Wine and cheese are often thought of as the perfect pairing but you are missing out if you think that only red wine accompanies cheese as both dry and sweet white wines can pair very well indeed – especially with soft cheeses. The reason that white wine works so well is that it is astringent and this cuts through the fatty coating in your mouth. For Goats Cheese you need something dry and herbaceous such as a sauvignon blanc. The effervescence from sparkling wines can help cut through the fat in heavy textured cheese like Camembert so extra dry champagne would be a good match. Such cheeses as Stilton and Roquefort go well with intensely sweet wines such as Sauternes.
Traditionally the stronger the cheese the more beefy a red wine should accompany it. Red wines can stand up to rich pungent cheeses and cope well with sharper flavours. Port goes well with blue veined cheeses as Ports have an element known as “rancio” a desirable, rich, oxidised quality which matches reliably with the luxurious flavour mould laced cheese.
The Good Food Network, gourmet food specialists, have a great range of French artisan cheeses and I have chosen some great wines to pair with them:
Reblochon De Savoie Fermier (AOP): A mature and flavoursome farmhouse Reblochon de Savoie. Reblochon is a reputed, creamy French cheese from Haute Savoie with a lightly washed rind and a soft centre, which is mellow, delicate and fruity. I recommend the Chateau Mayne Pargade 2010. which will also be delicious with the Pont l’Eveque.
Pont l’ Eveque: Named after the town in Normandy where it is produced. It is probably one of the oldest cheeses of this area. Pont l’Eveque has a firm body, yellow colour and an edible crust. The crust has ridges because it is cured on straw mats. Pont l’Eveque has a slightly mouldy, brown rind and a soft, supple paste. The taste is deliciously savoury and piquant, with just a trace of sweetness and robust tang on the finish.
Tome De Savoie: A delicious, hard, cow’s milk cheese made in Savoie in the French Alps. It has a nutty flavour and a smooth texture that melts in your mouth. The hard, powdery rind has an earthy aroma and is coloured with natural moulds. Pairs well with Chateau Puyanche 2005 or Chateau de Hartes 2009.
Comte (AOC 10 month): A particularly flavoursome aged French Comte cheese made from unpasteurised cow’s milk. Comte is a mountain cheese from the Jura matured for 10 months to give depth of flavour. It has a sweet yet nutty flavour, with a firm, smooth and creamy texture and a fruity finish. A favourite to include as part of a French cheese board and a natural to use in fondue and soufflé. Great with Chateau Meyney 2006, Chateau Sociondo Mallet 2006 or Saint Marie Reserve Bordeaux Superieur 2008.
Organic Roquefort Papillon (2011 Gold Medal): One of the most reputed Roquefort to come from France, Papillon Roquefort is above all distinguished by its white curd and intense blue veins marbling its large and numerous cavities. To taste, its creamy and supple texture melt deliciously. Powerful and lingering on the palette. Superb with Chateau Saint Helene 2004 Sauternes.
St Maure De Touraine Fermier:An outstanding artisan cheese from the Loire Valley. A distinctive classic log shaped cheese from Touraine made using unpasteurised goat’s milk. Soft yet flaky with a well-balanced goaty taste. Keeping with tradition a rye straw is inserted into its core before being matured in the cool damp atmosphere of the drying rooms. Perfect with Chateau Les Eymeries 2008 Blanc.