To learn the basics about cheese, Jean-Francois Antony, from a family of French artisan cheesemakers at Fromagerie Antony, suggests getting familiar with five basic types:
1. Comté – Antony suggests starting out with Comté that is not too old, just one or two years old; older ones are better appreciated by connoisseurs. Vin Jaune, yellow wine made from late-harvest Savagnin grapes, is a classic pairing recommendation. Antony also says mature Sauternes work as well as Riesling.
2. Camembert comparison – Antony suggests buying two Camemberts, one that is AOC (superior) and one that is not AOC (inferior). He strongly believes that Camembert and red wine is a terrible pairing. Reds get a metallic taste with Camembert and can make the tannins taste very hard. He says unoaked whites are best, but it can work with Beaujolais or Alsace Pinot Noir. The best option? No wine at all with Camembert, he suggests.
3. Roquefort – Best pairings are with Sauternes or late harvest sweet wines from Alsace. The strong salty flavours are complemented by the sweet honey flavours of late harvest types.
4. Charolais goat cheese – The best wines are white; try white Alsace or white Burgundy. Because of its fat and creamy style, it pairs well with Chassagne Montrachet.
5. Reblochon – This is one of the easier cheeses to pair with wine. It works with white Burgundy and can pair equally well with lighter red wines like Pinot Noir. When selecting red Burgundy, try a Côte de Beaune or Volnay. If the Reblochon is older then the wine should be stronger in flavour too.
Final thoughts and tips on buying cheese:
Image credit: Fromagerie Antony