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A question we’re often asked is which cheeses go well with Chianti. The first thing to know is that cheese is the perfect food to pair with Tuscan wine. The higher fat and protein in cheese balance the tannins in the wine. That boosts the taste of fruity flavors of the Sangiovese grapes in Chianti.
When the combination is right, your tastebuds will love the complementary flavors.
Tips on pairing wine and cheese
There are some general rules of thumb for pairing wine and cheese.
Here’s the easiest one. Harder types of cheese, like Parmesan or Cheddar, match well with more tannic red wines, like Chianti. Creamy cheeses typically go best with wines that have more acidity, like a Chardonnay.
Second, try to balance the power of the wine and cheese. A soft, mild cheese will be overwhelmed by the boldness of a Chianti Classico Riserva, for example.
Another approach is to pick a flavor in your cheese, such as nuttiness, and match it with a flavor in the wine.
You can usually count on the age-old rule that food and wine that grows together, goes together. Pairing wines and cheeses from the same region can give you a lovely taste of the place.
Finally, remember that rules are meant to be broken. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your favorite combinations.
Try these cheese and Chianti pairings
Based on these “rules”, you can be sure that a range of bold cheeses will pair well with a full-bodied Chianti. Here are some good options:
Aged Parmigiano is a hard, nutty and slightly salty cheese that balances nicely with the fruity flavors of Chianti. We recommend Chianti Colli Fiorentini Riserva from Fattoria di Bagnolo.
Pecorino, made with whole sheep’s milk, is the most famous cheese from Tuscany. An aged Pecorino pairs wonderfully with the strong tannins of a Chianti Classico. The boldness of the cheese and the wine’s dark fruit are a perfect match. Try it with Chianti Classico from the Vallone di Cecione vineyard.
Grana Padano is a hard cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s milder and softer than Parmesan, but pairs well with a big wine like Fattoria il Paganello’s Supertuscan Quanta Cura.
There are so many more combinations. Asiago, Provolone, Fontina and even a sharp Cheddar or Colby will all taste great with a medium to full-bodied Chianti. That’s the beauty of it – – there’s a Chianti to suit almost every taste.