Pairing Wine with Chèvre Cheese

Because of its light creamy flavor, chèvre ( a.k.a. goat) unripened soft cheese is one of the easiest cheeses to pair with wine. It mingles so well with other flavors, as evident by all the many recipes for dips and spreads.

Pairing is about personal preference, but I do have a few favorite combinations to recommend. In general, the chèvre cheese enhances the wine and allows the wine to take center stage because of the mildness of its flavor. The rule of thumb is to choose lighter wines to not overwhelm the bright, delicate, often lemony flavors of your chèvre.

Chèvre can inspire an entire meal with smoked salmon and a thick layer of the cheese spread on a garlic bagel. When serving chèvre cheese with smoked salmon, I prefer a Pinot Noir like the Roosevelt Pinot from Elk Cove in Oregon. You can also get smoked salmon locally sourced from the region as well. Willamette Valley pinots are a wonderful choice for this combination.

The sweet Petite Fleur from Williamsburg Winery is a beautiful pairing by means of a cheese dessert plate. The honeysuckle, bananas, apricots and vanilla cream mingle with the tart creaminess of chèvre. An ideal sweet bite at the end of a meal. I like to allow the cheese to become room-temperature and spread the plain chèvre on seedy crackers. Serve the wine chilled.

Another pairing concept is to select a chèvre cheese with a wine from the same region. An article by Table Agent suggests:

“Thousands of years ago, before wine became an international commodity, wines made in a region were enjoyed with traditional foods of that region. Based on the theory that grapes from a climate will pair with foods native to the same climate, it is safe to assume that regional foods will pair well with wines from the same region.”

Per this advice, if you buy Belle Chèvre from Elkmont, Alabama try a wine with roots in a nearby Alabama winery. If you are fortunate enough to have fresh goat cheeses available at your local farmers’ market you can serve it with a bottle of crisp white or rosé from your favorite area winery.