Home Food and Drink Riesling and Goat Cheese: A Match Made in Heaven #winophiles

Riesling and Goat Cheese: A Match Made in Heaven #winophiles

by Penny Sadler

Dry or sweet, sparkling or still, wine from Alsace has my heart. Not surprisingly, I recently traveled to Alsace, lured by the aromas and flavors of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris.

There are many other varietals grown in Alsace. However, you simply cannot speak of Alsace without mentioning Riesling, as the grape is synonymous with the region.

Riesling pairs beautifully with many cheeses, but let me tell you: Riesling and goat cheese is a match made in heaven.

Let me explain.

Riesling can be dry, off-dry, and sweet. Likewise, goat cheese comes in many variations, from young and fresh to semi-hard with earthy flavors. It matters not which style of goat cheese you prefer–there is a Riesling pairing that will make your tastebuds sing.

For this article, I paired a 2016 Famille Hugel Classic Riesling with a two different goat cheeses: a Brie de Chevre and Chevoo’s creamy goat cheese cubes marinated in dill pollen and garlic.

Wine and cheese pairing notes

Famille Hugel Classic Riesling 2016

Hugel’s classic label wines are made from 50% estate-grown fruit and 50% grapes purchased from local vineyards. This is a budget friendly wine at around 20 dollars a bottle that brings a lot of flavor for the price point.

Insider note: I visited the Hugel winery last October, and tasted every single style of Riesling they make. They were all incredibly good, but I think the 2016 Classic Riesling is one that will please palates from novice to more experienced oenophiles. 

 

from, Riesling and Goat Cheese A Match Made in Heaven, Riesling at the Hugel tasting room, Riquewihr

Wine through the decades at the Hugel tasting room, Riquewihr, Alsace

If you visit the winery in Riquewihr, you can take a walk in the vineyards on the hillside overlooking the village.

Riesling and Goat Cheese a match made in Heaven

This wine scored 90-92 points with four top critics: James Suckling, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, and Vinous. Impressive!

Tasting notes: A light body white wine that tastes more complex. On the palate, I tasted ripe pear, green apple, and hint a hint of white flower, with a tart lemon finish and biting acidity. Very tangy.

Riesling is often misunderstood to be a sweet wine. While it can be sweet, in Alsace, it is most often bone dry. Serve Riesling to your guests, and you have a chance to be a wine superstar simply by introducing them to one of France’s lesser known wine regions…and dry Riesling.

Why is Riesling perfect with goat cheese?

Many people don’t like the earthy and tangy flavors of goat cheese. However, it is precisely those flavors that make it a perfect pairing with a dry white wine, like Riesling. Goat cheese is acidic; likewise, Riesling is acidic.

The creamy texture and slightly nutty taste of the Brie de Chevre paired beautifully with the Riesling. The savory, herbal flavors of the Chevoo brought out the tartness of the Riesling. However, the acidity of the wine was a winner with both cheeses. I think an off-dry Riesling would be a better match for the Chevoo, but the Classic Riesling had enough fruit flavors on the palate to pull it off.

 

Riesling and goat cheese, a match made in Heaven

Never fear: if you don’t like goat cheese, or just want to try something different, there are plenty of options, including:

Brie: A perennial crowd favorite, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a cheese board without a cow’s milk brie. A creamy texture with buttery and nutty flavors, this spreadable cheese goes well with most any cracker, but is especially nice on warm French bread. I recommend, however, that if you choose to serve both a cow’s milk and a goat milk brie, do not put them on the same board (and consider labeling the cheeses).

Muenster: Muenster is from the Alsace region, so it would be a nice selection to include with an Alsace Riesling. A soft cheese with a washed rind which is slightly pungent, Muenster is nutty, creamy, and delicious melted. It would pair well with an off-dry Riesling. Muenster is often substituted for Livarot.

Tomme de Savoie: This is a slightly earthy cheese from the French Alps. It has a smooth texture and is often served with cured meats and fruit.

