France is known for its wine of course, but also for its myriad cheeses, and within each category , individual producers display their many skills. Just like wine, cheese has its own appellation system, and it is considered a key part of French gastronomic heritage. However, when it comes to pairing wine and cheese, there are a number of myths that should be explored: read on to learn more about this fascinating topic.
Comté, Parmesan and Gruyère have subtle, fruity aromas which are enhanced by white wine. Choose an aromatic, expressive bottle with fruit and floral notes and good freshness to balance the saltiness of this kind of cheese. A Baron de Lestac white will do nicely.
Match the richness of Reblochon with a lively white wine to add lightness and create a delightful contrast. Choose a bottle that has aromatic complexity to add another dimension to this cheese – wine with spicy notes will also serve it well.
Cheeses like Munster are washed with brine during their ageing and brushed before the rind ferments, giving them their characteristic orange hue. Their strong flavours are best matched with a full-bodied red wine. Choose a style with some power but not too much acidity – a red Baron de Lestac works well with this kind of cheese and its pronounced aromas.
With blue cheese, consider creating a contrast with a sweet wine, matching one kind of mould with another (some sweet wines are made from grapes affected by noble rot). Red wine tends to pale into insignificance with blue cheese, but a sweet selection will shine. Choose a bottle that has good balance, to avoid saturating your palate.
The rind of Camembert and Brie gives them a lightly bitter note which does not pair well with white wine. As these cheese have regularly featured on cheese boards over the years, perhaps this is why red wine came to be the choice for all cheese in general. However, the red wines of yesteryear tended to be less tannic and thus were easier to pair with cheese. Rest assured: the characterful red wines of today are great companions for these more pronounced tastes.
Be it aged or fresh, natural or with an ash rind, goat milk cheese tends to have a saline note that marries well with white wine, and this style enhances the subtle flavours of goat cheese without overpowering them. If you prefer a creamier, more powerful cheese, you could opt for red wine, but be sure it has soft tannins.
Faisselle and Mozzarella have very subtle, milky flavours and a hint of acidity. Pair them with a dry, fruity white wine with a restrained style to give them more complexity.
To avoid opening too many bottles with your cheese course, create your menu with other dishes that will suit the same wine, be it a Baron de Lestac red or white. Now you have everything you need to entertain your guests with a truly marvellous meal.