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Q&A with Our Experts: 12 French Wine + Cheese Pairings You've Got to Try

Through October 31, Whole Foods Market will be featuring 12 French wines and their cheese pairings. 

Cathy Strange and Devon Broglie are world-renowned experts in their fields. Cathy is our Global Cheese Buyer and Devon is a Master Sommelier (1 of only 236 in the world!) and one of our Global Wine Buyers. Together with their teams, they hand-select the wines and cheeses we feature.

  

Devon Broglie, Master Sommelier and Global Wine Buyer

Cathy Strange, Global Cheese Buyer 

Cathy and Devon sat down to talk about some of their most delicious and exciting finds.

Q. Why is France so special when it comes to wine and cheesemaking?

Cathy: There’s an amazing intersection between cheesemaking history and the way they care for their animals — it makes the milk there very special. And really, for me, it’s the incredible commitment and dedication of the French cheesemakers — crafting amazing cheeses like these can really be a struggle!

Devon: France represents a perfect culinary vortex of cuisine and beverage. A place where, historically, artisans have been crafting agriculture products out of raw materials for centuries

Q. What is it that excites you most about this particular selection of French wines and cheeses?

Cathy: I love ALL the twelve cheeses featured here, like favorite children — and that is real! France is SO abundant in its variety of geography, milks and techniques. From the south in the Pyrenees mountains, to the northern coast, from the volcanic Auvergne region, to the Alps.

Devon: I’m also really excited about the bigger picture — capturing France’s diversity and quality while linking less familiar French wine regions to their more commonly known grape varieties. For example, Chablis is chardonnay, Touraine is sauvignon blanc, Cahors is malbec, red Bordeaux is typically merlot and cabernet sauvignon. We tasted literally hundreds of wines to get to these twelve. When it comes to French wines (and all wines, really) I feel passionate about removing any barriers of unfamiliarity or intimidation, because they’re just so good and enjoyable!

All of our expert-curated Wines and Cheeses from France are described below. Don’t forget, you have until October 31 to check them out!

12 Featured Wines and Cheeses from France + Devon and Cathy’s Takes

1. Jacques Bardelot

Champagne Brut

  • “I’m super excited about the Champagne we’re featuring. Jacques Bardelot Champagne Brut is fresh, clean, a perfect example of what Champagne should be. Such a value!”- Devon
  • Pairing: And it’s heaven with Hervé Mons St. Nuage. Bubbly meets soft, ripened triple-crème — best pairing in the world, period!” – Cathy

2. Criterion

Chablis

  • “An excellent benchmark example of the magic of Chablis. Amazing freshness and minerality.” – Devon
  • Pairing: Comté, matured by Jean-Charles Arnaud in the caves at Fort des Rousses

3. Domaine de la Fruitière

Gneiss de Bel Abord Muscadet

  • “Fresh apple, citrus, mineral. This wine loves shellfish and way over-delivers.” – Devon
  • Pairing: P'tit Basque cheese

4. Domaine Paul Buisse

Touraine Sauvignon

  • “I’m loving the Domaine Paul Buisse Touraine Sauvignon. It’s sauvignon blanc, French-style – restrained, elegant and delicious.” – Devon
  • Pairing: This white wine yearns for Ossau-Iraty sheep’s milk cheese! Slight grassy notes in the wine highlight complex nutty notes in the cheese.” - Cathy

5. Trimbach

Pinot Gris Reserve

  • “There are no other white wines like Alsatian pinot gris. Perfect with ham, even better with potatoes.” – Devon
  • Pairing: Isigny Ste Mère Bonhomme Brie

6. Whispering Angel

Côtes de Provence Rosé

  • “Classic, delicate strawberry. This lovely wine impresses as easily at tailgates as on patios.” – Devon
  • Pairing: 1924 Bleu cheese

7. Vignobles des Roches

Morgon

  • “The Vignobles des Roches Morgon is an amazing Red. Made from gamay grapes in the small village of Morgon, it manages the trick of being light-bodied but with real depth and richness. Wonderful on its own, but so great with food — it doesn’t overpower!” - Devon
  • Pairing: Epoisses cheese from Hervé Mons is the perfect pairing here. Elegant wine, rich, stinky cheese. Heaven. One of my fondest memories of France — out in the grass fields, sitting on ancient one-legged stools, milking cows with French cheese rock star Hervé Mons. I’ll never forget it.” – Cathy

8. Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Biographie Côtes-du-Rhône

  • “The Paul Jaboulet Ainé Biographie Côtes-du-Rhône is a ripe Red, full-bodied, from the spectacular 2015 vintage. Spiciness comes from the grenache/syrah blend and jamminess from the generally warm weather and awesome vintage. Serious value here.” – Devon
  • Pairing: "The intense fruit in the wine makes dreamy, creamy Saint Angel cheese shine. The cheese is from near where the wine is made, in France’s Rhône-Alpes region.” – Cathy

9. Château de Lascaux

Coteaux du Languedoc Rouge

  • “Passionate winemakers; incredible wine. We loved the depth of this blend so we bought it all.” – Devon
  • Pairing: Hervé Mons Camembert

10. Clos Siguier

Cahors

  • “Pure malbec with classic French sensibility. Deep fruit, spice. Elegant with minerality. Cassoulet please!” – Devon
  • Pairing: Fourme d'Ambert cheese

11. Alain de la Treille

Chinon

  • “Six generations in the Loire valley have perfected this wine. Blackberry and herbal nuance make this a classic.” – Devon
  • Pairing: Mimolette cheese

12. Château Haut-Cadet

Saint-Émilion Grand Cru

  • “One of the finest Saint-Émilions I’ve tasted at this price. Lush, ripe and dense. Steak au poivre, please.” – Devon
  • Pairing: Beaufort Alpage cheese