Comte: With small, scattered holes called “eyes,” Comté has an intriguing, complex flavor that can include hints of apricot, chocolate, butter, cream, hazelnuts, and toast. Enjoy Comté in cubes, on a sandwich, melted in fondue, or grated and sprinkled on your favorite dishes. Any way you like it, serve Comté with a dry Riesling.

If you’re searching for the perfect wine to pair with a variety of cheeses and please many palates, look no further than Riesling from Alsace. It’s my go-to for good reason.

This article is inspired by a the French #winophiles. Read more about what we are sharing this month.

The French #Winophiles is a virtual tasting group composed of food and wine writers and influencers that explores French food & wine pairings on the third Saturday of every month. Join us Saturday, 15 June 2019 at 10 am CDT, 17:00 in France on Twitter: #winophiles or follow my Twitter feed @PennySadler.

 

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23 comments

Gwendolyn Alley June 21, 2019 at 2:39 am

Great suggestions! I’ll keep these in mind for the next time I’m doing a riesling from Alsace!

Reply
Penny Sadler June 21, 2019 at 10:26 am

Thanks for reading!

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Payal June 19, 2019 at 11:54 pm

One of the best Alsace wines available States-side, and love the classic pairing!

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Penny Sadler June 21, 2019 at 10:26 am

thanks!

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Penny Sadler June 21, 2019 at 10:28 am

agree!

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Robin Bell Renken June 17, 2019 at 1:33 pm

I can think of nothing more heavenly than a line up of various styles of riesling and various selections of goat cheese! What a wonderful puzzle to find the best pairings! Thank you also for sharing all the wonderful non-goat cheese options!

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Penny Sadler June 21, 2019 at 10:28 am

well, you know, some people don’t love the goat! LOL

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Jane June 17, 2019 at 10:41 am

Sounds like you had a fabulous trip to Alsace. I too like Riesling, but finding a dry style in my local wine shops is a struggle. I have not thought to pair goat cheese with Riesling but it makes perfect sense with the high acidity. Thanks for the tip!

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Penny Sadler June 21, 2019 at 10:27 am

I loved Alsace.

Reply
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Cathie Schafer June 16, 2019 at 10:01 pm

I love Alsatian wine and cannot wait to visit this region. A very delicious and enjoyable read! P.S. The Hugels are one of the family’s featured in the book Wine & War – great read if you haven’t read it already!

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Penny Sadler June 21, 2019 at 10:27 am

I read that book just before I went there! Great read indeed!

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MARTIN D REDMOND June 16, 2019 at 5:06 pm

I must see if I can find some of this Brie de Chevre and pair it with a Riesling Penny. Not top of mind for me, but totally makes sense!

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Penny Sadler June 16, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Thanks Martin. Yes, it does.

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Pinny Tam June 16, 2019 at 10:19 am

Like the focus of this post on goat cheeses. Famille Huge Classic Riesling 2016 is a wonderful wine for these cheeses. I tasted this Riesling before. It’s dry and is high in acidity…loving it!

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Penny Sadler June 16, 2019 at 7:14 pm

That’s the one! Great wine for sure. Thanks for your comments.

Reply
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Deanna June 15, 2019 at 11:36 pm

Nice pairing choice! This is very interesting because I would not have picked Riesling to pair with cheese even though I do know Alsatian wines are paired with flatbread like pizzas in the region. I will have to try with goat cheese!

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Penny Sadler June 16, 2019 at 7:14 pm

Oh for sure. Riesling pairs with many, many foods, including Asian Food! As I’m sure you know.

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Linda June 18, 2019 at 5:23 pm

Along with acidity, Alsatian Riesling has a bit of texture and body for pairing with goat cheeses. Great suggestion!

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Penny Sadler June 21, 2019 at 10:28 am

Thanks for the additional tasting information Linda. I appreciate you sharing your expertise with us!

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Lynn June 15, 2019 at 5:34 am

It’s funny because my love for Riesling has been long though I’ve not enjoyed it with (as you know from my article) the one cheese type I eat- goat! Acid loves acid, it makes sense as you point out. What a refreshing article Penny!

Reply
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