Chardonnay and Comté

Younger or older, the Comté (sometimes called the “Prince of Gruyères”) is a fabulous cheese for any time, any day of the year. No wonder that when you ask for fromage in France, the assumption is that you are speaking of a Comté. At one time this cheese was more frequently enjoyed on the younger side. Nowadays the older varieties have become more popular. As with most cheeses, it becomes a deeper flavored cheese with more age. Younger, older, or somewhere in the middle, this cheese can be great for snacking by itself; it also melts well for cooking.

Of the wines that we have tasted alongside Comté, the Chardonnays have presented many fine matches. I recall pulling up to visit Château Haut-Bailly south of Bordeaux, producer of excellent red wines. You might expect that they would be having a glass of their wine with the default lunch of choice – Comté. The winemakers did indeed have the cheese, yet instead of having a glass of their red Bordeaux, they were having a low-calorie cola. Alors!

Besides the fact that their day of work was not nearly complete and the glass of wine might beg for a siesta instead, their lovely wine might not be elevated by the cheese. If their vineyard was planted in Chardonnay, they might allow themselves at least one glass.

This is one thing that our Cheese & Wine 101 sessions are about – finding the synergies between cheeses and wines. There are a couple of things that make Comté and Chardonnay a good match. Chardonnay is a relatively complex varietal and Comté is a full-flavored cheese. Aromatically, the apple and pear notes of Chardonnay harmonize beautifully with the nutty buttery notes of this cheese.

Spread the curd!
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Posted by Max McCalman

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