French cheeses and White Bordeaux

PC 10090 French cheeses and White Bordeaux

The triple-crèmes like Brillat Savarin and Pierre Robert, as delicious as they are, can be tough cheese partners for wines. Last week at a seminar focused on cheeses and wines of France we tasted a Bordeaux Blanc with the Brillat Savarin and found a lovely pairing. The wine was a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. The Sauvignon Blanc offered the acid to cut through the delicious extra helping of fat the triple-crèmes possess. The Sémillon provided the honeyed viscosity to smooth the ride, and the Muscadelle delivered the grapey raisin aroma to yield a pretty finish.

If it had been 100% Sauvignon Blanc (no matter how it was vinified) the probability of a successful marriage would probably have been diminished. I don’t recall too many instances where these styles of cheeses pair well with Sauvignon Blanc alone. Sémillon, in its botrytized expressions like the Sauternes (another type of Bordeaux), might do the trick. These sweeter wines are not our everyday types of wines though; they are more special occasion types, often reserved for the end of the meal after other wines may be enjoyed.

Of course most white Bordeaux are not especially inexpensive so to categorize them as “everyday” wines may not apply, but if you shop around you can find good values for perfectly good ones.

The Ossau Iraty paired beautifully with the white Bordeaux – no surprise there; I’ve found this to be a lovely pairing several times. The 100% Sauvignon Blancs pair nicely with the pressed sheep milk cheeses, not just the Ossau Iratys. The addition of the Sémillon and trhe Muscadelle only added another dimension.

The aged Comté might have been a bit of a stretch but it also worked well, far better than most of the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant types of red Bordeaux. If you try Merlot-dominant red Bordeaux, such as those of the right bank, the chances of successes are far better.

Spread the curd!
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