Due to high interest in French wine (and my recent travels in France!), along with the permanent recognition that France produces some of the best and most diverse cheeses in the world, we decided to produce an all France themed wine and cheese cruise. We were honored to have such an enthusiastic audience and highly qualified team of helpers… As usual the cheese notes are provided by my good friend and cheese-expert, David Bennett. (Note: due to a small delivery hiccup, we had to substitute the opening cremant but I will provide the notes below since it follows the theme).
Cremant de Bourgogne NV – Made with same process as Champagne, but in region a few miles to the south of Champagne, this Cremant is fresh and crisp with tightly focused flavors – a great starter. Bûche du Poitou – Goat’s milk cheese made in the Loire Valley. The bloomy rind is slightly tangy but the center gets progressively creamier and rich. The finish is slightly lemony. Aged 2 months.
Jongieux Vin de Savoie – Clean and refreshing sense of citrus. It is a wine of notably high acidity yet not at all lean or over-light. The wine is fermented in stainless and there is no malolactic fermentation. Mimolette – a Gouda style cow’s milk cheese made in Lille, on France’s border with Belgium. It was originally made by the request of Louis XIV, who wanted a French cheese to resemble Edam.
Château Barraud La Montagne Saint-Emilion Bordeaux 2005 – Medium bodied Bordeaux with red fruit notes and creamy elements, along with hints of vanilla and fleshy red berries. The finish shows a little bit of spice that cleans the palate… a Merlot dominant wine with cabernet second. Morbier – aromatic cow’s milk cheese from Franche-Comté with a dark vein of vegetable ash streaking through the middle. Remarkable flavor and a wonderful, nutty aftertaste.
Domaine Paul Autard Cotes du Rhone 2009 – This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache – 15% Syrah – 15% Counoise. This Rhone presents itself as bright and vibrant – which nicely expresses the exceptionally hot 2009. The wine has bright fruit flavors that burst with blackberry and plum fruits, then finish with well balanced grip. Fourme D’Ambert – traditional blue cheese from the Auvergne region that dates back to Roman times. Inoculated with Penicillium roqueforti spores and aged in caves for at least 28 days. At weekly intervals, the cheese is injected with a sweet white wine.