We all know the Sauternes, this really sweet dessert wine, that we drink most of the time for Christmas and for New Year with foie gras. But today, you are going to rediscover this wine and relearn to pair it.
Sauternes – Foie gras, is it really a good wine and food paring?
First question: let’s go back to some old habits. Sauternes and foie gras, is it the perfect paring?
Well, we have to go back to the XIXth century to understand it, when foie gras was served at the end of the meal. At that time, the wines followed a specific chronological order, from light to powerful wines (light white wine, light red, full bodied red, dessert wine etc). Accordingly, foie gras was associated with dessert wines.
Over the years, foie gras went back up in our meals and come to split in the aperitive or starter plates. Then, dessert wine followed, but it wasn’t really the best idea. Indeed, starting the meal with a sweet and greasy wine, you will not probably enjoy the rest of the meal in the same way with the other wines, being doubtlessly, lighter than a Sauternes.
Moreover, combining sweet and fat makes this pairing even heavier, which can quickly reduce the appetite and ruin an entire meal.
After all, foie gras will be better with a smooth white wine such as a Pinot Gris, or you can choose a sparkling wine, with an effervescence that will break the fat of the foie gras.
Then, we keep the Sauternes at its original place, which means for cheese and dessert.
Sauternes and cheese platter: with what type of cheese?
A classic match: blue cheese with a dessert wine. These cow’s-milk cheeses have a noble mould (Penicillium roqueforti mould), which one is completely compatible with the noble mould of the wine, the botrytis.
The sweetness and softness of a Sauternes from Caillou Wine Estate for instance, will outweigh the fat of the cheese, with almond, honey and cinnamon flavours. In this way, it will highlight new flavours that we cannot find when we enjoy a piece of blue cheese with a glass of red wine. Although these two dishes are both greasy, in some ways, they are a perfect combination.
Pressed cheeses are a nice combination too with dessert wine. Indeed, these types of cheeses grease the mouth and enable your palate to enjoy a Sauternes from La Tour Blanche Wine Estate.
You can also try the comté From Jura, between 24 and 26 months maturing, it will be flavoured without too much character, to make sure that the salt of the ageing do not damage the palate to enjoy a glass of Sauternes properly.
Other paring, less common but efficient: Gouda from the Neverlands (because France is not the only country where it is produced good cheeses…). It is a cheese with a strong taste, a nice complexity and offers an interesting paring with a sweet wine like the Sauternes.
Which dessert to choose for a Sauternes?
We often see as a starter crèmes brûlées with foie gras flavours to go with a Sauternes. Just give up the foie gras and keep the crème brûlées nature or with fruits flavours for the dessert with a bottle of Doisy-Daene Wine Estate. Indeed, the acidity and the crunchy part will balance the sweet part of the wine.
The sweet part and its caramelized fruits flavours match perfectly with a fruit dessert such as a tarte tatin with one (or several) scoop(s) of vanilla ice-cream. Every pie works well with a glass of dessert wine: apple pie, apple crumble, lemon pie, apricot pie etc. Fruits bring a nice freshness to end on a high note this meal.
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