Charcuterie and wine are a classic pairing that can elevate any gathering, from a casual picnic to a formal dinner party.
Charcuterie boards typically feature a variety of cured meats, such as prosciutto, salami, and pate, as well as a selection of cheeses, crackers, and fruits.
But with so many different flavors and textures to consider, choosing the right wine to complement your charcuterie board can be a daunting task.
In this article, we’ll explore the world of charcuterie and wine pairings, from light and fresh to bold and complex, and offer some tips and guidelines to help you create the perfect combination for any occasion.
So whether you’re a seasoned sommelier or just starting to explore the world of wine, read on for some delicious inspiration.
So, what wine goes with charcuterie boards?
The ideal wine pairing is crucial to a complete charcuterie board experience. For mild, salty meats such as prosciutto, soppressata, or mortadella, select light-bodied whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio) or light to medium-bodied reds (Pinot Noir, Merlot) to balance the savory flavors.
- Pairing wine with charcuterie and cheese can enhance your culinary experience.
- The right wine pairing can complement and balance the flavors of the meat and cheese.
- Lighter charcuterie meats and fresh cheeses pair well with light-bodied wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.
- Medium charcuterie meats and semi-soft cheeses pair well with medium-bodied wines like Chianti and Pinot Noir.
- Bold charcuterie meats and hard cheeses pair well with full-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
- Blue cheeses pair well with sweet and full-bodied wines like Port and Sauternes.
Charcuterie and Wine Pairings
Light Charcuterie Wine Pairings
Light charcuterie boards are typically made up of delicate and mild meats, such as prosciutto, coppa, and jamon iberico, that pair well with lighter-bodied wines.
These meats have a subtle flavor and a delicate texture, so you want to choose wines that won’t overpower them.
- Prosciutto and Pinot Grigio: Prosciutto is a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth cured meat that pairs perfectly with a light and refreshing white wine like Pinot Grigio. This Italian wine has a crisp acidity and citrus notes that complement the salty, savory flavors of the prosciutto. Look for a Pinot Grigio from the northern regions of Italy, such as Alto Adige or Friuli, for a perfect match.
- Coppa and Beaujolais: Coppa is a dry-cured pork shoulder that has a slightly spicy flavor and a silky texture. This meat pairs well with a light-bodied red wine like Beaujolais, which is made from the Gamay grape in the Beaujolais region of France. Beaujolais has low tannins and high acidity, which make it a perfect match for the delicate flavors of coppa. Look for a Beaujolais with a bright, fruit-forward profile and a hint of earthiness.
- Jamon Iberico and Sherry: Jamon Iberico is a Spanish cured ham that is prized for its nutty, rich flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. This meat pairs well with a fortified wine like Sherry, which is also from Spain. The dry, nutty flavors of a Fino or Manzanilla Sherry complement the nuttiness of the ham, while the acidity helps to cut through the rich, fatty texture. Serve the Sherry slightly chilled for a refreshing and delicious pairing.
- Duck Pate and Riesling: Duck pate is a rich and creamy spread that is made from duck liver and seasoned with herbs and spices. This meat pairs well with a white wine like Riesling, which has a crisp acidity and a touch of sweetness. The sweetness of the wine balances the richness of the pate, while the acidity helps to cut through the creamy texture. Look for a Riesling from Germany or Alsace, which are known for their high-quality and food-friendly wines.
Medium Charcuterie Wine Pairings
Medium charcuterie boards are typically made up of meats with a slightly stronger flavor and firmer texture, such as soppressata, mortadella, salami, and pate de campagne.
These meats can handle bolder and more complex wines, without being overpowered.
- Soppressata and Chianti: Soppressata is a dry-cured sausage that is made with a combination of pork and beef. It has a spicy and slightly tangy flavor that pairs well with a medium-bodied red wine like Chianti. Chianti is a red wine from Tuscany, Italy, that is made from Sangiovese grapes. It has a firm tannic structure and flavors of cherry and earthy notes that complement the spicy flavors of the soppressata.
- Mortadella and Pinot Noir: Mortadella is a traditional Italian cold cut that is made from finely ground pork and flavored with spices, including black pepper and pistachios. It has a mild, nutty flavor and a smooth, creamy texture that pairs well with a light-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is a red wine that is known for its bright fruit flavors and silky tannins. It complements the delicate flavors and textures of mortadella without overwhelming them.
