Those of you who follow us on social media may have spotted the delicious wine pairing suggestions we have been sharing in recent months from Heritage Wines.
Its time we did a proper job of introducing Katie Goodchild who founded this Suffolk-based independent wine merchant last year. Having worked for Majestic Wine for several years, Katie created Heritage Wines to specialise in English and Welsh wines. She handpicks every bottle offered in their collection which you can find at www.heritagewinesuk.co.uk for local and nationwide delivery.
Not only is Katie passionate about this country's growing wine industry, she is an enthusiastic foodie with a particular soft spot for cheese - the perfect person to bring us wine pairing suggestions for the Slate wall of cheese!
We recently caught up with Katie to find out more about her love of wine and cheese, and how she goes about finding a great match.
Katie, how did you get into the world of wine?
After university I moved into hospitality and started working for Marco Pierre White. This is when I was first introduced to good wine and food, and it was an Australian Pinot Noir and an Italian Fiano that peeked my interest in wine. I decided to move on from Marco's and focus my career on wine with a move to Majestic Wine.
Why did you decide to focus on English wines in your new business?
Honestly, my initial thought was to start a wine company selling French wines but I saw an opportunity in the market - a lack of English wine specialists - and decided this would be a great place to start. My aim is to become a specialist, build a company and a reputation, so that when the English wine market takes off I'm there and ready.
What excites you most about English wine at the moment?
England is only now emerging as a wine producing country, producers are still discovering what grapes grow well and where they are best suited to produce great wine. Because of that we have a lot of new winemakers who are learning as they go and making 'experimental wines'. Unlike the red wines of Bordeaux or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, you don't quite know what you're going to get from English wine and that's exciting!
How much do you love cheese and do you have a favourite?
I think you probably know my favourite, Comté, I buy it every time I come into Slate! I'm a huge Francophile, having been visiting France for 15 years now and indulging in everything French along the way. Comte is the one cheese I buy religiously and am insistent that it must be the 'best'. If it's aged that's even better.
How do you approach finding a wine and cheese match?
I start by researching the cheese - the style of cheese, its texture, age and flavour profiles. Flavours are the most important factor to me - what flavours in the cheese will marry well with flavours in the wine? How delicate or flavoursome is the cheese, and how will this affect the wine? The texture is also equally important. A mouth-coating cheese, such as Camembert or Brie, will benefit from the high acidity and freshness of a sparkling and/or white wine that has had little oak contact.
What are you enjoying most about running your own wine business?
I love having total authority and freedom over everything - the wines I choose to sell (and I only sell the wines I would truly buy myself), the people I work with including collaborations with small businesses such as Slate, and, I'm excited about what the future has to hold.