Cheese and Wine Pairing

The French Market cheese and wine pairing suggestions:

*The AOC label means Controlled Denomination of Origin, it is awarded to less than 50 French cheeses which are remarkable for the virtue of their region and traditional method of manufacture.

French unpasteurised cheese

French unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese:

  • Brie de Meaux AOC Type: soft bloomy rind. Made with unpasteurised raw milk, it is ripened for a minimum of 4 weeks during which time, it is turned several times by hand. The flavour is delicate with a subtle hazelnut flavour which lingers on the palate. Talleyrand crowned this as the “king of cheeses”.
    Wine pairing a fruity red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) or Bordeaux blend
  • Comté AOC from Franche-Comte – 4/6 months maturation. Type: pressed cooked, cheese. This ancient cheese is part of the Gruyere family. The Romans recorded its distinctive quality as did Victor Hugo. 132 gallons are needed to produce one wheel of Comte. The milk is only taken from Montbeliarde cows which must have at least 1 hectare of grazing in particular pastures.
    Wine pairing a light fruity red, a dry fruity white even a champagne.     
  • Emmental French. Type: cooked, pressed.  The ‘eyes’ in the Emmental are created by a month’s fermentation in a heated cellar.
    Wine pairing: Savoie wines Crepy  or Roussette (Try a light Chardonnay)
  • Morbier *AOC from Burgundy. Type: Pressed, uncooked cheese. In the 1800s the cheese was covered with a layer of wood ash which now forms a central line in the cheese. Strong flavour which lingers in the mouth.
    Wine pairing: Crepy (Chasseslas or Altesse dry white varietals from Savoie) Or Seyssel (Dry, sparkling Savoie wine)
  • Reblochon *AOC from Savoie – First known in the1400s when landlords claimed taxes from the farmers based on the milk yield of their cows, the farmers would only partially milk their cows in the morning, cutting of the flow of milk. This is known as “Reblocher”. The cow would be milked again in the evening after the landlords had left, hence the origin of the name. The second milking was also found to be much creamier. It has an aroma that is reminiscent of barnyards. Unbelievable flavours linger on the palette.
    Wine pairing: Roussette de Savoye, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Riesling

French pasteurised cow’s milk cheese:

  • Bleu d’Auvergne *AOC La Veronne: Type: Blue veined cheese – this cheese was created in the 1800s by a farmer who added a blue mould from his bread to the curds. The cheese slowly crumbles as it matures and the flavour strengthens.
    Wine pairing: A late harvest lighter bodied Sauterne (Sauvignon, Blanc, Semillon blend)
  • Brie Pasteurised  Type: soft bloomy rind  – Pasteurised – King Charlemagne tasted it first in AD774.This tasty, unctuous cheese has a 60% butterfat content.
    Wine pairing: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Champagne  
  • Délice Type: Soft bloomy rind, pasteurised, from Burgundy. This decadently creamy cheese is known as a Triple cream cheese, as cream is added twice during the process giving it a 75% butterfat content. It has a slight mushroomy odour.
    Wine pairing Champagne or Methode Champenoise, Cap Classique.
  • Époisses Type: washed rind cheese. Originating from the village of Époisses in Burgundy, where there was an Abbey in the 1500s. The monks started the tradition of washing the rind of the cheese with the Marc de Bourgogne, a locally made pomace brandy. (Pomace is the residue left after red grapes have been pressed) This pungent, creamy cheese is reputed to have been a favourite of Napoleon. It is claimed to be one of the most smelliest cheeses in the world. Wine pairing a good red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) or Sauternes (Noble Late)
  • Munster *AOC from the Vosges. Type: soft washed rind – Created by the Benedictine monks in the middle ages. It is washed with herbs and has a strong tangy flavour. Often served with cumin seeds.
    Wine pairing: Haut Medoc (Predominantly Merlot and Cab. Sauv blend), Gewürztraminer or Pinot Noir
  • Saint Nectaire Fermier *AOC Dore Mountains. Type: pressed uncooked cheese – Became famous when it was served at the table of Louis XIV. Similar to Camembert but firm texture and nuttier flavour.
    Wine pairing: Classic red Bordeaux (Bordeaux blend includes Cab. Sauv, Cab. Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec) or Pouilly-Fume (Sauvignon blanc fume)
French unpasteurised cheese
Goat's milk cheese

French Goat’s milk cheese:

  • Crottin de Chevre:  Small rounds of fresh, creamy Goats cheese (40g), which have been produced since the 16th century. Ideal for snacks, in salads or can be baked on toast.
    Wine pairing: Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc)                                        
  • Buche de Chevre: Orléans area. A log shaped Goat’s cheese which was first recorded in the 8th century. This smooth cheese is surrounded by a white rind. Often used in baking with pastries.Typical tangy French goat flavour.
    Wine pairing: Sancerre or Bordeaux Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec
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