A trip across The Channel may be tricky at the moment but enjoying a glass of Domaine du Grand Mayne wine can bring flavours of their French vineyard to your cheese board. Recently I was delighted to receive a mixed case of Grand Mayne wine to enjoy with some British favourites from our Slate wall of cheese.
Domaine du Grand Mayne is situated in south-west France in the Côtes de Duras region between Bergerac and St Emillion. Covering around thirty-four hectares, the vineyard is situated on mixed soil of clay and limestone and planted with predominantly Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Each year local winemaker Mathieu Crosnier and his team produce five different wines across red, white and rosé.
Diving into the case, I started with two white wines, Sauvignon Blanc 2019 and Reserve Sauvignon Semillion 2017, and immediately headed towards our selection of goat's cheeses. I tried the younger Sauvignon with a trio of fresh goat's cheese: Ticklemore, Golden Cross and Dorstone. It was the dense creaminess and rich flavour of the Dorstone that gave the most delicious match in terms of both flavour and texture.
The crispness of this wine cut through the velvety Dorstone as it coated my mouth, and I found notes of elderflower that sat well on top Dorstone's combination of herby, yeasty flavours. Dorstone is made by Neal's Yard Creamery in Herefordshire. An exquisite turret-shaped cheese, it is coated in edible ash - a traditional French technique to create ideal conditions for desired mould growth and rind formation.
The mellow notes of the older Reserve Sauvignon were lost in the intense mousiness of Dorstone. I found this oak-aged wine was better suited to a semi-firm goat's cheese called Rachel. Made by Whitelake Cheese in Somerset, Rachel is washed in brine as it matures and develops a beautiful rounded earthiness. With residual sweetness, its lingering flavour perfectly complemented the vanilla notes of the wine. I also enjoyed the Reserve Sauvignon with Suffolk favourite Baron Bigod. The creaminess of this bloomy brie-style cheese is balanced by yoghurty acidity towards its centre particularly when young, and so it paired well with the wine's gentle flavours.
Moving on to the red wines, Merlot Cabernet 2017 and Reserve Merlot Cabernet 2017, I looked for cheeses of greater strength and depth. Interestingly it was the younger Merlot I enjoyed with a classic blue, Cropwell Bishop Stilton. This delectable cheese is velvety soft and deeply creamy having been made in Nottinghamshire using the milk of cows that graze the rich pastures of the Peak District. The tannins in the wine perfectly contrasted this creaminess and melt-in-the-mouth texture. The wine's berry flavours also worked well with the gentle pepperiness of the Stilton's intricate blue veins.
With the Reserve Merlot Cabernet I found Westcombe Cheddar to be a wonderful combination. Made by Westcombe Dairy near Shepton Mallet in Somerset and matured for around twelve months, this cheese bursts with grassy aromas. Savoury and herbaceous in taste, there is faint caramel sweetness at the finish which was enhanced by bright cherry flavours in the wine. Both the wine and cheese were best enjoyed well warmed to room temperature so they expressed their rich flavours.
Many thanks to Grand Mayne for the opportunity to explore their range of delicious wines and discover some tempting pairing suggestions from the world of British artisan cheese.