- Salami and Zinfandel: Salami is a dry-cured sausage that is made with a variety of spices, including garlic, fennel, and pepper. It has a bold and savory flavor that pairs well with a full-bodied red wine like Zinfandel. Zinfandel is a red wine that is known for its rich, fruit-forward flavors, and high alcohol content. It balances the intense flavors of the salami and enhances its spicy notes.
- Pate de Campagne and Syrah: Pate de Campagne is a rustic French terrine made with pork, pork liver, and various seasonings, including herbs and spices. It has a rich, earthy flavor that pairs well with a bold and complex red wine like Syrah. Syrah is a red wine that is known for its full-bodied flavor and peppery notes. Its intense flavor profile and firm tannins complement the rich, savory flavors of pate de campagne.
Bold Charcuterie Wine Pairings
Bold charcuterie boards are typically made up of cured meats with a strong and distinctive flavor, such as chorizo, bresaola, saucisson, and duck confit. These meats require bold and complex wines that can stand up to their intense flavors.
- Chorizo and Rioja: Chorizo is a spicy and bold Spanish sausage that is made with smoked paprika and garlic. It pairs well with a full-bodied and bold red wine like Rioja. Rioja is a red wine that is made from Tempranillo grapes and aged in oak barrels, giving it complex flavors of leather, tobacco, and spices. Its bold tannins and acidity complement the spicy and smoky flavors of chorizo.
- Bresaola and Cabernet Sauvignon: Bresaola is a lean and tender cured beef that has a slightly nutty flavor. It pairs well with a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine that is known for its bold and tannic structure, with flavors of black currant and cedar. It complements the nutty and delicate flavors of bresaola without overpowering them.
- Saucisson and Malbec: Saucisson is a traditional French dry-cured sausage that has a bold and spicy flavor. It pairs well with a full-bodied and fruity red wine like Malbec. Malbec is a red wine that is known for its ripe and jammy fruit flavors, with a hint of spice and smokiness. It balances the bold flavors of the saucisson and enhances its spicy notes.
- Duck Confit and Merlot: Duck confit is a French dish that involves slow-cooking duck legs in their own fat, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. It pairs well with a medium to full-bodied red wine like Merlot. Merlot is a red wine that is known for its soft and supple tannins, with flavors of black cherry, plum, and chocolate. Its fruity flavors and velvety texture complement the rich and savory flavors of the duck confit.
Cheese and Wine Pairings
When it comes to cheese and wine pairings, there’s an endless variety of combinations to try. One classic approach is to match the intensity of the cheese with the body and flavor profile of the wine.
Semi-soft cheeses like Brie, Gouda, and Havarti have a mild to medium flavor and a creamy texture that pairs well with a variety of wines.
Semi-Soft Cheese Wine Pairings
Semi-soft cheeses have a soft and creamy texture, making them a versatile pairing option. Here are some classic pairings to try:
- Brie and Chardonnay: Brie is a soft and buttery cheese with a delicate and earthy flavor. It pairs well with a medium-bodied white wine like Chardonnay. Chardonnay is a popular white wine that has a full-bodied flavor with notes of apple, pear, and vanilla. Its buttery and rich texture complements the creamy texture of the Brie, while the acidity helps to cut through the richness.
- Gouda and Pinot Noir: Gouda is a Dutch cheese with a nutty and caramelized flavor and a semi-soft texture. It pairs well with a light-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is a red wine that has a delicate fruit flavor and a low tannin profile. Its subtle flavors and acidity complement the nutty and slightly sweet flavors of the Gouda.
- Havarti and Sauvignon Blanc: Havarti is a Danish cheese with a buttery and slightly tangy flavor and a semi-soft texture. It pairs well with a light-bodied white wine like Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is a popular white wine that has a crisp and refreshing profile with citrus and herbal notes. Its zesty acidity and refreshing flavors complement the mild and creamy flavors of the Havarti. Look for a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or California for a perfect match.
Fresh Cheese Wine Pairings
Fresh cheeses like goat cheese, feta, and ricotta have a tangy and slightly acidic flavor and a soft texture. These cheeses pair well with light and refreshing wines that can balance their bright and tangy flavors.
- Goat Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc: Goat cheese is a tangy and creamy cheese with a distinct flavor that pairs well with a light-bodied white wine like Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine that is known for its bright and zesty acidity, with flavors of citrus and herbal notes. Its crisp and refreshing profile complements the tangy and acidic flavors of the goat cheese.
