RECIPES

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

FRENCH #WINE(OPHILES) AND CHEESE


The poetic thing about time is that it is an endless story that continues to be written. The poetic thing about human evolution is that it is but an endless chapter in that story. Food, water, and war are inherent to the story of human evolution. While war through the ages has greatly influenced water and changed regional foods throughout the world, the industrial revolution and resulting modernisation are recent events. Before then, food was a perishable commodity eaten locally, not transported thousands of miles. The people of then were, by necessity, proponents of "what grows together, goes together". The original locavores!

This is best exemplified by the French who absolutely love to classify and bracket everything including their honey, chickens, onions, walnuts, wine, cheese, and more, to emphasize the importance of the sense of place, or terroir. They believe that the best representation of a certain food or drink comes from it's place of origin. Having grown up with very seasonal and very local Indian ingredients I'm inclined to agree with that concept. Historically in wine-making areas including France, wine was the preferred beverage because it was cleaner than water and a low ABV inconsequential quaff. None of this well extracted 13-14+% fancy stuff of now. And each region - in our case French - had its own wine and food, because people used ingredients that were available where they lived. With time, water became cleaner and potable, grape growing and vinification evolved, and so did people's tastes. By the time the French obsession love for classification came about, the low ABV wines of history were long gone and regional wine trends were well established. Many foods including cheese, though, continued to be made the old-fashioned way and so, for example, since receiving AOC status, Mont d'Or or Comté aren't so unless made in Franche-Comté from the milk of Montbéliarde cows and packaged according to tradition. And really, there's no argument that Harbison from New Jersey, USA is simply not Mont d'Or no matter what anyone says. And "Chablis" from CA and Chablis from Chablis... we won't even go there!

This month the French Winophiles are focusing on French wine and cheese. The easiest - or perhaps most nuanced - pairing, and around our house cheese trays are their own food group. Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog has hosted this one, and I'd recommend you don't miss it! 

CH. LABÉGORCE ZÉDÉ, MARGAUX, 2007

2007 was one of the last vintages of this label which ceased to exist in 2009 when it was rolled into the Labégorce estate. In 2019 it definitely needed a good 1+ hours of decanting, but after that the beautiful deep-ruby-with-hints-of-garnet wine had aromas of dried roses,  licorice, plum, tobacco, dried mint, cigar, medicinal notes, and a decidedly savoury/meaty finish. Medium bodied overall, with balanced tannins and a medium finish. Most definitely a wine for food! Overall this wine was a delight, and we're glad we've got one bottle left.

13.5% abv, SRP $26-$30.

THE FOOD: We paired the wine with a cheese tray with an assortment of French cheeses (+ a few bits and bobs of other EU cheeses) and meats, plus the usual garnishes. A versatile and successful pairing in all ways and we especially loved the savouriness of the meat with the meaty-barnyard notes of the wine!

Like turmeric which only exists in two forms: dried and fresh, cheese exists in one form: coagulated milk from an animal. But unlike turmeric which does not pair well with wine, cheese and wine uplift each other and in fact, seem to be made for each other. So enjoy!

See what sage insights my fellow #winophiles are sharing about French wine and cheese:


9 comments:

  1. As always such beautiful and educational writing. I always find your posts such a joy to read. Thank you for the perspective on the original "locavores" and a reminder about the abv changes in wines. That made me stop and think a bit!

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    1. Aw thank you Robin, I'm glad you enjoyed reading my short-ish post!

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  2. Very beautiful platter! I totally see this Margaux pairing well with the cheeses, the salami, olives and beans. I don't really see a lot of beans on a cheese platter before. It totally makes sense to have beans on a platter for people who do consume milk products!

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    1. Thank you Pinny, yes we love these gigantes beans on a cheese tray!

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  3. Thoroughly enjoyable article Payal! It got me thinking what I have at my fingertips and how I've seen it change a bit since living in France. Slowly western ways are infiltrating with the amount of place of origin items shrinking on shelves unless you go to a specific specialty store. But those are threatened by large, corporate, cheaper options and kids that don't want to follow in their parents footsteps. I'm glad many French are obsessed with classifying place or origin!

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  4. A great read ( I love your introduction) and a great looking cheese board Payal! Cheers

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  5. Play Bazaar jamo liko pani joman hinga hani dopara hona chino ka tiko rey pa mana taka ra puni ma took hore gana ma ara te kani puni Satta King hogo to maki hoki moi xusio ka xi pona honi.

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  7. The Southern part of Albania offers you a variety of dishes. The region makes the famed sheep yogurt - so thick it must be cut with a knife. Some typical entrees served in the regions around Gjirokastra and Saranda are meat and cheese pies, and rich soups featuring lemon and rice, among other things.

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