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Sauternes and Cheese

 

If you're planning to serve cheese this Christmas pair it with Bordelaise liquid gold, otherwise known as Sauternes.

What makes these combinations so special is their balletic balance. There is sweetness, yes, but it is balanced by underlying acidity that adds a still juicy, but faintly citric edge — an edge that much of the time you don't even notice.

How to serve Sauternes

At 11-12 degrees, especially on a hot Australian summer day, your Sauternes should be cool, but not so chilled as to mask or blunt the flavour and character of the wine. A half to one hour in the fridge should get your Sauternes to the right temperature .

How to pair Sauternes

The sweetness of Sauternes is an excellent foil for the sharpness, pungency and savoury flavours of a number of famous and strongly-flavoured cheeses.

Blue Cheese — Roquefort or Stilton

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Port and Stilton is a classic pairing, but many rank Sauternes and Stilton even higher. The French often match Sauternes and Roquefort, partly because the two regions are geographically quite close, It is a combination often served in the Sauternes region itself. Sauternes also works well with Danish Blue, Gorgonzola Piccante and other sharp-flavoured blues. The creamier, sweeter blues offer a different, less dramatic combination.

Serve your Roquefort or Stilton (or any blue) at 20 degrees.

Surface-ripened cheeses

Washed rind cheeses — Port Salut, Red Square and many others… Sauternes balances the pungency of these cheeses, especially if they (the cheeses) are showing developed, aged characters.

Serve washed rind cheeses of varying age with Sauternes.

Hard sheep's milk cheeses

Manchego and Wine

Spanish Manchego and Italian Pecorino (and others) have a salty edge that can work well with Sauternes. Relative extremes in wine and food can often create memorable taste experiences.

Sauternes with Brie, Camembert, soft cow's milk cheeses; young goat's milk cheese, ashed or otherwise.

Try these combinations for yourself — make your own discoveries.

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