Pairing tasty treats on a charcuterie board with the right wine — red or white — is an art form. A well-curated selection of meats and cheese next to wine isn’t only perfect for Instagram but a recipe for your guests’ sensory pleasure (and memories). 

The right combination can give your attendees the perfect array of tart, tangy, and smokey flavours and aromas that will make your gathering one to remember for years. Whether you’re hosting a standard wine-and-cheese party or a housewarming affair, we’ll show you how to combine your wine and charcuterie board treats sensibly. 

How to make a charcuterie board

The charcuterie board as a concept is nothing new. The ancient Romans were salting and spicing meats and laying them out in a decorative fashion. However, food science has come a long way, and there is a method to make charcuterie boards irresistible. 

It all boils down to harmony. By that, we mean harmonizing texture and flavours (and colours). Ideally, your charcuterie board will contain the following ingredients:

  • cured and preserved meats (charcuterie);
  • cheese;
  • bread and crackers;
  • dried or fresh fruits;
  • nuts;
  • pickled veggies; 
  • oils and spreads.

That’s all a charcuterie board needs to be complete. Of course, the individual choices of each ingredient are where the art of charcuterie pairings lies. With that said, the two ingredients you want to handle with utmost care and consideration are your cheeses and meats. 

The “rules” of wine and food pairings for charcuterie boards

There’s a science to pairing. Once understood, you can pair wines and charcuterie board treats that are pleasing to all your guests. Wine and food pairing isn’t all art or based on your natural ability (or genetic predisposition) to match flavours. 

So, even if you lack the trained palate of wine (and food) connoisseur, you can still learn to pair them like a pro. A natural ability to detect flavour and aroma subtleties isn’t required! We have provided you with a guide on pairing different wines with different charcuterie board items below. 

Charcuterie pairing rules for cheese

  • Compliment intensities:  Pair light-bodied wines with light cheeses. Pair fuller-bodied wines with heartier cheese. 
  • Contrast flavours:  Although not necessarily a rule, pairing salty cheeses with sweeter wines are ideal. The acidity of sweet, bubbly wines makes you salivate and thus mellow out the saltiness of the cheese. 
  • Complementary regions:  Location, location. It matters for wine and cheese pairing too! Consider pairing wines and cheese from the same regions since local climates and soil types make them suitable pairs. 
  • Contrast cheese texture with wine acidity: The creamier the cheese, the higher the wine’s acidity should be. This helps balance out flavour intensity while creating a pleasing texture contrast. 

Charcuterie pairing rules for meat

  • Acidity:  Generally, the wine you serve should have a higher acidity than the cured meat you choose. 
  • Fat:  Fattier and oilier meats complement bolder red wines better because the fat balances out the tannins that make bold red wines bitter (but sharp white wines work too). 
  • Boldness:  Pair wines and meats with a similar boldness and intensity (i.e., delicately flavoured meats with delicate wines).
  • Spice: Don’t pair spicy and bitter meats with a wine high in tannins. 

Pairing wines with other ingredients

  • Veggies:  Pair lighter wines with light white wines, vibrant veggies such as carrots and green beans, and red wines or fuller-bodied whites with heartier veggies.
  • Pickled veggies:  White wines such as Riesling pair best with pickled veggies, but dry red wines can also work. 
  • Nuts:  Roasted almonds pair well with white or low-tannin red wines. Salty nuts pair well with Prosecco, while walnuts and pecans go well with sweet wines. Try a light, dry white for pistachios, and for spicy nuts, opt for a wine like Riesling that has a slight sweetness. 
  • Bread:  Generally speaking, lighter wines pair well with lighter bread, while fuller-bodied wines pair well with heavier bread. 

With these rules now established, we’ll give you some pointers on wines you can pair with the treats on your charcuterie board. 

Sparkling wines for charcuterie boards

Sparkling wine is one of the world’s most varied and sophisticated wines. Styles and flavours range from dry, lean, and zesty to rich, creamy, and nutty. Sparkling wines undergo fermentation twice, and makers of these wines have much control throughout the process to influence the taste. Because of this dexterity, sparkling wines pair well with a wide selection of charcuterie board items. 

Sparkling wine and cheese pairings

  • Fresh cheeses:  Ricotta, mozzarella, cream cheese, Boursin, and stracchino 
  • Soft-ripened cheeses:  Camembert, brie, and Robiola
  • Semi-hard cheeses:  Swiss, halloumi, provolone and Gruyère 
  • Hard cheeses:  Parmigiano-Reggiano, cheddar, and Pecorino Romano

Sparkling wine and meat pairings 

  • Mild charcuterie: Soppressata (or dry cut salami), prosciutto, mortadella, and summer sausage. 

Sparkling wines we recommend for pairing.

  • Conca d’Oro Prosecco:  Made in Veneto, Italy, Conca d’Oro Prosecco is a dry and pale salmon-coloured sparkling wine with a persistent stream of bubbles. It packs strawberry and raspberry aromas along with hints of watermelon, and its fine bubbles create a light, creamy sensation. 

Pairing note: Try adding salted macadamia nuts to your Charcuterie board if you choose this wine. 

  • Villa di Corlo Lambrusco “Corleto” Grasparosso di Castelvetro:  Hailing from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, Lambrusco Grasparossa is a full-bodied version of traditional Lambrusco wine. This version offers a slightly sweet taste and real wine tannins to give it a foamy, purple composition. 

