling wine or a Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay or a dry Rosé. Avoid full-bodied reds with tannin or oak-aged Chardonnays whose flavour will overpower the cheese.
Medium to Old Cheddars and Other Aged Cheeses

  • Try full reds like Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon and Burgundy. Excellent white wine matches include Pinot Grigio and the new white Merlots.
Extra Old Cheddars

  • Try full bodied, well-structured reds like Shiraz and Merlot.
  • BALDERSON EXTRA OLD: a Cheddar aged for up to eighteen months takes on a lively bite that requires a well-structured red wine to balance its intensity of flavour. A Canadian Merlot with its ripe blueberry-blackberry flavour will fit the bill.
  • BALDERSON ROYAL CANADIAN CHEDDAR:A great all round flavour favourite that complements and enhances most wine pairings.
  • BALDERSON HERITAGE (3 YEAR/5 YEAR): a rich spectrum of nutty, salty, fruity flavours that linger on the palate, this cheese cries out for a full-bodied and rich red wine, port or dry sherry.
  • BALDERSON SPREADABLE CHEDDAR: a spreadable Cheddar goes nicely with herbed or flavoured crackers, in particular cracked black pepper, or even hot flavours. But, as with all fine cheese, it’s always better to stay with the basics. Pairs well with most beverages.




380,000 Pairings in your pocket, including 219 Cheeses
for Fall and Holiday Entertaining

Which pairs best with soft cheeses like brie and camembert: red or white wine? What about harder, more mature cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan? Which cheeses will please those who prefer a beer or cocktail to wine?

Now it’s fast and easy for you to find drink matches for 219 cheeses, plus thousands more pairings for appetizers, main courses and dessert with the new Nat Decants Drinks Matcher. It’s like having a personal sommelier and a bartender at your side.

Natalie MacLean, editor of Canada’s largest wine web site at, has created a pairing tool, along with other wine and cheese pairing tips. You just choose either a type of cheese or a type of drink on the pairing widget and then you can see a number of suggested pairings. Natalie also offers a version that works on your iPhone, iPod Touch or BlackBerry.

“Wine and cheese is a classic for fall and holiday entertaining: delicious and simple to prepare,” MacLean explains. “But we’re all busy during the holiday season, so we don’t have time to spend researching information. We want to do a quick search to find matches that work.”

“There are two trends that are exploding in popularity now: interest in food and wine, and the convenience of social media tools like this pairing widget,” says MacLean. “That makes the Nat Decants Drinks Matcher a natural fit – like Stilton and port. As a wine-loving geek, I love finding ways for new technology to help us savour all of life’s pleasures.”

Natalie MacLean is the author of the bestseller Red, White and Drunk All Over. She has won four James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher. Distinguished Writing Award. At the World Food Media Awards in Australia, she was named the World’s Best Drinks Writer. Sign-up for her free newsletter at