Two Wines For One Great Cheese

This weekend we had a fantastic cheese that I bought at the Brattleboro Farmers’ Market in Vermont. It was a wash rind cow’s milk cheese called “Cuvette” made by Spoonwood Cabin of Jacksonville, Vermont. When I bought the cheese, I said that I thought it would go well with a red Burgundy. The cheese maker agreed but added that he loved it with Champagne. When I discussed the choice with my wife, she suggested we try both.
Since a red would go best with what we had for the rest of the meal (grilled pork chops with wild trumpet mushrooms and panzenella (an Italian bread salad) we started with a Beaune Cent Vignes, Premier Cru, 1995, from Chateau De Meursault. This wine is one of the few left from when we could afford really good Burgundies. It was magnificent with the pork chops and good, but not as good, with the cheese. The cheese was so big in flavor and frankly so rich that it accented the wines acidity and tannins more than its earthiness and fruit flavors. It wasn’t a bad match, just not what I had hoped for.
So on to the Champagne; here I was again surprised. I had thought the cheese would overwhelm the more delicate Champagne. We were drinking the Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, NV. It was a perfect match. For from overwhelming the wine, the cheese brought out the wines fruit flavors and a bit of its yeast. The wine’s acidity showed of the richness of the cheese while stopping it from being cloying. The cheese maker had suggested sprinkling a little Champagne on the cheese. We tried it and that brought out the sweetness of the milk used in the cheese.
So we had a fantastic meal and I learned a few things about food and wine pairings. That’s a nice way to learn.

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