Summer is the time of year to relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy the bounty of mother nature. Meals become simpler, fresher, and are often taken outside. The French seem to have a natural way of embracing this carefree state of mind and celebrate summer with picnic like settings in the garden. I channeled my inner French and created summer-inspired French cheese and wine pairings, picnic style.
This month the French Winophiles are writing about French wine and cheese. We will be chatting about it on Twitter Saturday, June 15, 2019, at 11:00 am ET. Don’t miss my fellow French Winophiles’ cheese and wine ideas; links are at the bottom of this post.
I started my French cheese and wine pairings with three French wines. A Rosé from the Côtes-du-Rhône, a Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, and a Gamay from Beaujolais. I chose these wines for their lighter style and freshness.
Wine Tasting Notes
2018 Domaine de Châteaumar, Rosé, Côtes du Rhone, AOP
13% abv | $15.99 | 90% Grenache 10% Mourvedre
The estate is located 9 km from Orange in the heart of the AOP Côte du Rhone. Farming is completely sustainable, and the soils are stony clay-limestone. Grapes are hand-harvested, selected, and sorted. Five months of aging in stainless steel tanks.
Pale salmon in color with medium body and medium(-) acidity. On the palate notes of stone fruit; peaches and plums with a nice lingering minerality.
2017 Aimé Boucher Sancerre, Loire Valley, AOP
12% abv | $22.99 | 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Aimé Boucher was sold to Maison Bougrier in the 1980s. The Bougrier family has been making wine in the Loire Valley since the 1880s. Noël Bougrier, fifth generation, and his son and daughter, Nicolas and Sophie, sixth generation are currently at the helm.
The vineyard soils are silex stones. The wine was aged on its lees in stainless steel vats.
Pale straw in color with medium(-) body and medium acidity. On the palate fresh acidity with citrus and mineral notes.
2017 Jean-Paul Thévenet Beaujolais, Morgon
13% abv | $34.99 | 100% Gamay
Jean-Paul is a third generation winemaker at his family estate in Morgon. Biodynamic farming methodology is practiced including; aeration of the soil, herbal infusions, natural composts, cover crops and planting with the lunar calendar. The soils are decomposed granite and sand. The wine is made from two vineyard parcels, one with 45 year-old vines and the other 110 year-old vines. The grapes are manually harvested, aged for 6-8 months in 5-7 year-old oak Burgundian barrels with no fining or filtration.
Medium(-) purple to ruby in color. Cloudy. Medium body with medium(-) tannins and acidity. On the palate, raspberries, violet, potting soil, and minerality.
Cheese Tasting Notes
I selected five different kinds of cheese with different milk, age, texture, and flavor notes keeping in mind similar or compatible characteristics in the wines.
Fresh Goat Cheese – France – goat milk – tart and citrusy with a nice creaminess
Greek Feta – Greece – sheep & goat milk – medium tanginess with a creamy mouthfeel and a hint of saltiness
Saint André – Normandy France – cow milk – triple cream cheese with 70% butterfat – creamy with a tart accent
Morbier – Jura France – cow milk – semi-soft with a layer of vegetable ash – aged for 2-4 months – fruity notes, barnyard, grass, citrus, and a nutty flavor
Cumberland Tomme – Tennessee – cow milk – raw firm – aged 75-90 days – inspired by the Tomme de Savoie – flavorful with notes of grass, floral, and mushrooms
My Summer-Inspired French wine and cheese pairings
A summer-inspired cheese board makes for a sensory feast. The rich creaminess of the cheeses, tart to sweet fruit flavors, sweet to acidic tomatoes, cooling fresh cucumbers, and flavor-packed fresh herbs paired with three different French wines
Sancerre – Regional Matches & Similar Flavors and Characteristics
Sancerre and goat cheese are a classic match of regional products produce in the Loire Valley. The fresh acidity in the wine is matched with the young, tart, citrusy flavors in the goat cheese.
The fresh lightness of the Sancerre also matches the fresh, cool flavor of the cucumbers, and the yogurt sauce balances the wine’s acidity.
The acidity of the tomatoes is matched with similar acidity in the wine.
Rhône Rosé – Similar Flavors & Contrasting Characteristics
The watermelon and Feta cheese salad brought out sweet watermelon flavors I hadn’t even detected in the Rhône Rosé. The slight saltiness in the Feta was balanced with the acidity in the Rosé. The peach slices matched both the tartness and stone fruit elements in the wine.
The rich St. André triple cream cheese was contrasted nicely with the acidity and tannins in the Rosé.
Beaujolais – Similar Flavor Intensity & Weight
The Beaujolais has a medium body and flavor intensity. It paired well with the similar flavor intensity and weight found in the St. André, Tomme, and Morbier. The Beaujolais also has an earthy element that was met in the Tomme. The Morbier brought out the fruitiness in the Beaujolais.
The blueberries and raspberries also brighten the fruit flavors found in the Beaujolais.
A summer-inspired cheese board paired with French wines is not only a feast for the senses but a summer picnic for two or more!
More from the French Winophiles on French cheese and wine~
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla offers us Pretty in Pink: Raclette de Savoie Polenta, Salmon, & Le Cocagne Gris Rosé #Winophiles #Sponsored
- Lynn of Savor The Harvest brings us “Cheese and Loire Wine Pairing with Les Vignerons du Vendômois #winophiles”
- Pinny over Chinese Food And Wine Pairings asks us to Say Je t’aime to a Bordeaux, a Loire Valley Rosé and an assortment of French Cheese #Winophiles
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles gives us A Loire rosé, a Bordeaux from Pommerol and…..cheese #winophiles
- Wendy of A Day In The Life On A Farm shares Life’s Simple Pleasures; Onion Cheese Soup and a Glass of Rosé
- Jane of Always Ravenous shares Summer Inspired French Cheese and Wine Pairings
- David of Cooking Chat offer tips for Picking Cheese to Serve with French Wine
- Jeff of FoodWineClick says we should Do as the French: Serve The Cheese After the Meal
- Liz of What’s In That Bottle? says Smile – C’est Fromage #Winophiles
- Susannah of Avvinare brings us Vin Jaune and Comte-A Perfect Combination
- Cathie of Side Hustle Wino presents Wine and Cheese, the Heart and Soul of France
- Gwendolyn the Wine Predator asks Did Someone Say French Wine and Gourmet Grilled Cheese?
- Penny of Adventures of a Carry-on pairs Riesling and Goat Cheese, A Match Made in Heaven
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass suggests we Try White Bordeaux and Goat Cheese Appetizer When Relaxing Outdoors
- Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen delivers 3 Must Try French Cheese & Alcohol Pairings
- Cindy of Grape Experiences serves up Wines from Alsace and Cheeses for Pairing
- Payal of Keep The Peas shares French #Wine(ophiles) and Cheese
- Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog it’s French Grilled Cheese and Drappier Rose de Saignée Champagne