Wine & Food matching in ... Chavignol

One of France's most famous goats' cheeses, the much-imitated Crottin de Chavignol, can he produced only in the area that surrounds the tiny eponymous village (main picture) in the eastern Loire Valley. The cheese gamed its own appellation d'origine in 1976, although its production in Chavignol probably began as early as the 16th century.
A small cylindrical cheese,Crottin de Chavignol can be enjoyed at various stages of maturity When young, it shows subtle, slightly nutty flavours, then after about six weeks, it begins to develop a more pungent taste, with a harder rind, earning the name Chavignol Bleuté. At full maturity it is known as Chavignol Bleu, when powerful and complex flavours rake over, the dough becomes crumbly and the rind takes on a bluish mould colour
It is oft repeated that French regional cuisine is best served with local wine, and nowhere is this better illustrated than in Chavignol, a hamlet ot fewer than 150 inhabitants. Chavignol's other vocation is winemaking, it was absorbed into the commune ot Sancerre in the late 18th century and includes some of the latter's most famous vineyards, such as the steeply sloping Les Monts Damnes and the emblematic wine estate Henri Bourgeois.

Sancerre's grapes are grown in the same soils that provide pasture for Chavignol's goats, giving fresh, zingy wines that perfectly match the cheese. Young Crotting pairs with almost any Sancerre, but as the cheese ages, look tor the more concentrated,mineral-laced wines from the slopes above Chavignol.
Sancerre is made from sauvignon blanc, and although the grape's pungent fruitiness can make it a fickle food partner, it is remarkably forgiving when paired with goat's cheese So the sauvignons from the nearby vineyards of Pouilly-Fumé.

Menetou Salon, Reuilly, Quincy and Touraine all match well with a variety of goats' cheeses. Join the Sancerrois in spring by adding a few spears of asparagus, wich are also great friends of sauvignon, to baked Crottin served on a bed of green salad.

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