Wine and cheese: 6 perfect combinations
Wine and cheese, the ideal partnership! So it seemed natural to us to unveil the secrets of a harmonious union between the two products of French terroir par excellence.
Better to warn you now that with these AOCs and varieties, cheese is just as demanding and complex as wine. Therefore, almost endless combinations are possible, but for once, making a meal out of it really is worth it! But, we wouldn't want you to lose the plot. So we decided to focus only on the favourite (and the best known) cheeses of the French. And even if you have probably already tasted them with wine, you will most certainly be amazed to find out that some well-established lines of thought (such as thinking that red wine automatically means cheese, for example) are not always the best...
1) With Camembert:
Let's start with the absolute star of French cheeses: Camembert!Orignating from Normandy, this cheese belongs to the "soft, bloomy rind" category and is nearly always eaten accompanied with a glass of red wine. And quite right too because its unctuous texture needs to be combined with a wine that is powerful enough to stand up to it. However, you need to bear in mind that tannins and lactose rarely make the best combination because they produce a strong bitter sensation on your palate. So why not choose a light or even lively (one which slightly glides on the palate without any bitterness) wine with discrete tannins? A Beaujolais Gamay or a Burgundy or Alsace Pinot Noir is ideal.
2) With Goat's cheese:
Goat's cheese is very popular and is a cheese family in its own right. It can be fresh, creamy or dry. Food and wine combinations will therefore vary depending on these three character traits. If the goat's cheese is fresh or creamy, choose fruity and dry white wines, such as a Loire Valley Sauvignon or a Burgundy Chardonnay. If you prefer dry goat's cheese, then opt for a slightly sweet white wine, such as an Alsace Gewürztraminer or a Loire Valley Montlouis-sur-loire to counteract the bitter flavour of the cheese.
3) With Ossau-iraty:
Cantal and Saint-NectaireThese dense-body cheeses usually have a powerful and strong taste, whose intensity varies with the cheese's maturity, i.e. its ripening process. Meaning, the more mature the cheese, the thicker the rind and the more spicy the flavour. So you need to choose a wine of the same type. A full-bodied red wine like a Rhône Valley Côtes-du-Rhône, a Bordeaux Fronton or a Provence Côtes-de-Provence will be absolutely perfect. If the rind is thin, the cheese will be fruity. In this case, you should aim for a young and light white wine, such as an Alsace Pinot Blanc or a Burgundy Chardonnay.
4) With Emmental and Comté These cheeses belong to the cooked, pressed cheese family
They are recognised for their fruity aromatic taste that goes marvellously with rich white wines that release hints of butter and hazelnut. So go for a young wine from the Jura, or even a Languedoc Grenache Blanc that will form an original combination, especially with spicy flavoured Vieux Comtés.
5) With Reblochon
Recognised by its strong smell, Reblochon belongs to the soft washed rind cheese family. You should combine it with powerful aromatic white wines that have a beautiful acidity, to prevent any bitter taste. Their spicy hints are also perfect to uphold the powerful flavour of this cheese. An Alsace Gewürztraminer or a Loire Valley Chenin will be absolutely perfect.
6) With Roquefort (or "blue cheese" in common language)
constitutes the great classic of marbled cheeses with its sharp, or even bitter, character. So you need to add sweetness to it with naturally sweet red wines such as a Languedoc-Roussillon Banuyls or Maury. The sweetness of these wines will soften the sharpness of the cheese and go wonderfully with its unctuous structure.