As if a board slathered in cheeses and thin slices of salty meat wasn’t a treat enough, pairing a bottle of wine with your charcuterie board can take it to the next level.
However, there are so many elements to a charcuterie board that it can be hard to know what type of wine to pick. In general, cheese is accompanied best by white wine; contrastingly, the types of red meat commonly found on charcuterie boards are best paired with red wines.
When both meat and cheese are on the same board, it sort of hurts your head to think about which wine would suit both – and that’s before your hangover!
So, the type of wine you choose depends largely on what you include on your platter.
From pâté to prosciutto; from gruyère to gouda, there is a wine that will fit the flavors of a charcuterie board to a T.
In order to help you pick your perfect wine pairing, we have compiled a list of compatible charcuterie elements and our corresponding wine choices, so that you can get an idea of which wines will complement your board the best.
Take a look below at some of our favorite combinations!
If prosciutto takes pride of place on your charcuterie board, you will be pleased to know that white wine, red wine, and sparkling wine all help this Italian ham to go down a treat!
If you would like to opt for a red wine, a wine with low levels of tannins would be best – salt and tannins do not always mix well! A Spanish Rioja would really suit the salty flavors of prosciutto, for example.
Rioja is known for its fruity character, so it has a sweetness that will counterbalance the rich saltiness of the meat. If you would prefer white wine with your prosciutto, opt for a wine that has a fairly high acidity but which is also fairly fruity, so that it can balance out the saltiness of the ham.
Our favorite pairing for prosciutto, though, has got to be prosecco. The effervescent wine is just sweet enough to balance out the saltiness, but not too strong in flavor that it overpowers the subtle tastes of the meat.
What is also great about drinking sparkling wine with charcuterie is that it has a way of cleansing the palate between each different mouthful.
This ham is the rich Spanish cousin of prosciutto. It is produced from descendants of wild boar found in Europe, and is quite rare, so will undoubtedly help your wallet to drop a few pounds, while you gain some.
The top choice of wine to drink alongside Iberico ham is sherry.
In Spanish culture, Iberico ham and sherry go together like peanut butter and jelly do over here in the States – and for good reason. The sweet hints of berry within a good sherry are the perfect partner for the Iberico ham’s rich flavor and thirst-inducing saltiness.
If you are not a huge fan of sherry, do not fear; Cava goes almost as well. If you fancy a sparkling wine with your Spanish meat, try to find a Cava Brut, which is low in acidity and soft enough that it does not overpower the ham.
Avoid any wines that have a high acidity level, because they will likely detract from the flavors of the Iberico. Because of this, we would advise staying away from most champagnes and proseccos when chomping on this high-end ham.
This next dish is a bit like British marmite; you either love it, or you hate it. Personally, we can’t get enough. This smooth meaty paste is full of flavor, and often includes the strong-tasting ingredient, liver.
Whether you are a fan or not, we are going to tell you which wines we think go best with it. Different pâtés require different wines, in our opinion.
If your choice of pâté involves chicken, like pâté en terrine which has a mixture of chickens and pork (sometimes among other things), we would recommend pairing it with a light wine, like a rosé.
Pâté de campagne on the other hand is a rougher mixture of meats – that often includes veal – which often contains lots of herbs.
To complement the intense meaty flavors of this pâté, we suggest trying a rustic red wine, like one of the light and airy reds found in the Loire Valley province.
The most delectable kind of pâté, pâté de foie gras, is the richest type of paste, and is full of goose or duck liver. The flavors of foie gras are so intensely savory that the best wine for the job would be a sweet wine.
Either go for a sweet sauvignon blanc, or go super sweet and try it with a muscadelle-infused wine. The sweetness of the muscat grapes really brings out the subtle sweetness of the pâté and highlights its rich tastes.
This Swiss cow’s milk cheese is subtle in flavor, and combines both sweet and salty flavors. A young gruyère is quite creamy, but as it ages it becomes more earthy.
Because of the combinations of flavors within this cheese, it can be paired with both red and white wine.
If you would like to use a white wine, gruyère goes exceptionally well with a crisp chardonnay. The fruity notes in the white wine will accentuate the sweetness of the gruyère, and complement its saltiness.
If you would rather go for a red wine, we would suggest something light and fruity, like a Beaujolais.
The lightness of the Beaujolais means that it has flavors that complement the cheese, but which are not powerful enough to overshadow the subtle tastes within the gruyère.
This buttery mild cheese is a must-have on your charcuterie board. It is delicious on its own, especially once it has sat at room temperature for half an hour or so, but is heightened by the right wine. Similarly to the gruyère, if you fancy a white wine with brie, we would suggest chardonnay.
The acidity in this wine will help your taste buds to cope with the rich fattiness of the brie, and will also cleanse your palate between each mouthful. For red wine drinkers, our choice would be a light pinot noir.
A pinot noir has the perfect level of acidity to counteract the butteriness of the brie, and has the right amount of sweetness to complement the cheese’s earthiness. If you are a champagne lover, brie will give you an excuse to pop a bottle or two!
Much like the other two wines, champagne is acidic so can cut through the fattiness of the brie, and the effervescence of it furthers this effect.
Also, the fruity flavors present in champagne are the perfect partner to the mildness of the brie, and help to bring out some of the cheese’s natural sweetness.
There are so many possible elements to add to your charcuterie board, and even more wine choices to match them. While each individual part of a charcuterie board has its own flavor profile, it is clear that pretty much any of them can be paired with either white, red, or sparkling wine.
If you would like to keep the wine drinking to a minimum, we suggest compiling a charcuterie board filled with ingredients that share similar wine pairings.
For example, both brie and gruyère pair well with chardonnay, so can easily sit on the same board if you fancy a bottle of white.
Our favorite concept? Buying a few different bottles of wine to go alongside the board. Why not pick one red wine, which goes with a couple of the types of meat you have chosen – remember that both pâté and Iberico ham go really well with sherry – one white wine, and one sparkling wine?
That way, you have the best of all three worlds! At the end of the day, the wine you choose to pair your food is down to personal preference, but we hope that our example pairings have helped you to narrow down your options.