It’s been wonderful to come back to summer and we’ve sat outside today and tasted our cheeses from Alain Hess in Beaune with some Aligoté from Bouzeron, the place most known for producing the second white grape of Bourgogne, Chardonnay being the obvious chief here. We went for some of the lesser known cheeses – mostly very local goat’s cheeses (Clacbitou, Vézeray and a tiny Baratte affiné). We also chose a cow’s milk cheese, Chaource, produced in Burgundy and Champagne-Ardenne.
The goat’s cheeses were all creamy and went well with the Aligoté. The Baratte was quite dry and dense with citrus notes, the Clacbitou similar but milder and much creamier and the Vézeray, my favourite of the three, was softer and less dense. It could have been better matched with a less lemony wine, perhaps, a Rully springs to mind? The Chaource was creamy but pretty salty and didn’t suit the Aligoté at all. I would have preferred a sweet wine with it.
The most famous cheeses of Burgundy are orange-coloured, washed-rind cheeses from cow’s milk, often soaked in Marc de Bourgogne to aid maturation. They are members of the Chaource family but are much more flavoursome. Names you might recognise are Langres and Epoisses, readily available over here, as is Chaource. I particularly like Ami du Chambertin from Gevrey-Chambertin which I found at La Fromagerie in Marylebone. These cheeses are salty and are recommended as matches for Sauternes. We tried Monbazillac with them before we went to Burgundy and that worked pretty well. There was much argument as to whether a Pommard was a good accompaniment or not – I would stick with the sweet wine suggestion if I were you.