An English Camembert good enough to make a Frenchman weep it certainly is! Acclaimed as the 'best Camembert in the world' by French chef Raymond Blanc, Tunworth deserves a sparkling wine. Intensely creamy and a little salty, its flavour profile is vegetal with almost truffle notes, sometimes with a hint of roasted nuts.
Chardonnay dominant sparkling wine with a little age will pair perfectly. Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blancs 2015 is ideal; it’s lean acidity balances the salty cheese and the delicate bubbles cut through Tunworth’s creamy texture. Notes of fresh and baked apple are complementary to the cheese’s savoury flavours.
Grapes for Chapel Down’s Blanc de Blancs come from its Kit’s Coty Vineyard in Kent, which has been described as England’s first premier cru site. Harvested by hand in October 2015, this refined sparkling wine has undergone malolactic fermentation and 11% of the blend is matured in barrel before being left to age on its lees for four years. The wine shows typical aromas of cool climate Blanc de Blancs: green apple and freshly baked bread. The palate is fresh yet shows development from maturation on lees and has a toasty character from partial barrel fermentation which leads to a savoury finish with fine, persistent bubbles.
Rich and buttery Ashcombe is a great partner to Bolney Wine Estate Pinot Noir 2019. There is also a savouriness to it, from the smoky notes of ash to hints of mushroom around the rind, both a wonderful contrast to the red berry flavours found in the wine and complimentary to its earthy notes.
The natural high acidity in English reds can sometimes be a barrier when paired with cheese, but here it works almost as a palate cleanser to Ashcombe’s supple texture. Drink slightly cooler than room temperature and enjoy with classic French saucisson.
Bolney Wine Estate Pinot Noir is an excellent example of cool climate Pinot Noir. Grapes were hand-picked from Bolney and Pookchurch vineyards in Sussex, crushed and fermented on their skins for around seven days. Fermentation took place in small 600 litre tanks, followed by malolactic fermentation to soften the wine’s acidity. The wine has soft tannins, with strawberry, plum and red cherry flavours on the palate, complemented by leather, spice and earthy notes.
The veining in Shropshire Blue has a touch of bitterness that can be deliciously offset by a sweeter wine, and its flavours of caramel and butter can also be a great match to similar flavours found in a wine. It is enjoyable with Stopham Estate Pinot Gris 2018, a wine that is off-dry rather than sweet and has been lees aged resulting in a textual mouthfeel. Enjoy with water biscuits, crunchy walnuts and refreshing pears for an indulgent lunch.
At Stopham Estate, vineyard owner Simon practices sustainable farming meaning grapes are grown and tendered for organically and are picked by hand at harvest. The grapes were pressed directly on entering the winery and were fermented in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation was stopped prematurely to obtain the perfect level of sweetness, and the wine was later stored on the fine lees (dead yeast cells) until early summer. The resulting wine is off-dry with aromatic peach and pear fruit, and a viscous finish.