Match of the week | Napoleon ewes cheese and mature white Saint Mont

Match of the week

Napoleon ewes cheese and mature white Saint Mont

It’s always a bit of thrill to come across a cheese you don’t know especially when you’re bowled over by it as in the case of the Napoleon ewes milk cheese I tasted at the Plaimont pop-up wine bar in Marciac, in south-west France last week. (It's the one at the top of the board in the picture above.)

According to the encycopaedic La Fromagerie, which stocks it occasionally, it’s a unique pasteurised cheese from the Hautes-Pyrenées “in the style of other Pyrénées ewe's milk tommes (such as Ossau) but with a softer texture and a lovely nutty tang.”

It was really sublime with Plaimont's 2015 Le Faite Blanc Saint Mont, made, like their other wines, from the relatively obscure grape varieties of Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Petit Courbu. It’s richly textured and savoury, slightly salty, even which works well with sheep cheese and handled the pungency of the Napoleon really well.

Corney & Barrow has the 2014 vintage for £20.95 a bottle but you could enjoy the same experience with an older vintage of the more modestly priced Les Vignes Retrouvées, the 2017 vintage of which is available from The Wine Society for £8.95 (though ideally I’d hang on to it for at least a couple of years to enjoy it with cheese,)

I visited Marciac as a guest of Plaimont.

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