Goat cheese is one of the oldest cheeses in the world, dating back 10,000 years to the domestication of goats, and popularized in the Loire Valley. It’s typically softer than cow’s milk, but has more fat, and the abundance of fatty acids give goat cheese it’s signature goaty aroma.
Goat cheese comes in a wide array of textures and flavors, but the most well known is Chevre, French for goat, and is rich, tangy, soft, and perfect for spreading on bread or crackers. Goat cheese also has a distinct, gamy quality, along with grassy notes. This can make choosing a wine a bit of a challenge, but fruity, light-bodied reds and crisp acidic whites are a safe bet. You also cannot go wrong choosing a wine from the same region as the cheese.
Wine Characteristics to Pair with Goat Cheese
|Acidity||Medium||Medium – High|
|Body||Light – Medium||Light – Medium|
|Tasting Notes||Berries, chocolate, spice||Citrus, herbs, minerality|
When pairing wine with goat cheese, you want to consider the funky characteristics of the cheese. Bold reds with high tannins will clash with the cheese and overpower its earthy qualities, so if you must have a red, pick something light, with low tannins and good acidity, and bold fruit flavor will be your best pairing.
The optimal goat cheese pairing is a crisp, dry, white wine with good acidity. Whites where citrus fruits are the star, layered with herbs and minerality or salinity will really highlight the earthy, gamy quality of the cheese and bring balance to the pairing.
Best Red Wine to Drink with Goat Cheese
Red wine is not the best choice when it comes to goat cheese, but there are a few safe choices if you prefer it. Red wines from cool climates tend to have higher acidity and lighter bodies that won’t overwhelm the cheese.
A Cabernet Franc, particularly one from the Loire Valley, will bring the acidity and herbaceous qualities that pair nicely with goat cheese. It’s also on the lighter side so it won’t overpower the flavor of the cheese.
Syrah may be a bit of a surprise due to its peppery notes, but it’s ripe berry flavor complements the tartness in the cheese. Choose a Syrah from a cool-climate as it will have higher acidity than its warm-climate counterparts.
This wine is known as an Argentinian wine, but it originated in France. It’s smooth and fruity, and its notes of sweet tobacco and vanilla make it a complex partner to the flavors of the goat cheese.
The high acidity and light body of Beaujolais make it a great choice for pairing with goat cheese. It also has juicy fruit flavor and earthy notes that will elevate the cheese.
Best White Wine To Drink With Goat Cheese
White wines are always a lovely complement to cheese. When pairing with goat cheese, choose a wine that is dry with good acidity.
Sauvignon Blanc is about as close to a perfect pairing as you can get. The zest of citrus and herbaceous notes complement the funky, earthy flavor of the cheese, and the bright acidity cleanses the palate.
Riesling has always been known as a food-friendly wine, but this is especially true when it comes to cheese. The floral aromatics and bold fruit notes of lime and apple make it a great choice for elevating your goat cheese experience.
Albariño brings thirst-quenching acidity, bright citrus flavor, and notes of salinity, making it a perfect companion to goat cheese. The citrus brings lovely balance to the rich, creamy cheese.
This crisp white is a wonderful alternative to Sauvignon Blanc and is also from the Loire Valley. The notes of yellow apple, pear, and honey make it a perfect complement to the flavor of goat cheese.
Goat Cheese & Wine Pairing Tips
The tangy, earthy, gamey flavors of goat cheese might lead you to believe that it would not play well with other foods, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Goat cheese is a wonderful way to add flavor to a variety of foods. Fruits and vegetables like asparagus, artichoke, mushrooms, peaches, pears, and spinach, to name a few, are all elevated to new levels by goat cheese. Just be sure to take the whole dish into consideration when choosing a wine, but your whites are always a safe choice.
Goat cheese is also right at home on a charcuterie board. Pair it with walnuts or hazelnut, spread it on seedy crackers or rye bread, and drizzle with honey or a blueberry jam. If you want to add protein, cured meats like prosciutto or salami balance the rich, tangy cheese. A Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño would be an excellent choice.
Best Wine To Drink With Goat Cheese
White wines that are dry with crisp acidity will be your best option when pairing with goat cheese, but if you would prefer to have red, just make sure it is lighter and fruit-forward with good acidity.
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Cabernet Franc