Brie is one of the most popular cheeses in the world. Often referred to as the “Queen of Cheeses,” this rich, creamy French cheese is characterized by an edible rind and a buttery-soft interior.
The flavor of brie is mild but complex. It works well spread on crackers as an appetizer, melted on a gourmet sandwich, or arranged on a dessert cheese plate. It also pairs well with different types of wines. Here are some of the best wine with brie pairings to consider for your next gathering.
Tips for Pairing Wine and Brie
Brie is a soft-ripened cheese that comes from the Brie district of France. It is made from either cow’s milk or sheep’s milk, with cow’s milk being more common. While mild, it has many layers, giving it a delicious complexity.
Brie is slightly nutty, tangy, and sweet. These flavors, which develop and change as the cheese ages, make it incredibly versatile. They also allow the cheese to pair well with many different wines.
The type of wine you choose will impact the flavors you perceive, making certain flavors pop. It’s also important to keep in mind that brie’s texture and flavors change as it ages. A more mature brie needs a more powerful wine. Younger brie, on the other hand, does well with lighter, crisper wines.
Typically, brie does very well with white wines, which have lower tannins and more acidity. These characteristics do very well with the creaminess of the cheese. Sparkling wines are also an excellent option.
If you prefer a red with your cheese, select a lighter-bodied or fruity variety. Fuller-bodied reds have higher tannins that work well for aged cheeses but can easily overpower brie’s subtle flavors. They can also make the cheese taste chalky or metallic.
Another thing to keep in mind is how you’re serving the brie. Is it the star of the dish, or is it an addition? If your brie is just part of the dish, you will need to consider what else is on the plate to determine the best wine to serve alongside it.
One of brie’s most notable characteristics is its richness. It is a cheese with a high fat content. To cut through the fat, brie needs a sharp, acidic partner. Serving the cheese alongside a glass of Chardonnay makes an excellent brie wine pairing. The acidity of the wine helps to cleanse the palate, keeping the richness of the cheese from becoming too overwhelming. The wine also has enough body to match the creaminess of the cheese, making them ideal partners.
In addition to pairing Chardonnay with brie on its own, other ideas to consider include:
- Caramelized onion, apple, and brie pizza
- Salad with pecan-crusted chicken, apples, and brie (use a light, creamy dressing instead of a tart vinaigrette)
- Peach, brie, and prosciutto crostini
Brie tends to take on a mushroom-like earthiness that becomes more prominent as the cheese matures. Pinot Noir might not be the first wine that comes to mind when thinking of a milder cheese, but it is the perfect complement to the cheese’s distinct flavors. It’s also acidic enough and light enough to not overpower them.
Some brie-involved dishes to pair with a glass of Pinot Noir include:
- Blackberry scones with brie and walnuts
- Pasta with brie, bacon, and basil
- Grilled brie sandwiches with peaches and basil
- Baked brie with apples, pears, and pecans
Brie contains subtle nutty notes akin to almonds. A wine with a similarly subtle nuttiness, like a lightly oaked Chenin Blanc, works quite well alongside it. Chenin Blanc also has flavors of apples and pears, which provide a contrast to the nuttiness of the brie and help to bring them out. The assertive acidity of this wine helps to cut through brie’s high fat content.
Ways to serve brie with a Chenin Blanc include:
- Honey-baked ham and brie sandwiches
- Brie-stuffed chicken
The sweetness of brie has been likened to that of freshly churned butter. To highlight the delicate sweetness of the cheese, a slightly off-dry Riesling will pair quite well. This type of Riesling has just a bit of sweetness to match the sweetness of the brie, but it still has plenty of acidity to keep the pairing from becoming cloying. Dry Rieslings also work well with this cheese.
Ways to serve brie alongside a glass of Riesling include:
- Brie en croute with cherries and pistachios
- Brie and honey crostinis
- Brie and apricot quesadillas
The mild buttery and earthy notes of brie make it the perfect partner for the toasty, bready flavor of Champagne. Like Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, Champagne is acidic, which allows it to cut through brie’s fat content. This acidity works with the sparkling wine’s refreshing effervescence to cleanse the palate after the rich cheese.
At the same time, brie’s mildness helps to enhance Champagne’s fruity notes and crisp acidity. One of the best pairings with Champagne is brie on a slice of baguette. Other ways to serve brie with Champagne are:
- Raspberry-baked brie
- Baked brie with cherries and thyme
While mild, brie also has a bit of tang to it. To really bring the tang to the forefront, consider a pairing with Beaujolais. While it’s a red wine, it is light-bodied. It has low tannins and plenty of acidity, so it won’t overpower brie. Made from Gamay grapes, this wine has bright red fruit notes of black currants, tart cherries, cranberries, and raspberries. These notes pair perfectly with a mature, but not overripe, brie.
Excellent brie and Beaujolais pairings include:
- A cheese board with brie, camembert, and morbier
- Cherry and pecan brie bites
Soft, creamy cheeses like brie love crisp whites, which is why Sauvignon Blanc is another ideal pairing. Sauvignon Blancs are typically paired with goat cheese, which is both earthy and tart. The crisp, fruity notes of the wine draw these flavors out.
Brie can be made from goat’s milk. While the notes are milder, goat's milk brie is earthy, tart, and nutty as well. A Sauvignon Blanc can help to draw these flavors out. The wine also has plenty of acidity, which is what the cheese needs to cut through the fat.
If you like a Sauvignon Blanc, don’t be afraid to pair it with a goat’s milk brie. Consider a glass with the cheese on its own or with a cranberry, brie, apple, and thyme crostini.
Brie is a mild yet complex cheese that takes on new flavors and textures as it ripens. Its versatility allows it to pair well with many different wines. No matter how you plan to serve brie at your next gathering, JJ Buckley Fine Wines has the wines for all of your pairing needs. Need help deciding on the best wine for your menu? JJ Buckley’s consultancy service can provide you with the perfect recommendations. Contact us to place your next order today.