Match of the week | Epoisses and marc de Bourgogne

Match of the week

Epoisses and marc de Bourgogne

Epoisses has to be one of the most difficult cheeses to match, not least when it gets to the almost liquid stage shown in this photo (a stage too far IMHO)

It’s one of France’s most notorious ‘stinky’ cheeses - so described because the process of washing the rind in marc de Bourgogne contributes to the cheese’s pungent smell and fluid texture.

The locals like to drink it with red Burgundy (the natural terroir-based match as it's also made in the Côte d’Or) but in my view it almost always slaughters the wine. It’s also - unlike many cheeses - a bit rough on the local dry whites.

The most successful matches I’ve come across are Sauternes, strong Belgian beers and, on my recent trip last week, marc de Bourgogne itself which makes a lot of sense given that it’s used in the cheese’s production. It’s strong but then so is the cheese and it’s woodiness and spiciness deal better with its bitter notes than the intense sweetness of fortified wines like port (though I suspect drier Madeiras and possibly whisky could work too).

If you feel deprived if you don’t have a glass of red wine in your hand while you’re eating cheese try a strong funky red (an old vintage of Chteauneuf-du-Ppe, for example). We tried a slightly less far gone cheese at the Beaune wine bar Le Comptoir des Tontons with Philippe Jambon’s Les OH de Balmont, a vin de table from a natural wine producer in in Beaujolais and they paired remarkably well.


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Comments: 4 (Add)

Andrew McLeod on November 18 2020 at 11:00

I tried a Leffe Brune and found it went very well which I guess squares with suggestion of Porter.

Fiona Beckett on March 6 2014 at 12:38

Sorry Heine I somehow managed to miss your very helpful feedback. I really like the idea of the Mosel Auslese - I'll try that.

And that's a VERY bold suggestion @John T. I'll definitely have to have a go at that!

John T on March 6 2014 at 12:01

I have found that a very strong Porter such as Brewdog Tokyo works well with this cheese.

Heine Johansen on May 2 2013 at 16:32

I wouldn't normally respond to a 3 year old article but since most of the wine pairings on epoisses that comes up on the first couple of pages in google are just plain out wrong, I'd like to add my notes. A friend of mine brought me some epoisses and said he had yet to find a good pairing for it after about 12 different tries. Our thoughts:

Most red burgundies is a bad pairing. The (although relatively small amounts of) tannins does not go well with the wine. The cheese is overpowering.

We tried with vin jaune from jura, thinking it would have the power to go with the cheese. This is also a disaster, but it fits with some of the nutty and saltynotes, leaving me to think that some of the lesser dry madeiras or ideally an amontillado sherry would go well.

Even though sauternes is not a bad match, to my taste, the sweetness is a bit much with this cheese.

Pairing with a good auslese from mosel works and is almost a perfect pair, especially if it's gotten some age. We drank Jos. Christoffel Graacher Domprost '94.

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