Chèvre, or goat cheese, is an acidic cheese in search of a naturally acidic wine. The white wines of the Southern Rhone often lack acidity due to nighttime temperatures that do not dip low enough for white grape varieties to protect their acids from being lost through the biochemical process of respiration, whereas grapes grown in the Loire Valley or Burgundy have high acids because of the cool climate.
Whereas the Sauvignon Blanc grape grown in the Loire is a natural for matching with goat cheese – think of Sancerre – there are white wine blends of various grape varieties, notably Rousanne, produced in the Southern Rhone, which have a bracing acidity to marry with the acidity of goat cheese:
Jade 2010, a white wine produced by Olivier B, is a mesmerizing cuvée with surprising dryness despite its residual sugars due to uncommon blending. In fact, a wine totally unique. Harvested at the end of September, ¼ grenache blanc, ¼ roussanne and ¼ clairette are blended with ¼ ugni harvested in late November when the grapes have an aroma of lightly caramelized apples. Jade has a floral nose and a rich tangy fruit on the palate. It is paired with goat cheese at Le Phébus in Joucas. Only available direct from the producer.
Here are two other local whites to accompany fresh chèvre recommend by Patrick Fischnaller of the one-star Michelin restaurant Le Vivier in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue:
Le Temple 2009 of Château Bas, AOC Coteaux d’aix. Patrick’s tastings notes: apple, pear, and peach with a beautiful minerality that agrees with fresh chèvre. A blend of Sauvignon and Rolle from vines aged 15 to 25 years.
Archange Blanc 2011, from Domaine des Anges, 100% Rousanne, a nose of honey blossoms, lime and toast, and a palate of citrus fruits and floral overtones with a subtle oakiness. This vineyard is under the direction of an Irishman Ciaran Rooney, winemaker, a graduate of Stellenbosch University where he obtained a BSc degree in Oenology and Viticulture.
Olivier B: Olivier B Wine Shop: Center of Villes sur Auzon, next to the bakery. Open Daily, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 4-7 p.m., and closed Sunday and Monday morning. (Hwy 942 east from Carpentras). Tel: 04-90-61-72-07 or 06-25-39-08-60, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chateau Bas: Located northwest of Aix-en-Provence in Cazan, Tél. 04 90 59 13 16, email: email@example.com, Consult website for directions.
Domaine des Anges: Mormoiron, Tel: 04 90 61 88 78. Directions: Arriving to Mormoiron on D942, turnoff to gravel road on south side, opposite side of direction to village. Look closely for signage. Consult website for directions.
Le Vivier: Shaded terrace dining over pattering river. 800 Cours Fernande Peyre, L’Isle Sur-la-Sorgue,Directions: From the center of L’Isle Sur-la-Sorgue, take direction Carpentras on Cours Fernande Peyre to the next roundabout. The entrance to Le Vivier is on the right of the roundabout behind a Credit Agricole sign. In arriving are from direction Carpentras on D938, you cross a small bridge and make a ¾ spin on the roundabout at the foot of Cours Fernande Peyre to the restaurant. Reservations: 04-90-38-52-80. Website.