Cheese and Rosé Wines

Our latest class at the Cheese School of San Francisco, pairing nine cheeses with four rosé wines, was taught by Kirstin Jackson of It’s Not You, It’s Brie and Solano Cellars fame.

Cheese plate to pair with rosé wines
The “Cheese and Rosé Wines” cheese plate

Starting at 12 o’clock and going around clockwise (my favorites are marked with an asterisk):

  1. Brillat-Savarin*
  2. La Tur
  3. Selles-sur-Cher
  4. Sally Jackson Goat
  5. Fleur du Maquis
  6. Comté
  7. Abbaye de Belloc*
  8. Everona Farm Piedmont
  9. Manchego

One of the things I sometimes forget is that cheese, like wine, is often best served at room temperature (as opposed to fridge temperature). The Brillat-Savarin really stood out in this regard. It was maybe a little over ripe, but at room temp it had the airy consistency of whipped cream, strong notes of butter, and a hint of lemon. The class could have started and ended right there.

La Tur and Selles-sur-Cher were also quite good. These are the cheeses of Stephanie’s youth in France, and ones she’d very much like to replicate with her crottin experiments. To my surprise, Sally Jackson Goat, wrapped in grape leaves, did not wow me like her Sheep cheese did in Leaf-Wrapped Lovelies. The herb crusted Fleur du Maquis was nice, worth trying if you get the chance—and make sure to eat the rind!

I love mountain cheeses like Comté, Guyère, and Emmentaler so much that if I could take Alpine Cheese and Alsace Wine over again, I would. But the Comté didn’t grab me this time. Instead it was the Abbaye de Belloc, a Basque sheep’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees that really caught my attention.

And what about the wines? We started with a sparkling wine that I really liked, Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rosé. We also paired the cheeses with the exotic-sounding Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina, Quivira Grenache Rosé, and Colle Stefano Rosato as we worked our way around the plate. A class like this could only have been better if we had been sitting outside, on a Saturday, in Provence.


jackie g

How was that Txakolina? The rose ones I’ve had were disappointingly green-tasting. Also, since pairing rose with cheese is one of those great mysteries, what do you think was the most complementary pairing?

The Txakolina was nice. It had the slightest effervescence, and I felt like it had the most discernible flavors of the bunch, sour cherry came through for me. It paired well with the Brillat, but I think that had more to do with the cheese’s melty texture and high fat content than anything else. In general, I felt the rosé wines paired better with the softer cheeses, but that might have had more to do with the state of my taste buds after tasting multiple cheese and wines.

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