White Wine and Red Wine with Cheese on Charcuterie

A Beginner’s Guide to Wine

Wine and cheese are one of the more iconic matches of the food world. To honor Pierre Cheese Market’s partner-in-crime, we’re presenting a starter guide to some of the most classic white and red wines you may encounter! Whether you’re a new wine drinker or basically a sommelier, these flavor descriptions and pairing suggestions should be a helpful refresher for enjoying your favorite refreshment.


Key Words: Herbal, fruity, buttery, oaky, crisp

The light, fruity flavors of these wines work well with simple meat dishes such as fish and chicken. They also complement spicy foods well. Pair with cheeses like gouda, havarti, aged cheddar, or gorgonzola.

  • Sauvignon Blanc: Light with herbal and grassy flavors
  • Light Chardonnay: Slightly sweet and fruity 
  • Medium Chardonnay: Dry, oaky, and full of fruit flavors
  • Full Chardonnay: Rich fruit with buttery and oaky flavors 
  • Pinot Gris: Light flavors of pear, apple or melon
  • Riesling: Floral, spicy, lime-citrus flavors


Key Words: Herbal, earthy, vegetal, wood-derived

Red wines lend themselves well to red meats and hearty dishes because of their strong tannins, which are derived from the skins and stems. Pair with cheeses like brie, mozzarella, gruyere, and parmesan. 

  • Pinot Noir: Light, red, berry and earthy aromas and flavors – light tannin
  • Syrah: Cherries with black pepper and smoky – light-to-medium tannin
  • Zinfandel: Dark berry and cinnamon flavors – medium tannin 
  • Light-Bodied Merlot: Simple berry flavors – light tannin 
  • Medium-Bodied Merlot: Blackberry and more character and intensity – light-to-medium tannin
  • Full-Bodied Merlot: Rich, full berry and earthy flavors – medium tannin
  • Light-Bodied Cabernet: Blackberry and slightly sweet – medium tannin 
  • Medium-Bodied Cabernet: Red currants, blackberry and earthy flavors – full tannin 
  • Full-Bodied Cabernet: Black currants, plums and wood flavors – full tannin