The 5 Best Goat Cheese Wine Pairings
Goat cheese is more than just chevre.
This growing family of cheeses popularized in the Loire Valley encompasses a vast spectrum of flavors and textures, from the sweet and sour to the funky and creamy.
Unfortunately, many wine and cheese enthusiasts in the states don’t have much experience tailoring their tastes to the gamier, greener flavor profiles characteristic of goat cheese.
That’s where we come in.
We’ve compiled five brilliant pairings for goat cheese, along with everything you need to know about this delicious family of cheeses.
What Is Goat Cheese?
Goat cheese is simply cheese made from the milk of a goat. The most popular forms are soft, rich, and spreadable, known as chevre meaning “goat” in French.
However, chevre is merely one slice of the entire pie of goat’s cheese. This family of cheese can come in hundreds of different forms, ranging from tangy to sweet, semi-soft to hard, and is much more difficult to classify than you might have been led to believe.
The flavor profile of goat cheese often has a much closer connection to the landscape and animal it originates from. It can be funky or smooth, making it a bit intimidating to discover harmonious pairings, especially those that complement the cheese and wine in equal measure.
If you can’t seem to land on a pairing, then your best bet is to choose a wine from the same region. This showcases the regional complexity that can emerge from the land’s impact on both the goat and the grapes.
If you don’t have a bottle from the same region on hand, don’t sweat it. Just opt for Sauvignon Blanc. It’s rarely a bad choice.
The Characteristics of Goat Cheese
In truth, trying to pin down the shared characteristics of all types of goat cheese is practically impossible.
How would you describe “cow cheese?” Do Swiss and Brie really have that much in common? And how are they similar to a Bay Blue?
Not so easy.
That said, if you’ve never had a hunk of goat cheese, there are some distinct characteristics that might jump out at you on the first bite.
Many goat cheese lovers agree that the cheese has a certain gaminess that is difficult to match in cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s similar to the herbaceous, barnyard flavor profile of natural wines, which can certainly strike a broad appeal.
Especially gamy rinds of goat cheese are generally best balanced out by fruity, vibrant reds such as Beaujolais Nouveau.
Many wine pairings for goat cheese call for a bright, acidic wine to cut through the fat that comes with every bite of the rich cheese. Don’t forget that goat cheese comes with its own pleasant acidity as well.
If you have punchy, acidic goat cheese on hand, reach for a bottle of Malbec for a contrasting black fruit flavor profile.
Due to the gaminess and connection to the land, goat cheese often comes with a more grassy quality than cow cheese. This is exactly why Sauvignon Blanc is one of the first recommendations out of a sommelier’s mouth when it comes to finding goat cheese pairs.
The verdant, herbaceous notes complement each other without drowning the cheese in vibrant, floral notes.
Of course, goat cheese wouldn’t be the same without its creamy, buttery qualities. While cow cheese can often come in semi-hard or hard varieties with very little cream texture, nearly all goat cheeses come with an extra thick, extra decadent texture.
For the richest rinds of goat cheese, seek out the crispest white you have on hand — we love a white Bordeaux or a Sauvignon Blanc-Sémillon blend — to cut through the richness of the cheese.
Now that we’ve covered all the different basic pairing options for goat cheese, let’s jump into a more detailed dive of five pairings tailor-made for your next hunk of goat cheese.
Sauvignon Blanc and goat cheese. This is the standard to beat when it comes to goat cheese pairings. This white grape is one of the premier grapes grown in the Loire Valley, the home and originator of chevre.
The bright acidity in a prime Sauvignon makes a truly complementary pairing to the natural punchiness of funky goat cheese, completing a refreshing and rejuvenating pairing.
If you don’t have a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc on hand but want to keep your pairing local, reach for some Chenin Blanc. This white grape is even more popular in the Loire than Sauvignon and makes an unbeatable goat cheese pairing if you can find one from Vouvray or Touraine.
A less familiar pairing for goat cheese is a bold and peppery Syrah, especially ones from California or the Pacific Northwest bursting with ripe summer berries.
Although some especially floral bottles can drown out the richness of goat cheese, Syrah does a brilliant job of mellowing out the more bitter flavors that some struggle with when first trying out goat cheese.
Chevre Noir makes a classic Syrah pairing due to its extra dose of creaminess and TK.
While an oaked Chardonnay can taste deliciously buttery on its own, these wines will taste flabby and uninspired when paired with much richer goat cheese.
Instead, reach for a bottle of unoaked Chardonnay such as a Chablis of Macon-Villages for bright notes of crisp apples, pears, and citrus.
Unoaked Chardonnay tastes divine alongside complex, aged goat cheese such as a Sunlight goat cheese or domestic Tumalo Tomme. These robust, mature cheeses are contrasted by the light effervescence of Chard, making this pairing one to savor for your next charcuterie night.
Riesling has always been cheese’s best friend. With a vibrant, fruit-forward flavor profile, Riesling strikes a contrasting pairing to the milky, decadent flavor profile of chevre and other popular goat cheese types.
Even if you have harder goat cheese on hand with notes of spice and smoke, the lush, floral notes of Riesling only grow more distinct and pleasing.
This Spanish white wine is similar to Sauvignon Blanc in that its most known for its vibrant citrus flavor and tart acidity.
The creamy textures found in fresh goat cheese are brilliantly contrasted by the citrus flavor profile of Albariño.
Pair the Best Wine With Goat Cheese With Wine Insiders
Goat cheese might not be a go-to on many classic American menus, although the tides may be starting to shift.
As chevre grows even more popular in the states as a delicious cracker-topper and side for any salad, the more overlooked goat cheese types are gradually beginning to trickle into the public consciousness.
This family of cheese certainly makes a hearty addition to our existing love of cow cheese, with hundreds of rinds covering the gamut from funky to creamy to tangy to grassy.
Goat cheese loves regional pairings and tastes brilliantly alongside a host of crisp whites and bright and fruity wines. Plan yourself an expansive charcuterie night or host a quiet night-in for yourself and a few close friends with nothing but a bottle of white and a hunk of goat cheese for company.
As an extra reward, use our discount code WINE30 for 30% off your order at checkout!
While you’re waiting for your order to arrive, feel free to read through our blog to discover more delicious cheese pairings and everything there is to know about Sauvignon Blanc and the other mouthwatering varietals featured in this article.