Goats Do Rhone
Not an original title, but fitting for tonight's pairing. Yesterday we brought in a stack of a Costieres de Nimes Blanc from Chateau Laval, a white wine blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Marsanne, that we found may prove interesting for our June Wine's of the Month bag. Chateau Laval is located between the cities of Aries and Nimes in the southernmost reaches of the Cotes du Rhone. The estate was founded in 1947 by Paul Alcay and is operated today by Paul’s daughter Martine and her husband Jean-Jacques Chemorin.
Droppin a little bit of info on the region for those that are not familiar with CdN. Costières de Nîmes (CdN) is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for wines that are produced in an area between the ancient city of Nîmes and the western Rhône delta, in the French department of the Gard. Formerly part of the Languedoc region of France, as the wines more resemble those of the Rhône valley in character than of the Languedoc, it is now part of the Rhone wine area and administered by the Rhône Wine committee which has its headquarters in Avignon.
I pulled a bottle out of the cooler the other night for sampling to customers and to refresher my memory as to why we bought it. Price aside, it's an interesting wine to say the least. Again, we drink our white wines too cold and with this experiment I tasted it at different intervals throughout the night. At first it's a light almost neutral flavor that later opens up to white floral notes and unripened apricots. Body goes from lighter side of medium to more medium. At room temp the wine gets a little more savory with tangerine rind and hints of almonds. Interesting wine to say the least. Pop the cork back into it for the next day to see how it transforms overnight. I'm sampling it at room temp now and it's got some viscosity, again with the almonds and tangerine rind. White flowers on the nose. What to pair it with? I'm surrounded by cheese and crackers, so let's explore how a new goat cheese will work with it.
Goat Lady Dairy's Sandy Creek which is a new dairy to me, but one I've heard of from friends in the business. As you can see from the picture on the left, this cheese resembles the Humboldt Fog by Cypress Grove out in California. Sandy Creek is a similar ash and mold ripened cheese with a distinctive layer of ash through the center representing the historic stream that flows by our farm. The ash changes the acidity of the surface of the cheese encouraging the growth of a unique mold rind with bright & grassy flavors. The cheese is soft in texture with an almost runny interior and with citrusy, tangy and earthy notes of mushrooms. The acidity of the wine matches with the acidity of the goats milk. Floral notes from the wine and grassy earthy notes of the cheese kinda play a little back and forth game on who's going to stand out more. I think the tangerine on the wine is a little too perfume like for this cheese. Experimentation at it's best and not a failed pairing. Along with this ash ripened cheese, Goat Lady Dairy makes a smoked fresh chevre that is absolutely delicious! The smoke is not overwhelming nor does it dry out the cheese. And now as I finish up this blog post, the CdN Blanc is really beautiful at room temp. Try your white wines at room temp to see how much the flavor and body change. Incredible to see the transformation a wine goes through over the course of a few hours. If you've had this cheese or wine before, we'd like to hear from you your thoughts and pairings. Drop us an email! Cheers and nosh away!