Top pairings | What are the best wine pairings for Vacherin Mont d’Or

Top pairings

What are the best wine pairings for Vacherin Mont d’Or

People occasionally ask me my favourite cheese - an impossible question but Vacherin Mont d’Or is certainly up there in the top 5.

It’s made either side of the Franco/Swiss border under slightly different names* between September and March and is a washed rind cheese with a wonderfully fluid texture. It's always presented in a box with a piece of spruce bark wrapped round it. You can serve it baked when it acquires the consistency of a fondue.

Locally in the Jura it would alway be drunk with one of the local crisp white wines. Top London cheesemonger, Patricia Michelson of La Fromagerie, recommends a vin jaune or a savagnin which is certainly the classic, on-the-spot pairing and fortunately the wines more widely available than they used to be in the UK. Vintage champagne is also an option but not always what one is looking for with cheese which leaves one with aromatic whites.

'A perfectly ripe Vacherin Mont d'Or, oozing with funky fruit aromas, is an extraordinary thing to eat with a 15- to 20-year-old auslese riesling, which by then has developed a singular smoky aroma reminiscent of kerosene' Eric Asimov of the New York Times suggested a while ago. I also very much enjoyed a Vacherin recently with Laurent Miquel's Verité, a top quality viognier from the Languedoc.

Others such as Murray’s Cheese suggest pairing it with an aromatic gewurztraminer and a dry young Alsace or Austrian riesling should be an enjoyable pairing.

Is there any red that will work? I’m not totally convinced but an Hachette book I have, Fromages et Vins, suggests an Alsace Pinot Noir or a minor red burgundy such as Hauts-Côtes-de-Nuits.

Award-winning sommelier Nicolas Clerc recommends serving the cheese with toasted hazelnut bread and adding a julienne of raw cepes "to reach another dimension of pleasure” while the late Sue Style author of Cheese: Slices of Swiss Culture suggested: Serve this delectably runny cheese with good rye or wholewheat bread or allow it to slither gently over small, waxy (or new) potatoes cooked in their skins. You could also serve a selection of fragrant smoked meats and mountain sausages.

In terms of Swiss wines Sue recommended "a Petite Arvine from the Valais (Chanton Weine in Visp make a fine one), not a flétri but a dry one: pale straw, grapefruit/lime blossom with slightly salty finish and enough acidity to cope with the luscious silky texture of the Vacherin. Or, if you prefer red, how about a Pinot Noir from either Valais (Simon Maye, Maurice Zufferey - top names from around Salgesch/Sierre) or from Graubünden (Gantenbein's is most elevated, but there are lots of other fine ones from the village of Bündner Herrschaft near Chur), or a Dole, a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir from the Valais."

* The Swiss version is called Vacherin Mont d’Or, the French simply Mont d’Or or Vacherin du Haut-Doubs

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Comments: 9

kinson1964 on February 21 2020 at 19:48

It's also a great pairing with Aspall Premier Cru Cyder

Me_saare on December 30 2017 at 18:43

I would like it with a not too heavy single malt, Glenfiddach, maybe

Fiona Beckett on November 15 2017 at 12:48

Interesting idea @alp sen - I haven't tried sherry with it. Or dry Vermouth @turnbulls deli - can imagine that working well too. The naming of Vacherin is an absolute minefield. I consulted several sources before I wrote this and they all said something different. Will have to recheck obviously!

Turnbulls Deli on November 15 2017 at 12:19

We pair ours with the dry Vermouth from Bramley & Gage - together, the pairing seems to bring out the fruity, floral notes of the vermouth and the deep mushroomy flavours of the cheese. Vacherin Mont d'Or (pdo) is definitely, always, French though, Swiss version is Vacherin Friebourg, a firm, fairly strong cheese that is produced all year and delicious in a wholly different way - if you can find it on this side of the channel!

Alp Sen on November 15 2017 at 11:33

A dry pale cream sherry would work too, hazelnut scents on the nose after a dollop of mont d'or would be a delight...

Steve Parker (Hampton Cheese and on November 12 2015 at 09:40

We serve our Vacherin with either Roulette de Savoie (Altesse) or a juicy Cru Beaujolais like Regnie.....

Fiona Beckett on November 25 2012 at 23:20

Think ceps and truffles would probably assist the champagne match too . . .

Christopher Hardy (@Stocius) on November 23 2012 at 17:09

And if you had some shaved truffles to hand...

Christopher Hardy (@Stocius) on November 23 2012 at 17:07

Pinot Noir - a big one would be perfect. I would definitelyvsign up for Mont d'Or, the julienne of ceps and a great Volnay.

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