My partner Mike is obsessed with wine — the word ‘aficionado’ springs to mind. He spends his spare time researching lesser known wine regions and winemakers in search of tasty drops. Ultimately, he’s the guy you want around when it comes to ordering wine at a restaurant. So, it was only natural then that for Wine & Cheese Day, I asked him to share his favourite wine and cheese pairing and they best way to serve it. The result may surprise you!
Author: Mike Chambers
Monday was world wine & cheese day and what better way to celebrate than to break the shackles of weekly routine and treat yourself (unless you are partaking in Dry July, in which case, go you!).
While people say that wine and cheese go together effortlessly, I can’t say I’ve found that to be true. Usually, I find one overpowers the other or they clash so much that neither is enjoyable. I often find myself wondering “is it just me?” As it turns out, it’s not just me. Many friends have similar thoughts!
In my opinion, cheese and wine pairing is kind of like dating … just because two people can go together, doesn’t mean they should.
So, in light of that, I’m going to share the one pairing that is so scrumptious that it has been described by many friends as “a revelation”. It’s as delicious as it gets, and it works at the end of a meal as dessert and if equally as well as a late afternoon pairing come aperitif time.
The combination? Brillat Savarin and Champagne.
Both are special treats, and together they are the foodification (yep, made up a word) of the Spice Girls’ classic 90’s chart topper “2 Become 1”.
Here’s how to go about pairing the two …
Find a lovely bottle of Champagne or Tasmanian sparkling if you’re feeling like supporting local industry. We love Nicolas Maillart Platine, Pierre Paillard Bouzy, Bollinger or Pol Roger if going French. Or if going local is your thing, try Arras or Heemskerk.
I love Will Studd’s Brillat Savarin. This is a soft, ripe cream cheese, best served slightly cooler than room temperature. I can’t stress this enough — do not serve it cold, you’ll lose all the flavour and beautiful oozy texture.
Get some plain crackers, lavosh or good quality (thinly cut) sourdough baguette and serve with some quince paste. No need for the fancy stuff, just good old plain quince is the best bet here. It can also work nicely with some thinly sliced Granny Smith apple.
Voila, you have a match made in heaven. The interesting thing about this Brillat Savarin is that we haven’t found any other wine that goes with it, so you’ll just have to drink bubbles.
If you’re looking for some other lovely pairings, try:
COMTÉ + CÔTES DU JURA
Comté is made in the Jura region of France. It is a hard cheese, with an ever so mild saltiness. It’s texture balances crumble and creaminess beautifully. And funnily enough, wines from the same Jura region work a treat with Comté. Try Domaine Rolet Savagnin for a white (quite different to Sauvignon Blanc) or Domaine Rolet’s Trosseau for a red. Both pair nicely!
BLUE + SAUTERNES
Blue cheeses, like Roquefort and wines such as Sauternes from Bordeaux like Carmes de Riessec, or a good quality Moscato like Vietti. Both these wines come in half bottles given the intensity of flavour. These wines are sweet, but balanced with nice acid (i.e. not sickeningly sweet), and work beautifully with the saltiness and funk of blue cheeses. Champagne also works here! Personally I like blue with some good quality sourdough baguette and Granny Smith apple.
PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO + MALVASIA
I like to pair Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Cacio Pepe if you’re feeling indulgent) with wines that have had some skin contact such as Malvasia, Ribolla or Venezia Giulia varieties. Malvasia is a Greek grape variety grown in the Mediterranean and particularly in Italy. It is often made with a little bit of skin contact and the texture and roundness of it works beautifully with the sharpness of Parmesan. Try wines by the Coenobium winery —they do a Malvasia blend, made by nuns in the Lazio region of Italy. Likewise Radikon’s wines from the Friuli region of Italy pair nicely if you’re looking for a special treat. I love the Oslavje (actually a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, but not as you known it)!