Easy French Cheese Board and Wine: Use the Rule of 3's

French Wine Explorers | Wednesday, Feb 17th 2021

Easy French Cheese Board and Wine

From our Facebook Lives, find more here: Facebook Live: French Wine Explorers


Hi guys, it’s Pascale Bernasse with French Wine Explorers and we help wine lovers become connoisseurs and we do that through our wine tours and our classes. 

This week we are going to talk about French wine and cheese but before we do that since it’s Friday I wanted to let you know that I have started my tasting. 

Today we are tasting a cru bourgeois from Bordeaux. Today we’re going to talk about french cheese and wine so I’ve shown you what I’m drinking.  It’s a 2012 I don’t know if you can see but look at the color how beautiful it is. I mean that’s a gorgeous color- it’s an amber it’s got some amber going on to it and I’ve had this out of the wine fridge for about half an hour and in my glass for about 15 minutes and I take a first sniff. I don’t really smell too too much I smell a little bit of fruits but when I take the second one I get some leather notes and a little bit of earthy vibe to it. It’s pretty good we’re gonna have burgers later on and I thought that would be a great way to try.        

Today we’re talking about French wine and cheese we’re going to talk about tips to pair french wine with cheese. And the reason is a good friend of mine a few months ago asked me if I could help her with a cheese board for a party and  actually was a charcuterie board and I had never heard of charcuterie board so I looked it up on pinterest and it was like very elaborate and it kind of hurt my head.  I thought to myself this is really beautiful but way too much and most people- there’s so much going on visually and taste wise I’m not sure I would really be able to appreciate it.

So let’s keep it simple and go with what I call the rule of three’s when it comes to french cheese and wine. So the rule of three’s is very interesting and very easy to replicate.

  • You want to get three types of cheeses.
  • You want to get a goat and maybe two cow’s milk cheeses or goat a cow on a sheet, but you want to get three cheeses.
  • You want a soft, a semi-hard, and a hard cheese. 
  • So first you want a mild medium and strong. Alright so we’ve got our cheeses but what are they?
    • For the soft I would recommend a goat cheese like a Chèvre from the Loire Valley-they’re very easy to find whether you’re in a supermarket or at the cheesemonger. 
    • They’re usually those cylindrical ones so that would be nice.
    • Okay so we’ve done the Chèvre which is your soft and then we’re gonna do a mild semi I like brie but i have to tell you most of the brie that we get in the United States are tasteless because they’re ultra pasteurized and not really kind of done, by the time they come to the United States.
    • So I would try a St. Andre. I love Santo Andre because it’s like full fat and it has great flavor and usually the taste is really good. So we’ve got our chevre and St. Andre, then we’re going to need a hard cheese.
    • I love a really sharp cheddar, maybe something that’s made in small batches. A really hard cheddar will go really well with the other two cheeses.
  • So now we’ve got our cheeses we need to have some carbs to go with it.
    • So that would mean bread or crackers- I would recommend a beautiful baguette.
    • And I would recommend two types of crackers: a plain cracker,  you know like a really nice plain cracker and then a cracker that has something fun like maybe a cracker with some nuts and dried cranberries or something like that- keep it at three. 

Next is  you want to have some accompaniments- things that are going to really enhance the flavor of the cheese.

  • I’d go with something sweet like honey jam or apples I’d go with something salty like olives and something crunchy like almonds.
  • And then you want to plate it and to plate it I would put something from nature like maybe some fig leaves or magnolia leaves.
  • I would stack the cheeses and would actually cut the cheese in half and put it one on top of the other to give it some texture and layers.
  • I would also take some thyme and put it on the goat cheese just to give it a little bit of a pop and then the other question is now what do we pair with these cheeses.  

We’ve got our cheeses: now the wines!

The easiest way to learn about French wine and cheese pairings.

  • Think about pairing the cheese from the region with the wine that’s from the region.
  • So let’s go with the first one a Chèvre -normally it’s from the Loire Valley which is where my husband and I are from so I love that area. And the best way to pair it is with a wine from that area. Now I would pair it with a white and I would pair it with a Sancerre white or a Pouilly Fume- and you can learn more about that in our online classes.
    • But I would pair it with a Sauvignon Blanc from France from the Loire Valley.  It’s going to make for a great pairing.
    • If you want a bubbly I say go for it and you can get a Cremant de Loire. I printed some of these out to help with the pronunciation so we have Chèvre and we talked about St. Andre and now we’re talking about Loire so white Sancerre. A Cremant  is a bubbly, but it can’t be called Champagne because it’s not produced in Champagne. It’s Chenin Blanc wine that’s really delicious. 
  • Great next is the brie now remember I told you it’s a high fat.
    • St. Andre can go really well with a red wine and a red wine could be something like a Gamay from Beaujolais like a Beaujolais cru. 
    • For example would be great with a brie and you could also go with a chardonnay from Burgundy but something on the lower caliber maybe a regional Chardonnay from Burgundy would be delicious.
  • The last one is our cheddar.
    • Our cheddar is going to be our hard cheese with a stronger flavor and that would go great with a Bordeaux red. 
    • I would love that with a Bordeaux red- maybe something from the Entre Deux Mers,or even the Cru Bourgeois that I’m drinking today. 

Can you see it?  I think I have it so that you can read, it’s a 2012 so it’s an older Cru Bourgeois. It lacks a little bit of backbone it would be okay with the cheddar that’s not too sharp but if you have a super super sharp cheddar you might want to think of a younger vintage to go with that or even a Graves which is a white or a red a Graves white wine would go great with this. Or a Graves red would go great with this.

So let’s recap French wine and French cheese.

  • If you want to do a cheese board keep it simple-keep it to the rule of threes.
  • A soft semi-soft and hard three different flavor profiles- mild medium and strong.
    • So our recommendation would be a Chèvre which is those cylindrical ones which is a soft cheese- it’s quite mild.
    • A St. Andre which is a brie that’s full of flavor because it’s full of fat, and then a sharp cheddar made in small batches.
  • You want to accompany it with three different types of breads so maybe a baguette and two different types of crackers a simple cracker and then a cracker that has maybe some fruits and nuts rolled into them.
  • And then as accompaniments you want something sweet, something savory and something crunchy. So for the sweet you could have some jam, some apple slices, some honey. Something savory could be olives and something crunchy could be almonds. I love almonds on my cheese platter. 

As far as the wines are concerned pair the wine from the region where it came from.

  • So a French is probably going to be from the Loire Valley. So we want a Sancerre or Pouilly Fume, which is just next to Sancerre.
  • Both are Sauvignon Blanc and or a Cremant de la Loire which is from the Loire Valley. And it’s Chenin Blanc based and it’s a bubbly.
  • For your semi-soft your Saint Andre you can go with a Gamay from Beaujolais. You could even do a chardonnay from Burgundy but I would do a regional level chardonnay.
  • And then last but not least is your sharp cheddar which is what we’re going to have tonight with our burgers and this wine this cru bourgeois. You want to have maybe a Bordeaux to go along with it- Graves. 
  • And if all goes wrong and you really don’t know what to serve and you only want to serve one thing you could try rose from Champagne, that would be delicious.

So that’s it for us! It’s French Wine Explorers helping wine lovers become connoisseurs through our online classes and our tours. We’d love to hear from you! What would you like to see next week? Please comment below and let me know.  I want you to also think about downloading our guide Five Secrets to Winetasting Like a Pro.  I’ll put it in the comments below and let me know what you think I’d love to hear from you  and I look forward to seeing you next week in the meantime I say cheers have a great weekend and I’ll talk to you soon!