At the beginning of November we enjoyed the last of the 2019 To & Fro Cheese & Wine Tastings with our neighbours Wayward Wine Shop & Bar - more will be scheduled for 2020, so watch this space.
The event is named so because our guests spend the evening flitting to and fro between each venue - due to both shops being restricted on space it enables us to accommodate everyone a lot more comfortably.
Everyone left in high spirits late on the night after an evening enjoying six French cheese and wine pairings.
We started off the evening with a classic Loire strong soft goat Sainte Maure de Touraine paired with a delightful Sauvignon Blanc from the same region - Mikael Bouges Touraine Sauvignon Blanc. When pairing food a good starting point is always the area's specialities - there's definitely something in the terroir the goat's are grazing on being similar to that of the vines.
Next up we enjoyed our new 24 month aged Comte perfectly paired wtih a crisp Savagnin from the Jura. Being aged for two years the Comte is strongly flavoured, wtih a beautiful rind, and a little salty crunch - leaving a tangy fizz in your mouth the wine does a great job of cleaning up after it and leaving your mouth deliciously fresh. An absolute cracker of a pairing. Domaine Marnes Blanches Savagnin En Quatre Vis 2016.
The winning combo of the night was next with Bleu d'Auvergne paired with an orange wine - L'Alezan Metonymia Blanc 2018. The blue was surprisingly mild in flavour for a French blue but what it lacked in blueness it made up for in salt - very long lasting saltiness in your mouth. The dried apricot and peach notes of this wine are a classic pairing combination with more mellow blues like this.
Next up we had another goat from the Loire, this time still soft but slighly less 'goaty' than the first - Valencay. We paired it with a delicious easy-drinking red from the same area - Pierre Borel Bourgueil Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc is the most important red grape from the Loire Valley producing wines that are lighter in style wtih a tart acidity. These fresh, young wines are great at not overpowering the soft, delicate nature of the goat's cheese.
The last pairing at our shop was Ossau Iraty with fellow Pyrenean Domaine Vinci Côtes Catalanes Roc - apart from anything else one of the prettiest wine labels we've ever seen. The classic combination of the region is traditional Basque cheeses or sheeps milk cheeses such as Ossau or Manchego with a medium-bodied Carignan - which adds to the cheese, bringing out smoked, meaty, spiced flavours.
We ended the night with a cheese that split opinion - some loved it, some really didn't get on with it at all. Vignotte, a triple cream, 75% fat bloomy rind from Champagne. Normally paired with a sparkling wine we decided to go for a rose with a little bit of sweetness from L'Alezan again - De Rien 2018. Orignally planned to be a Pet Nat - unfortunately the secondary fermatation in the bottle didn't happen so instead we have a deliciously not fizzy slightly sweet rose with the texture of a fruit coulis - something which goes fantastically well with the creaminess of the Vignotte - like a dessert. It seems a fitting end to a great evening.