Pairing note: Lambrusco Grasparossa is an ideal pairing for salami, prosciutto, and hard cheeses. 

Light-bodied white wine profile

Here’s a fun fact about light-bodied white wines — they’re the top-selling wines in the world. They’re so popular due to how easily they pair with most foods. White wines offer some of the most diverse scales of aromas and flavours and have a pleasing acidity that highlights the flavours of the foods they’re paired with. 

Light-bodied white wine and cheese pairings

  • Fresh cheeses:  Ricotta, mozzarella, cream cheese, Boursin, and stracchino
  • Semi-soft cheeses:  Havarti, asiago, and Monterrey Jack 
  • Soft-ripened cheeses:  Camembert, brie, and Robiola
  • Surface-ripened cheeses:  St. Marcellin, Crottin de Chavignol, and Vermont Creamery’s Bijou 
  • Semi-hard cheeses:  Swiss, halloumi, provolone, and Gruyère 
  • Hard cheeses:  Parmigiano-Reggiano, cheddar, and Pecorino Romano

Light-bodied white wine and meat pairings

  • Intermediate charcuterie:  Pastrami, peppered salami, chorizo picante, speck, and foie gras. 

Light-bodied white wine we recommend for pairing

  • Zahel Gruner Veltliner: Grown almost exclusively in Austria, Gruner Veltliner (aka “gru-vee”) is a dry wine available in a light and zesty version, as well as rich and nutty styles. This light-bodied wine boasts a sharp acidity that tempers its sweet yet citrusy flavours. Like many white wines, it’s best to serve a bottle of Veltliner cold, especially on hot summer days. 

Pairing note: Vetliner goes well with veggies such as artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery. 

Light-bodied red profile

Light-bodied red wines are a unique category among the family of reds. There are thirteen varieties of light reds and, unlike their darker counterparts, pair with a broad range of foods. The reason for their high compatibility is because of their low tannin profile. They’re less bitter and serve as a great starting point for those who want to develop a palate for red wine. They’re also great for many treats on charcuterie boards. 

Light-bodied red wine and cheese pairings

  • Fresh cheeses:  Chèvre, Mozzarella di Bufala, burrata, Mizithra, and Mascarpone 
  • Surface-ripened cheeses:  St. Marcellin, Crottin de Chavignol, and Vermont Creamery’s Bijou
  • Semi-hard cheeses:  Colby, Emmental, and Swiss 

Light-bodied red wine and meat pairings

  • Mild charcuterie: Jamón Ibérico, chicken liver mousse, Finnochiona, and prosciutto
  • Intermediate charcuterie:  guanciale, lardo, coppa or spicy coppa, and pastrami  

Light-bodied red wine we recommend

  • Marcel Cabelier Trousseau:  Originating from Jura, France, Marcel Cabelier Trousseau is a light-bodied red wine cherry red in colour. It contains fruity aromas from raspberries, violets, and strawberry jam. It also contains hints of tea and spice. It doesn’t have the heaviness of darker reds, making it a refreshing option for summertime events, including those with charcuterie boards. 

Pairing note: Marcel Cabelier Trousseau pairs with charcuterie board treats, including pork sausages and Comte cheese, the latter of which also hails from Jura. 

Full-bodied red profile 

Full-bodied red wines may be an acquired taste for some, but some of the richest and savoury wines belong to this group. Full-bodied red wines have high tannin levels and dark fruit flavours like blackberries and blackcurrants. These fruits give darker red wines a bitter taste, but researchers have found they come chock-full of health-promoting antioxidants. With that said, the bitter flavours mean you need to pair full-bodied reds more carefully. 

Full-bodied red wine and cheese pairing

  • Blue cheeses:  Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton 
  • Hard cheeses:  Grana Padano, aged Manchego, cheddars

Full-bodied red wine and meat pairing

  • Intermediate charcuterie:  Speck, pastrami, chorizo picante, and peppered salami 
  • Bold charcuterie:  Black truffle salami, jamón serrano, and country pâté

Full-bodied red wine we recommend

  • Domaine Ouled-Thaleb Syrocco Syrah:  Conceived by the late and legendary Alain Graillot, this Syrocco wine is produced near Casablanca, Morocco. This full-bodied red wine packs dark-tinted fruits, such as red cherry with touches of spices, herbs, and sandalwood. It’s a bold wine best paired with bold foods. 

Pairing note: It goes well with grilled lamb sausages. 

  • Segesio’s Angela’s Table Zinfandel:  Hailing from Sonoma County, California, Seghesio Zinfandel contains a juxtaposition of bright and dark fruits to give it nuance and texture. The mix includes blueberries, black currants, plums, and a light tannin touch to complement its acidity. 

Pairing note: It goes well with soppressata and dry Monterey Jack cheese. 

Crafting the perfect charcuterie board

Putting the perfect charcuterie board together is an act of matchmaking. You need to know your wines, cheeses, meats, and other treats well enough to pair them in a complementary fashion. 

But as was mentioned before, you need not be a wine connoisseur to pair these items properly. Follow the rules above, and you’ll be off to a great start. And if you’re ever in doubt, you can always check our wine labels and guides for more insights! 

Check out our blog for more insights on pairing your wine and food.


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