This month’s #winophiles is all about French wine and cheese. Martin Redmond of Enofylzwineblog, our host, posted a preview about the topic here. While some lucky few received samples, I bought my wine and cheese from local purveyors and had the occasion to speak to the lovely Hortense Bernard of Millesima USA. I used to do some work for Hortense – of Millesima Blog Award fame – and hadn’t spoken with her in years. It was good to catch up. I was reminded that I want to start a collection, buying from her store, for my son with wines from the year of his birth and every year after. He will be five this fall so I have a lot of catching up to do.
Back to the topic and my post. I decided to write about Vin Jaune because I so rarely get to taste wines from the Jura. Additionally, I have more or less stopped eating cheese for health reasons but this seemed like a perfect way to fall off the wagon for a moment. Lastly, I am taking the French Wine Scholar exam next week and have been madly studying for it. The stars aligned and my pairing presented itself in an instant: Vin Jaune and Comté. What grows together, goes together as the saying goes.
Jura wines are hard to find in the USA. This mountainous region lies between Burgundy and Switzerland. The region is called the Franche – Comté. Soils are shale, clay and limestone and are very old. The climate is continental with alpine influences. There witness a lot of seasonal and diurnal temperature changes. There are only five authorized grape varieties in this region, among them Savagnin Blanc from which the wine I tasted is made. Savagnin has a nutty flavor which is highlighted thanks to the oxidative process the grape undergoes to produce Vin Jaune. The wine tastes very much like sherry and called out for nuts as well as the cheese I paired it with.
Specifically this wine hails from Arbois. Arbois is an AOC which translates as fertile land and comes from two Celtic words. It was one of the first wines to receive an AOC in 1936 thanks to the efforts of a Jura resident Alexis Arbin. Arbin was responsible for promoting the concept of the certificate of origin in wines.
Vin Jaune has a long history. It was first produced in the Château-Chalon but can also be produced in Arbois, L’Étoile and Côtes du Jura AOCs. This wine is allowed to age in barrels for at least six years and three months. A film develops over the wine and the complexity that ensues is remarkable. Vin Jaune is served in a 620 ml bottle. This is to show that ever year, a portion of the harvest, gets dispersed into the air. The bottle is called a Clavelin. It received official status in 1993.
The cheese I chose was Comté. It is both fruity and nutty and semi-hard. It was a pleasure pairing the two but I thought the wine would have been perfect with almonds as well., much like sherry. The cheese is from unpasteurized milk and has the highest production numbers of all French cheese. Pinny Tim at Chinese Food and Wine Pairing has a great description of Comté on her site in her post.
The website cheese.com had this to say about Comté: “Comté was one of the first few kinds of cheese to receive an AOC (Appellation d’origine controlee) status in 1958. Its ability to melt easily means Comté goes well with many recipes right from fondues to Croque Monsieur. The cheese pairs well with Rhone reds, a Palo Cortado or off-dry Amontillado.”
I couldn’t agree more which is why the Vin Jaune is such a perfect pairing. I also think it’s interesting that both Arbois and Comté were early adaptors in their categories of denomination of origin designations.
The wine, the star of the show tonight, was a 2011 Vin Jaune from Arbois from Rolet Père et Fils. The Domaine Rolet has 65 hectares currently. 40 in Arbois. The company is in the process of converting to organic farming. The median age of the vineyards is 45 years old. The winery was started in 1942 by Désiré Rolet. In 1858, his four children joined the business. Today the much expanded Domaine is owned by three families.
Come and see the posts from my fellow French Winophiles tomorrow and join our chat on Twitter on Saturday, June 15 at 11 a.m. ET and use #winophiles;
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla offers us “Pretty in Pink: Raclette de Savoie Polenta, Salmon, & Le Cocagne Gris Rosé”
- Lynn of Savor The Harvest brings us “Cheese and Loire Wine Pairing with Les Vignerons du Vendômois #winophiles”
- Pinny over Chinese Food And Wine Pairings bids “Je t’aime to a Bordeaux, a Loire Valley Rosé and an assortment of French Cheese #Winophiles”
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles gives us A Loire rosé, a Bordeaux from Pommerol and…..cheese #winophiles
- Wendy of A Day In The Life On A Farm shares Life’s Simple Pleasures; Onion Cheese Soup and a Glass of Rosé
- Jane of Always Ravenous shares Summer Inspired French Cheese and Wine Pairings
- David of Cooking Chat offer tips for Picking Cheese to Serve with French Wine
- Jeff of FoodWineClick says we should Do as the French: Serve The Cheese After the Meal”
- Liz of What’s In That Bottle? says Smile – C’est Fromage!
- Cathie of Side Hustle Wino presents Wine and Cheese, the Heart and Soul of France
- Gwendolyn the Wine Predator asks “Did Someone Say French Wine and Cheese?
- Penny of Adventures of a Carry-on pairs Alsace Riesling and Goat Cheese, A Match Made in Heaven
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass suggests we “Try White Bordeaux and Goat Cheese Appetizer When Relaxing Outdoors
- Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen delivers 3 French Cheese & Beverage Pairings
- Cindy of Grape Experiences serves up Wines from Alsace and Cheeses for Pairing
- Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog, pairs French Grilled Cheese and Drappier Rose de Saignee Champagne #winophile
- and here at Avvinare I’m sharing Vin Jaune and Comté-A Perfect Combination