By Bob Lipinski
Goat cheese, known as chèvre in French, is a classification of cheeses made worldwide from goat’s milk, which vary in style, appearance, and flavor. Goat’s milk cheese is made in a variety of shapes, such as cones, cylinders, disks, logs, ovals, pyramids, wheels, and “buttons.” By French law, cheese labeled as pur chèvre must be made entirely from goat’s milk. Cheeses made from a blend of goat and cow’s milk are labeled mi-chèvre.
Goat cheese costs more because of the relative scarcity of the milk: cows produce around six times as much milk as goats do. Hence, there is less cheese at higher prices.
Some goat cheeses are rolled in paprika or chili powder to give it a brick-red, colorful exterior. Others are wrapped in chestnut or grape leaves and dipped in brandy, marc, white wine, red wine, or olive oil. The outer chalk white surface is sometimes coated in ash, black pepper, or herbs.
Although the most common goat cheeses are soft and spreadable, others are semisoft, firm-textured, dry, and crumbly, and occasionally very hard, which can be grated. Some goat cheeses are smoked, while others are flavored with garlic, black pepper, curry powder, fennel, rosemary, and various herbs. Goat cheese varies in flavor from mild to acetic, tangy, sharp, nutty, grassy, earthy, barnyardy, or mushroomy.
Some recommended goat cheeses to try are Alicante, Banon, Bouton-de-Culotte, Bûcheron, Cabécou, Camerano, Capricette, Chabichou, Chevrotin, Crottin de Chavignol, Garrotxa, Ibores, Lormes, Montrachet, Pélardon, Picodon, Pyramide, Sainte-Maure, Valençay, and Ziegenkäse.
There are many red, white, and rosé wines that pair well with goat cheese. Some red wines are Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel. Some white wines are Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Muscadet, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. I especially enjoy goat cheese with a brut or blanc de noirs champagne, brut Prosecco, tawny port, a dry rosé, or a chilled glass of a fino (dry) sherry.
Some suggested wines to try are…
2019 Stephane Aviron Moulin-à-Vent “Vieilles Vignes” Beaujolais, France. Cranberry-colored with an aroma and flavor of blueberry, raspberry, plums, spices, and licorice. Dry and medium-bodied, with hints of roses.
2018 Murphy-Goode Pinot Noir, California. Ruby colored with an aroma of spicy black cherry and flavors of cranberry, plum, and cola with hints of cinnamon, earth, mint, and tea leaves.
2019 Greywacke “Sauvignon Blanc,” Marlborough, New Zealand. Straw-colored with a fresh aroma of citrus and herbs. Dry and medium-bodied with flavors of chamomile, grapefruit, passion fruit, white pepper, and stone fruit.
Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]