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A guide to French Wine and Cheese

A guide to French Wine and Cheese

It may be thousands of miles away, but you can still follow July’s Tour de France with your taste buds thanks to our guide to the regional cheese and food specialties en route, complete with wine matches. No lycra required!

  1. After the Grand Départ from Belgium, we call into the Champagne region where it would be rude not to partake in a glass of two of Orban Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut NV. Its wild berry aromas and powerful palate are a good match for Pierre Robert, a decadent triple-cream cheese that’s buttery and smooth when young, ageing to tangy. Main course: oysters – a must with Champagne!
  2. In the Vosges foothills of Alsace we find the Munster Weiss, it's pungent aroma countered by a smooth, soft texture. Enjoy it with the Provençale rosé Embruns Sable de Camargue, which boasts a pale pink hue, a nose full of berries and fruit, and a balanced sweet-sour palate. Main course: Choucroute, braised cabbage, sausages and cured meats.

  3. Climbing into the mountains of Jura we’re rewarded with plenty of local cheese varieties and rare wines to boot. Here, Comté is king with its nutty, alpine-herb flavours. Nibble on a slice with a  vibrant, elegant Burgundy white, Caves de Lugny Mâcon-Villages. Main course: Joues de Boeuf, beef cheek poached with egg and red wine.

  4. We hit Bordeaux, famous for its penicillin born blue vein cheeses, so let’s enjoy some Blue d’Auvergne, its assertive spicy, herbaceous flavour is the perfect foil for the garnet red and well-rounded Croix de Marsan Bordeaux. Main course: Entrecôte à la Bordelaise, rib steak seared in a red wine sauce.

  5. In the far-flung southwest, we find some lesser known but beautiful wines such as the Route de Sud Merlot–aromatic and bursting with ripe fruit flavour and a hint of spice. It’s excellent with the traditional Basque sheep milk cheeses, a favourite being the supple-textured, nutty and herbal Ossau-Iraty. Main course: Piperade, omelette with tomatoes and peppers.

  6. Across in one of France’s most famous wine regions, the Southern  Rhône, where we’ll sip on a juicy, spicy Leon Perdigal Côtes du Rhône, which pairs nicely to the delicate sweet-sour tang of petite Saint Marcellin. Main course: Bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish stew.

  7. Climbing into the French Alps we must pick up some Tomme de Savoie – a semi-hard cheese with grassy, mushroom flavours. We’ll pair it with 'Le Vie en Rose', from one of the oldest wine estates in France, Chateau Roubine Cotes de Provence.  Main course: Tartifeltte, thinly sliced potatoes sautéed with bacon and onion, and baked with cream.

  8. Finally, to celebrate crossing the finish line on Champs-Élysées, we’ll slice into an oozy Brie de Meaux and pop the cork on a bottle of Monmousseau Brut Etoile NV from the nearby Loire Valley. Main course: Steak Frites, at a bijou bistro.