French Wine and Cheese for the Holidays

French Wine and Cheese for the Holidays
As the holidays approach, we all find ourselves with lots of opportunities to host family and friends. In the colder weather we can break out the richer cheeses and more robust wines for that all important gathering time before the meal, or just for the afternoon visit!

In crafting a cheese plate, I always try to include a variety of flavors and textures. Mixing textures, milks (goat, cow, sheep), and styles of cheese is great for giving a variety of choices. You can keep it simple with a cheese or two, or go all out with cheese, charcuterie, fruit, nuts if you have a crowd. Today, we’re preparing a simple cheese plate for a small gathering. Two cheeses, a few extras and a choice of wines provides something for everyone.

Hervé Mons St. Nuage Triple Cream Cheese
St. Nuage means Saint Cloud in French. St. Nuage is a triple cream cow’s milk cheese made in the Burgundy region of France. This is a luxurious soft-ripened cheese that is deliciously creamy and smooth with an almost non-existent rind. You should enjoy this cheese rind and all. The cheese is rich and buttery, but it also packs a bit of an acidic bite to keep things interesting. Spread it onto a slice of baguette and enjoy. I especially liked it with the addition of a bit of orange-fig spread. The fruity spread was a nice addition without taking away from the rich, creamy cheese.

Mimolette Cheese from France

Mimolette Cheese – orange in color, cheese mites as part of the cheesemaking process, what a story for this cheese!

Isigny Ste. Mére Mimolette Cheese
Mimolette Cheese is a firm, aged cheese made of cow’s milk from the Normandy region. It has quite an interesting story, as it is naturally colored by annato, a dye made from the Annato tree. Further, part of the aging process includes cheese mites eating the rind of the cheese! No worries, the mites are gone by the time the cheese is readied for shipping. The cheese is hard, with a unique nutty flavor.

Domain Paul Buisse Touraine - Sauvignon Blanc wine from France

Domain Paul Buisse Touraine – Sauvignon Blanc

Domaine Paul Buisse Touraine AOP Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (sample, $12 SRP)
Like many French wines, this is named for the community, Touraine, which is a village located in the Loire river valley. Paul Buisse’ vineyards are sited along the river Cher, a tributary of the Loire. Many people are more familiar with wines named by the grape, so they helpfully include “Sauvignon” on the label, nice! Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs are always bone dry, perfectly crisp with lively acidity. They can feature different aromas depending on the type of soil they are grown on, ranging from citrusy aromas of grapefruit and lemons to stony, flinty aromas when grown on flint soils.

Eye: Clear, pale straw color
Nose: Clean, floral notes, lemons and gooseberries
Mouth: Dry, medium bodied and very crisp and refreshing. Lively acidity provides a nice palate cleanser.

Château Haut-Cadet Saint-Emilion Grand Cru wine from France

Château Haut-Cadet Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

Château Haut-Cadet Saint-Émilion Grand Cru AOC 2015 (sample, $25 SRP)
Château Haut-Cadet is a wine from the Right Bank of the famous Bordeaux wine region in France. Right Bank wines typically feature Merlot as their main component, and Haut-Cadet is no exception. The climate on the Right Bank is a bit cooler than the Left Bank, and Cabernet Sauvignon doesn’t reliably ripen. The soil is perfectly suited to Merlot so it is almost always the dominant variety. The Château Haut-Cadet is 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc,  and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Eye: Clear, medium intensity ruby with a purple edge
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Dark ripe fruit, blackberries and blueberries. Ripe but not overly so. A bit of graphite and forest floor behind the fruit.
Mouth: Dry, medium body, medium acidity, medium tannins. Deep fruit flavors carry into a nice medium length finish. I loved this medium bodied red wine, no need to wait to age it, it’s drinking nicely right now.

A cheese plate featuring St. Nuage and Mimolette cheeses from France

Try a bit of everything for your cheese plate

Did Our Cheese and Wine Choices Succeed?
What a fun combination of cheese and wine! I liked the St. Nuage, both by itself and with a bit of the orange fig spread with the Paul Buisse Touraine. The creamy soft paste of the cheese was contrasted by the bright acidity in the white wine. With the Haut-Cadet, the St. Nuage was a bit at odds on its own. However, just a bit of the fruity orange-fig spread provided a nice flavor bridge and was just plain delicious. Conversely, the Mimolette was good with the Touraine but not anything special or magical. The Mimolette seemed like a natural with the deeper flavor and more structured Château Haut-Cadet. Never worry about your choices when you start with artisan made cheeses and wines, simply provide a couple of choices and you’re sure to find a perfect pairing!

French wines and cheeses in an attractive cheese plate

Wine and Cheese fun from France!

Disclosure: Wines and cheese were provided by the PR agency supporting the French Food and Beverages Facebook Page.

Holidays are made for French wines and cheeses! Visit www.foodwineclick.com for details

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Comments
3 Responses to “French Wine and Cheese for the Holidays”
  1. alexander1430@comcast.net says:

    I’m hungry after viewing! I forwarded it to a couple family members who want to sign up for your blog. I tweeted it today too. I’m slowly catching on to the social media thing 🙂

    Great job!

  2. I have that exact cheese slate! We use it all the time for entertaining.

  3. I adore the mimolette; my new favorite cheese.

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