One of the most exquisite and memorable cheese and wine pairings that I have ever experienced is the one that occurs between wines that are made from the Chenin Blanc grape and a little sheep milk cheese from Switzerland â€“ the rare and distinctive Flixer. This cheese is related to the better known Alpine style cheeses such as Appenzeller; this cheese is cooked, pressed, and it receives several washings to enhance its savory flavor profile.
Chenin Blanc in its many expressions, from the lightest drier styles to the fruitier more viscous or sparkling types, generally pairs most successfully with goat or sheep milk cheeses (though in its sweeter incarnations especially, it can be a respectful wine partner for many cow milk cheeses). The Flixer prefers white wines, and the chestnut flavor and toothsome texture of this cheese provides the perfect complement for the honeyed peach and mineral notes of the Chenin Blanc wines. The good acidity that this grape acquires dissolves the compact Flixer to a mouth-watering finish.
Quite frankly: why this varietal is not considered to be one of the â€œnobleâ€ grapes is a little surprising. It can stand out on its own or it can blend successfully with a number of other grapes.
There are several lovely Chenin Blanc wines around, from the new world as well as its probable birthplace in France. There is however only a limited supply of Flixer available â€“ one solitary producer, Mario Cotti in Canton GraubÃ¼nden. This is one of those â€œbefore I dieâ€ cheese and wine marriages to experience.