Our September Cheesemonger's Special Selection is a classic trio of British artisan cheese, offering balance and also variety across milks, textures and cheese styles. Given the very different characteristics of each cheese, Katie our wine partner at Heritage Wines, has pairing suggestions for each one to best enhance its unique qualities.
Wine suggestions for Golden Cross
With her love of Alpine cheeses, Katie can sometimes be a little reticent about goat's cheese but we are slowly converting her one beautiful fresh log at a time! Read on to discover her wine matches for Golden Cross made by Kevin and Alison Blunt on their family farm in East Sussex.
"A goat's cheese and wine pairing you ask. Sauvignon Blanc, of course. Together they work a treat, so much so we often overlook other grape varieties. I’ve been guilty of this - it's been my recommendation for other Slate x Heritage Wines pairings. But goat's cheese has a wonderful ability to pair with many wines: white, rosé, red and sparkling. You can even go sweet and fortified.
In the late September sunshine, enjoy Golden Cross with a Provence rosé or Pouilly Fumé. Both wines work excellently with the cheese’s ash coating.
Or welcome in darker evenings with an autumnal pairing. A dinner of roasted butternut squash, spinach and goats cheese is fantastic with Pinot Noir. Choose something light and fruity - England, Oregon and Alsace Pinot Noir wines would work. Avoid New Zealand and the likes where tannins are more prominent and would clash with the creamy texture of the goat's cheese.
I particularly enjoyed Ancre Hill Estates Pinot Noir 2018 with Golden Cross. Notes of red cherry, herbal tea, spice and vanilla have developed from a brief period of ageing in stainless steel vats and oak barrels. At only 10% this is a delicate but equally complex wine. Heritage Wines, £24."
Wine suggestions for Vintage Gouda
Moving on to the Vintage Gouda from the Cornish Gouda Company made on their sustainably run dairy farm on the south Cornish coast and matured for two years. As Gouda matures over months, and in this case years, its flavour profile changes and so do Katie's preferred wine matches.
"Pinot Gris is a great match for young Gouda, but as Gouda matures and a crunchy texture forms from protein crystals, along with notes of caramel, a sweeter wine can be delicious.
Vintage Cornish Gouda fills your mouth with delightful notes of fudgy caramel, complete with a buttery finish. For this I have chosen a 2006 dessert wine made from 100% botrytis-affected Riesling grapes. Notes of honey and marmalade complement the cheese, whilst ripe stone fruits liven up the match. The pairing is sumptuous enough to be enjoyed simply as it is, after your main meal (and before dessert). Botrytis, also known as Noble Rot, is a type of fungus that shrivels grapes and causes their flavours to concentrate over a prolonged period spent hanging on vines. These wines are also noticeably sweet."
Wine suggestions for Harrogate Blue
And lastly Katie particularly enjoyed Harrogate Blue from Shepherd's Purse in Yorkshire.
"Sweeter style wines are a great match for the saltiness found in blue cheese. How sweet depends on the flavour and texture of the cheese.
Harrogate Blue is a luxurious golden cheese intricately veined with blue mould. Matured for 10 weeks, the aroma and flavour are mellow. Whilst subtle it is a wonderfully complex cheese with notes of butter and malt - I got digestive biscuits but maybe that’s just me! The cheese then reveals a savoury/earthy character of mushroom and pepper, ending on a creamy high.
The texture of Harrogate Blue is light with a noticeable acidity, and it is on this I have based my wine pairings. A lighter style of cheese is ideal with a dessert wine of higher acidity and, therefore, one that is less cloying. A great example is Tokaji. A centuries-old sweet wine from Hungary which can handle 600g (per litre) of residual sugar and still not taste too sweet.
Another great example is a Late Harvest wine from England’s newly emerged wine region of Worcestershire. Late Harvest is the style of dessert wine here. Compared to Tokaji, which has been affected by Noble Rot, the flavours are less concentrated with notes of fresh orange, fig and marmalade, rather than honey and beeswax notes found in Tokaji. Heritage Wines £24"