There was a time when I thought that this primordial type of cheese â€“ Fleur du Maquis â€“ would be only at its best in the summer months. I refer to this cheese as â€œprimordialâ€ partly because it is made with sheep milk, but also because it is a fresh style of cheese (the first types of cheeses). The Fleur du Maquis also has a way of offering easy versatility with many wine types.
I have noticed that this cheese has been arriving in fine form throughout the year pretty much; I donâ€™t have to wait for summer to have it. It could be partly because it is from Corsica (whose winters are not quite so extreme) but it could be partly because thereâ€™s plenty of sheep milk there anyway, now that they cannot send the excess milk to help produce Roquefort. Itâ€™s been that way for several years now. Sheep milk is one milk type that can tolerate freezing and can then be used later to make cheese. If the milk harvest is a good one, and the milk is not destined to Roquefort production, this provides a good supply of high quality milk to make lovely Fleur du Maquis year round.
As I was contemplating a wine partner for the Fleur du Maquis I looked over my cheese and wine pairing catalogue. I recalled that it performed well with many wine types, from AlbariÃ±o to Zinfandel, but one varietal stood out â€“ the noble Riesling. As much as I enjoy a good Riesling it is not one of my go-to wines. Because I have had the good fortune to taste some of the finest expressions of Rieslings, it does make it a little difficult to settle for a lesser one. Reading across the several pairing scores I found Rieslings popping up several times, and some of those Rieslings were a bit ordinary. As we always hope to find: the cheese can enhance a wine.
Sometimes referred to as a Sommelierâ€™s varietal, the Riesling does show versatility with many foods. Not that is always offers that â€œmarriage-made-in-heavenâ€ experience with all cheeses, but it is almost always better than â€œjust-okay.â€ I see the Rieslings popping up frequently with the wash-rind cheeses, especially those that are made with cow milk. To find an altogether different type of cheese partner you might try the Fleur du Maquis. Both the cheese and the wines made with Riesling are available and delightful throughout the year.
Posted by Artisanal Cheese