Why do wine and cheese pair so well?
It’s easy to explain why wine and cheese go together so well. Cheese is high in fat, so it tends to coat the palate and taste buds. Because wine is often acidic, it’s the perfect beverage to cut through. Cheese can also reduce the astringency of red wine and heighten the taste of white wine. In other words, when it’s paired well, wine and cheese complement each other.
I’ve learned the hard way that it pays to be careful because if you pick the wrong wine and cheese combination, there is a risk that one will overpower the other. To share my knowledge and help you find some winning combinations, I have created this guide to the best non-alcoholic wine and cheese pairings along with my personal picks of the best non-alcoholic wines to use.
Brie and Sparkling Wine
Perhaps my favourite combination ever, bubbles and Brie hits the spot every time. Brie is a triple-cream cheese with a soft texture, so it needs a non-alcoholic wine that is sharp and acidic to cut through the fat. For this, non-alcoholic sparkling wine is the best non-alcoholic wine for the job.
Choose a complex cracker enriched with cranberries and toasted nuts.
The best non-alcoholic sparkling wine to serve with brie is the Next Destination 2021 Langhorne Creek Blanc de Blanc. The toasted brioche notes will beautifully complement the toasty notes in your cheese, and the lemon and citrus notes will bring out the subtle nuances in the brie’s flavour.
Goat’s Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc
Goat’s cheese tends to be quite earthy and tart, so a non-alcoholic white wine with some acidity and citrus pairs very well. A non-alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc is the best non-alcoholic wine to choose. It will bring out the nutty and herbal notes in the goat's cheese and will cut through the heavy texture.
Choose a simple cracker with some savoury flavouring. Rosemary crackers are my pick.
1920 Wines Non-Alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc is the best non-alcoholic white wine for your goat's cheese. The fruity notes in this non-alcoholic wine will bring out the earthy notes in the cheese and the crisp mouthfeel will provide a nice contrast to the tart mouthfeel.
Aged Cheddar and Cabernet Sauvignon
Cheddar is a big bold cheese so it requires a wine that can stand up for itself. Cabernet Sauvignon, with its bold character, is the best non-alcoholic red wine for the job. The tannins will balance out the fattiness in the cheddar and the flavours in the non-alcoholic red wine and the cheese will work with each other, not against each other.
Choose a simple plain whole wheat cracker that will allow the cheddar to shine.
Two Hoots Non-Alc Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a South African non-alcoholic wine, gets my vote for the best non-alcoholic red wine to serve with a bold aged cheddar. The rich tannins in this Two Hoots wine will perfectly balance out the fat in the cheese and the notes of sun-ripened cherries will provide a contrast to the bold cheddar flavour.
Gouda and Shiraz
An aged Gouda with intense flavours like caramel and butterscotch pairs very well with non-alcoholic red wine. Shiraz is the best non-alcoholic wine to choose because of its dark fruit flavours. The tannins in the non-alcoholic red wine will also balance with the crystalline texture of the cheese.
Choose a light cracker with some flavour — garlic and poppy seed works well.
With its complex tannins, Next Destination 2018 Barossa Valley Shiraz is the best non-alcoholic red wine to serve with your Gouda. The notes of dark chocolate, ripe berries and new french oak in this Next Destination wine will perfectly contrast with the caramel and butterscotch flavours in the cheese.
Havarti and Rosé
Native to Denmark, Havarti is a semi-hard cheese with a springy texture and creamy body. It also has a mellow flavour, so it pairs well with European-style rosé. A non-alcoholic rosé with a mineral palate works best as it provides a nice contrast to the smooth texture of the Havarti.
Whole grain crackers with fennel or caraway work well for Havarti.
Next Destination 2018 King Valley Rosé is my pick for the best non-alcoholic rosé wine to serve with Havarti. It’s made in the King River Valley Australian wine region, which is known for producing Italian-style wine. The dry palate of this Next Destination wine will complement the springy body of the cheese and the red berry flavours will bring out its mellow flavours.
Camembert and Chardonnay
French Camembert has a strong and substantial flavour, so it needs a full-bodied non-alcoholic white wine that will complement rather than overpower the cheese. A non-alcoholic Chardonnay is the best non-alcoholic wine for this cheese because it has a little acidity to cut through the creaminess and fruity flavours that will not be overwhelmed by the Camembert.
Choose a cracker with herbs such as chives, basil, rosemary and oregano all complement the creamy texture and flavour of brie cheese.
Next Destination 2018 McLaren Vale Chardonnay with its dry profile and oak tannins is the best non-alcoholic Chardonnay to serve with Camembert. The fruity flavour of this non-alcoholic wine will stand up to the strong flavour of the cheese and the oak tannins will balance out the creamy texture.
Gruyère and Chenin Blanc
Gruyère is a hard Swiss cow's milk cheese that calls for a crisp and refreshing non-alcoholic white wine. With fruity notes, good levels of acidity and a touch of sweetness, a non-alcoholic Chenin Blanc is perfect.
Choose a plain and simple cracker and add some dried apricots and pecans to the board.
Two Hoots Non-Alcoholic Wine - Chenin blanc with its balanced acidity, and notes of crisp apple and peach is the best non-alcoholic white wine to serve with a young Gruyère. The fruity notes of crisp apple and peach will contrast nicely with the earthiness of the cheese and the crisp mouthfeel will cut through the creaminess.
Choose the best non-alcoholic wine
My number one tip for non-alcoholic wine and cheese pairing is to pick the best non-alcoholic wine available. Premium brands such as Next Destination wine and Two Hoots make better pairings than the non-alcoholic wine you get at the supermarket because they have the taste and mouthfeel of traditional wine. You can buy non-alcoholic wine from Sans Drinks and I’ll deliver it to you, wherever you are in Australia.
I hope that this list has given you a good start on your journey into non-alcoholic wine and cheese pairings. I’d love to see your non-alcoholic wine cheese platter snaps, so please follow me on Instagram and tag me in your posts. Finding the best non-alcoholic wine and cheese pairings makes me really happy — I hope it has the same effect on you!