When the Rhône Valley meets Normandy
A Camembert de Normandie has been resting under the cheese cover for a few days. Unpasteurised milk roughly shaped, a smooth, soft cheese matured to perfection with a floral rind—which wine has the strength of character to pair with this iconic French AOC cheese?
Véronique Torcolacci, our wine expert, says:
“A Gigondas “Sainte Catherine” 2014 is the ideal accompaniment. It is well aged, and the sheen of this vintage gives it a mellow quality and good bearing. It will pleasingly coat the rather rough quality of this excellent rustic cheese.”
Grown on the rare soils in the Rhône Valley, the grapes are hand-picked at peak ripeness. The berries are then macerated for three weeks and aged in vats then barrels for 11 months. This gives the aromas and flavourings the time to develop before the wine is bottled.
A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes, this red wine has peppery, spicy aromas with floral and fresh strawberry notes. At once powerful and mineral, it blends with the camembert’s strong character while bringing a soft, fresh touch.
A stylish match for sophisticated cheeses
Véronique is unequivocal when it comes to cheese made from goat’s milk:
“Whether they are very ripe or not at all, white wine is the only way to go.”
In her opinion, creamy and slightly fresh goat’s cheeses are washed down best with a Hermitage Blanc Laurus 2015. Made exclusively from Marsanne grapes, it offers all the qualities of this high-end vineyard. “It’s well balanced with substance and is the perfect foil for this round and creamy cheese. Its tannins and acidity bring a light quality to the palate and a fresh finish.”
The Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc Laurus, our latest release in this Parcel Selection range, is also a great match: “Its robust character will shore up the unctuous sensation of the cheese. Aged in discreet wood, it delivers flavours of fresh spices without masking the fruit.” It’s a pairing that works thanks to the flavours and textures that complement one another on the palate.
Will your cheese board be graced with a small goat’s cheese infused with paprika or black pepper? Consider matching it with a white Côtes du Rhône Domaine de Longue Toque 2018 to enhance the flavour. “It offers delightfully fresh aromas, from being produced at high altitude, and a solid structure after 11 months aged in oak. Its citrus notes really bring out the best in cheeses that have been refined a little.”
A sweet-savoury pairing for rich cheeses
Roquefort and Bleu d’Auvergne are categorised as “strong” blue cheeses. Véronique feels that a Muscat de Beaumes Laurus from any year has all the qualities to make a perfect match: “It has a roundness that offsets the intense saltiness of these cheeses.”
The 2015, for example, a delicious Muscat with a velvety palate and flavours of stewed fruit (quince, pear, peach) softens the pungent character of the blue cheese. This natural sweet wine is also a divine match for very dry goat’s cheeses.
“The smooth, sugary profile of the sweet wine balances the dry, salty taste of the cheese, and vice versa. Aromatically speaking, the floral, fruity notes of the Muscat really enhance the hearty rural character.”
Véronique's top tip to share just before the holidays? A truffle infused Brillat-Savarin enjoyed with a Gigondas Hommage à Gabriel Meffre 2003.
We also have wine pairing advice to share with you when you are dining on mushrooms, seafood and other dishes likely to be served over the seasonal festivities. If you have the slightest doubt about which wine to serve with the delicious feast you have planned, the doors to our winery are always open!