Recently I was luckily enough to visit Le Gavroche with a group of
friends that share my love of trying good food, and wine, and also seeing how they react with each other. We went for the set-lunch deal and what good value that was; my only slight regret was being seduced by the huge cheese trolley, why? because I was thinking wine pairing with cheese and had only dry wines in front of me.
We had a choice of three desserts as part of our fixed-price lunch deal, which also came with a selection of wines, the choices being, the cheese trolley, the ice cream and sorbet trolley, and the rhubarb soufflé; thankfully I got to try the soufflé, thanks Jeremy, so am saving up to go back!
So what do you do when you have 30 plus cheese to choose from and just one wine, the good news is the salt factor, but then there is the umami, the fattiness, the different flavour intensities. So the answer is keep it simple and stick to the basic principles of wine pairing with all food styles …
I am picking a lovely Hampshire cheese, Lyburn Farmhouse Old Winchester cheese, which is described by the cheesmakers as ‘a cheese that is clearly not a cheddar, but not a typical gouda, you could argue it is somewhere between the two. This we have achieved, by small changes to the make and now maturing the cheeses on to 8/9 months. This cheese still has an element of creaminess to it with a subtle nuttiness in flavour, with a little scrunch closer to the rind.’
This cheese can go with a huge array of wines, as long as you have the strong flavour to match, I would also go for a wine with a decent level of acidity to cut through the creaminess. So I am going for one of my favourites from New Zealand, Millton Vineyard Te Arai Chenin Blanc, this wine usually has off-dry levels of residual sugar, balanced with lovely high levels of acidity. One with a bit of age to it would be perfect as it develops more intense honey and waxy notes, so go for the oldest vintage you can find.