I am constantly singing the praises of the classic and fail-proof pairing of a firm crottin de chavignol goat cheese and a crisp sauvignon blanc from the neighbouring vineyards of Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé in the Loire Valley. This is a truly show-stopping pairing if you’ve never tried it before! I systematically covert goat cheese haters into goat cheese lovers with this combination. It’s no wonder that it works so well, seeing that the two products have been made side by side in the same terroir for over hundreds of years.
I’ve decided to branch out from my wine comfort zone with this month’s cheese & wine suggestion. Yes, even wine professionals such as myself occasionally fall back on known territory. I will still go back to one of my all-time favorite cheeses: the gorgeous little crottin de chavignol. This small, slightly acidic and firm goat cheese can be found in various degrees of affinage, or ageing, in most good cheese shops all over France. The best will be made with fresh, unpasteurized goat’s milk and allowed to age at least 4 weeks before it’s sold. In and around the town of Chavignol, you can often find much older specimens, which have developed a fine layer of blue or grey mold, adding to the complexity and already intense character of this cheese.
The lively acidity and freshness of the 2013 Mercurey from Domaine François Raquillet would make a perfect pair. Coming from the Côte Chalonnaise, a region found further south from the more prestigious Burgundian appellations, this wine offers immediate pleasure with loads of raspberry and black cherry fruit. Serve this wine around 15C or 60F to show off the sleekness and to further emphasise how crisp and pure pinot noir from Burgundy can be.
If you do not have this exact wine, a supple and soft red Sancerre or even a cabernet franc from another Loire region would do the trick with this dense and flavor-packed goat cheese.
So remember to branch out from your usual pairings and try something new! Let us know what you think!