- Feta Cheese and Riesling: Feta is a salty and tangy cheese with a crumbly texture that pairs well with a light and refreshing white wine like Riesling. Riesling is a white wine that is known for its delicate fruit flavors and crisp acidity. Its sweetness balances the saltiness of the feta and its acidity helps to cut through the richness.
- Ricotta Cheese and Pinot Grigio: Ricotta is a soft and creamy cheese with a mild and slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with a light-bodied white wine like Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio is a white wine that is known for its refreshing and crisp flavor, with a hint of citrus and minerality. Its bright and refreshing profile complements the mild and creamy flavors of the ricotta. Look for a Pinot Grigio from Italy or Oregon for a perfect match.
Hard Cheese Wine Pairings
Hard cheeses like Parmesan, Manchego, and Gruyere have a dense and crumbly texture with a sharp and savory flavor. These cheeses pair well with bold and full-bodied wines that can stand up to their intense flavors.
- Parmesan and Chianti: Parmesan is a hard and aged cheese with a nutty and salty flavor that pairs well with a full-bodied red wine like Chianti. Chianti is a red wine from Tuscany, Italy, that is made from the Sangiovese grape. It has a firm tannic structure and flavors of cherry and earthy notes that complement the intense and savory flavors of the Parmesan.
- Manchego and Tempranillo: Manchego is a Spanish cheese with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor and a crumbly texture. It pairs well with a medium to full-bodied red wine like Tempranillo. Tempranillo is a red wine that is known for its firm tannins and flavors of dark fruit and leather. Its bold flavors and firm structure complement the nutty and sharp flavors of the Manchego.
- Gruyere and Syrah: Gruyere is a Swiss cheese with a rich and nutty flavor and a firm texture. It pairs well with a full-bodied red wine like Syrah. Syrah is a red wine that is known for its full-bodied and complex flavors, with notes of black pepper and spice. Its bold and intense flavors complement the nutty and savory flavors of the Gruyere, while its firm tannins help to cut through the richness of the cheese. Look for a Syrah from the Rhone Valley or Australia for a perfect match.
Blue Cheese Wine Pairings
Blue cheeses like Roquefort, Stilton, and Gorgonzola have a sharp and pungent flavor with a creamy texture and distinctive blue veining. These cheeses pair well with sweet and full-bodied wines that can balance their strong and intense flavors.
- Roquefort and Sauternes: Roquefort is a French blue cheese with a creamy and tangy flavor that pairs well with a sweet and full-bodied white wine like Sauternes. Sauternes is a white wine that is made in the Bordeaux region of France, and it is known for its honeyed and apricot flavors. Its sweetness balances the sharp and tangy flavors of the Roquefort, creating a perfect contrast of flavors.
- Stilton and Port: Stilton is a British blue cheese with a complex and tangy flavor that pairs well with a sweet and full-bodied red wine like Port. Port is a fortified wine from Portugal that is known for its rich and fruity flavors with a hint of sweetness. Its sweetness complements the strong and intense flavors of the Stilton, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.
- Gorgonzola and Cabernet Sauvignon: Gorgonzola is an Italian blue cheese with a pungent and creamy flavor that pairs well with a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine that is known for its bold and tannic structure, with flavors of black currant and cedar. Its firm tannins and bold flavors complement the sharp and creamy flavors of the Gorgonzola, creating a rich and complex pairing. Look for a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley or Bordeaux for a perfect match.
In conclusion, pairing charcuterie and cheese with the right wine can elevate your culinary experience and create a harmonious balance of flavors.
When selecting the perfect pairing, consider the intensity and flavor profile of the meat or cheese and choose a wine that complements and enhances its flavors.
So, what wine pairs well with a charcuterie board?
To make the most of a charcuterie board, the perfect wine pairing is essential. Mild, salty meats like prosciutto, soppressata, or mortadella pair well with lighter-bodied whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio) or light to medium-bodied reds (Pinot Noir, Merlot) to balance the rich flavors.
Whether you prefer light and refreshing wines like Sauvignon Blanc or bold and complex wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, there’s a perfect pairing out there for every taste. So, next time you’re serving a charcuterie and cheese board, impress your guests by serving the perfect wine pairing and enjoy the delicious combination of flavors.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.