Pairing French Cheeses
with Suitable Wines

Some suggestions
to make the perfect match!

Pairing French Cheeses with the perfect wine is not an art; it's not even a science. Books written by experts point to a number of principles and rules to follow. But really, cheese and beverage pairings come down to personal preference. If you like a particular wine with a particular cheese ... and your choice supposedly breaks the rules ... so what! Don't agonize over your choices. Be bold, experiment and be aware of a few guidelines which can help you.

You probably have heard of advice like ... "red wine works better with cheese than white wine" ... or ... "if you serve a strong cheese you must serve a full-bodied robust wine". Not necessarily so! The best approach is to try as many different cheese-wine pairings as possible ... and then decide which pairing(s) work best for you. You won't want to have the cheese overpower the wine, or vice versa.

So one suggestion is to pair a strong, complex cheese with a simple wine ... or pair a simple, rustic cheese with a more robust, flavorful wine. If you are planning a wine and cheese party, or perhaps planning on presenting The Ultimate Cheese Course - decide on the cheeses first - then pick the wines - or vice versa. Either the cheese must lead the selections - or the wine must lead.

With so many cheeses made throughout France ... and so many wonderful wines ... one suggestion/rule of thumb for successfully Pairing French Cheeses is to pair local or regional wines with their equivalent local or regional cheeses. The terroir for growing the grape vines and growing the grass and natural pasturage for the cows, goats and sheep will be similar.

So Burgundian wines tend to pair up well with cheeses made in Burgundy; goat cheeses made in the Loire Valley like Crottin de Chavignol will pair up well with the very well-known white wine local to that area - Sancerre.

Enjoy the journey of discovery and remember, it's up to you to decide what you like. And you'll have great fun in the process of Pairing French Cheeses with a wide variety of wines.

Cheese & Wine Pairings


White wines: Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Muscadet, Rosé


Red wines: Red Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir
Sparkling wines: Champagne, Prosecco


Red wines: Red Beaujolais, Grenache, Pinot Noir
White wines: Chenin Blanc
Sparkling wines: Champagne, Prosecco


Red wines: Red Bordeaux
White wines: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris
Sparkling wines: Champagne, Prosecco


Red wines: For riper Crottins - Choose a Côtes du Rhône or a Pinot Noir
White wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Fumé Blanc, Sancerre
Sparkling wines: Champagne


Red wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, Red Bordeaux
White wines: Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Riesling
Ales: Belgian Dark Ale, India Pale Ale


Red wines: Local reds from Auvergne region, All Big Reds - Bordeaux and Burgundies
White wines: Sauternes, Sauvignon Blanc
Sparkling wines: Champagne, Prosecco
Fortified wines: Port


White wines: Gewürztraminer
Ciders: Calvados (cider brandy from Normandy), Other ciders from Normandy


Red wines: Côtes du Rhône, Italian Reds - Barolo, Brunello, Chianti
White wines: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Tokay Pinot Gris
Sparkling wines: Champagne, Prosecco


Red wines: Barolo, Merlot, Rioja, Cabernet Sauvignon
White wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Pouilly Fumé
Fortified wines: Dry Sherry, Madeira


Red wines: Big Red Bordeaux and Burgundies
White wines: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Riesling
Ciders: Calvados, other Ciders


Red wines: Red Bordeaux
White wines: Riesling, White wines from Savoie region


Red wines: Robust Red wines (e.g. Châteauneuf-du-Pape)

White wines: Sauternes
Fortified wines: Tawny Port, Madeira, Sherry


Red wines: Red Rhône Syrah, local reds from Auvergne region
White wines: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Tokay Pinot Gris


Red wines: Côtes du Rhône, Beaujolais, local red Savoie region wines
White wines: Riesling, Tokay Pinot Gris, Chardonnay


Red wines: Beaujolais
White wines: Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Tokay Pinot Gris

Pairing French Cheeses with French wines is the logical way to go. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't pair up some great California wines, for example, with your favorite French cheeses. Experiment, Explore and Enjoy the process!

If you would like some suggestions about how to Pair British Cheeses with wines, ales and ciders, you can read about it here.

The next logical step is to create the perfect, the Ultimate French Cheese Course.

Learn about other Entertaining Ideas with Cheese Courses.

If you are ready to learn about Pairing Italian Cheeses with Wine, click here.

Info on Pairing American Cheeses with Wines is right here.

Need a Cheat Sheet?

The Wine and Cheese Pairing Wheel features 40 cheeses and the wines to pair with them. Quickly answer the question, "What cheese goes with what wine?" Perfect for last-minute entertaining that needs to look like you planned for weeks! Click the image to order today! - G.C.D.

Go to French Cheeses A to L

Go to Roquefort Cheese

Go to French Cheeses M to Z

Go to French Regions

› Pair French Cheeses

Looking for something specific on

Enter your request below:

Follow The Gourmet Cheese Detective on Twitter: @The_Cheese_Tec

The Ultimate French Cheese Guide!

French Cheeses: The Visual Guide to More Than 350 Cheeses from Every Region of France

Designed for both amateur enthusiasts and serious gourmets. Organized alphabetically, each cheese, its seasonal availability, regional origin, and properties are described concisely and clearly. Accompanying the entries are invaluable photographs of the cheese in its various states, both outward bulk and sliced through, for easy identification. In addition, every listing offers wine recommendations by international connoisseurs Robert and Isabelle Vifian. Click on the image to order your invaluable copy today! - G.C.D.

Become an Expert in No Time With The Help of a Few Good Friends:

Complete Wine Tasting and Pairing Guide for Beginners by David S. James

This guide makes selecting, tasting and pairing wine with food very simple. Written for beginners, you will never have to worry about condescending waiters, spending lots of money on wines that don’t meet your expectations, or any of the odd terminology of wines. A great place to begin! Click on the image to order your guide today! - G.C.D.

French From Scratch

From Scratch: An Introduction to French Breads, Cheeses, Preserves, Pickles, Charcuterie, Condiments, Yogurts, Sweets, and More by Laurence Laurendon

Whether it's bread or bouillons, infusions or ice cream, smoked salmon or sausages: preparing French-style handmade, homemade food is simple and satisfying.  With these easy artisanal techniques, even inexperienced cooks can create delicious, authentic French cuisine. Click on the image to order a copy today and start ooh-la-la-ing your guests! - G.C.D.

Take a Visual Tour of France

Travel to France (2008)

Immerse yourself in French culture with a visit to Roquefort to see the creation of the famed and delicious blue cheese before embarking on a whirlwind tour of the wonders of Paris, from the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame to the Arc de Triomphe. Click on the image to order your DVD now! - G.C.D.

Questions About Entertaining?

Contact Us

Put the Gourmet Cheese Detective on the case!         -G.C.D.