Sparkling wine or Champagne paired with cheese might not sound natural. You might think, cheese goes best with red wine. If I tell you that sparkling wine or Champagne can be a very good companion with cheese, would you believe me? You should because it’s true!
During my time at work and home, I have the opportunity to taste many Champagnes and sparkling wines and pair them with cheese. I found and still find it much more exciting than pairing them with red or white wine.
Depending on the style of your bubbles, you will have the possibility to pair it. I am not telling you that every cheese will go well, but some will. For example, goats cheese is one of the perfect pairings. Fresh goats cheese goes very well with pink or fruity bubbles. Mild and creamy cow cheeses go very well with lively bubbles and hard cheeses with yeasty and rich bubbles. But one of my tips is to stay with mild flavoured cheeses!
Here are some of my sparkling, Champagne & cheese pairings:
Graham Beck / Rachel
Graham Beck Brut NV is a sparkling wine from Robertson in South Africa. Blended with Pinot Noir & Chardonnay and made in a traditional method. It has fine and elegant bubbles, a very nice balance between freshness and roundness. The palate offers fresh fruit such as apple (pink lady) and a gentle lime touch with a nutty, brioche and creamy finish. The length is perfect to support the cheese that I pair with it.
Rachel from Somerset in England is a vegetarian goats cheese with a washed rind, which is pretty unusual for a goats cheese! Hard and crumbly on the outside. On the palate, it is mild, creamy with a milky, nutty & zesty flavour in the centre. Most of the crust on hard cheeses do not have pleasant flavour, but Rachel with the rind is a new experience, the acidity of the wine with the creaminess of the cheese, the yeastiness of the sparkling wine with the earthiness of the natural rind, it is something not to miss!
Crémant de Loire ‘Chanceny’ Rose / Cabri d’Ici
Chanceny is situated in Saumur, Loire Valley. The use of Pinot Noir is very common for the production of sparkling wine and Champagne, but in Saumur, they made it differently; Cabernet Franc is the grape variety that is used. Cabernet Franc which is usually used in red wine gives a tannin, earthiness and quite full-bodied wine. Chanceny is different, it has a light pink colour, the bubbles are small and fine with a lively attack. On the nose aromas of fresh red berries, raspberries and cranberries are all around. Well-balanced in the mouth, this sparkling wine is enhanced by a fresh but subtle finish.
Cabri d’Ici, from Tourraine in Loire Valley, is a raw goats cheese with a lightly ash-crust. It is a mild savoury cheese when fresh, harder and stronger when older. It is only produced by the Family Beillevaire.
I choose to pair it in its early age. The crust is delicate, thin and fine. The centre is light, also delicate, creamy and zesty. It melts on your tongue, the red berries and acidity of the Crémant with the fresh taste of raw goats milk, compliments the creaminess and delicate cheese. There is a synergy with these two.
Billecart-Salmon Champagne / Brillat Savarin
Billecart-Salmon is produced in Mareuil-sur-Ay.The Brut Réserve is a light, fine and harmonious Champagne. Its blend is Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier from three different years, sourced from the best sites in the Champagne region. It has slow rising bubbles, its maturity incorporates floral notes and aromas of fresh fruit and ripe pears. Its full and accurate flavour combines with a fine freshness and a rich bouquet.
Brillat-Savarin is produced all year round in Burgundy and Normandy. It is a triple cream Brie that is luscious, creamy and faintly sour. The roundness and little acidity of Billecart will wipe the fattiness of the cheese on the palate and the fruitiness of this Champagne will enhance the creaminess of the cheese. It is one outstanding pairing!!