Ratafia Champenois and Cheese Pairings
11th January 2022
One of the most amazing taste experiences between a wine and cheese for me is that of Ratafia Champenois and soft (creamy) cheese. The combination of the creamy savoury flavours of the cheese brings about an amazing warm honey and caramel explosion in the palate and concludes in prolonged nutty, creamy, prune and many more delights in the length.
Champagne, the world famous sparkling wine, is of course itself a great pairing idea for cheeses with its ability to cleanse the palate and again enhance flavours. It’s a freshening combination that lightens the texture of the cheese whereas the Ratafia Champenois, being a heavier wine, does the opposite.
What is Ratafia Champenois? Find out more here.
For this Ratafia Champenois and Cheese pairing we went with five different Ratafia Labels and opted for four creamy style cheese. Here follows a little bit more information about the wines:
Daniel Etienne – Tasting notes: “An oaky, tobacco expression on the nose with added prunes, cognac and caramel. Flavours show a smooth oaky caramel, touch of yeasty bread, walnut, dried apricot. A long, persistent palate, most pleasant and certainly should have received at least a silver medal at the London 2020 awards IMHO.”
Pierre Mignon – (Gold Medal at London Ratafia Champenois Awards 2020) – Tasting notes: “Freshly picked walnuts, sponge cake soaked in cognac, chalk, dried peach and apricot on the nose. Plenty of flavours that ignite with length in the palate. Brioche, apricot, caramel, walnut oil, fresh oak.”
Jérome Benoit – (Gold Medal at London Ratafia Champenois Awards 2020) – Tasting notes: “Green fruits, fresh tobacco leaves, damp aged oak, caramel pastries on the nose. Soft pleasant flavours, initially a blast of sweetness then defined caramel, prunes in syrup and dried peach slices – Walnut oil and a saline caramel at the close.”
Jacques Picard – (Gold Medal at London Ratafia Champenois Awards 2020) – Tasting notes: “Rather a faint expression on the nose with brioche, dark chocolate, green fruits. Silky green fruits initially pushing over to golden syrup, white floral, green fruits, dried apricot in the length.”
Patrick Soutiran – (Silver Medal at London Ratafia Champenois Awards 2020) – Tasting notes: “Green fruits, green tobacco leaves, cognac on the nose. Touch aggressive in flavour deliverance initially then goes over to green fruits, glazed green fruits, caramel.”
Soft Cheese and their Pairing Notes:
Camembert D’Isigny Sainte-Mére – “A wonderful creamy honey and caramel burst initially which slowly fades to the savoury flavours from the cheese. An easy pairing and a compliment to both. Champenois Ratafia Jerome Benoit used.”
Brie – “A wonderful and ever so more’ish showing of caramel and honey from the Daniel Etienne Ratafia Champenois initially then a creamy sweet yellow fruit mid-length with an ending of savoury creamy honey / walnut.”
Chaource Burgundy – “Really works well when paired with Ratafia Champenois (Pierre Mignon). Delivers a great abundance of dark caramel / honey / yellow floral flavours initially then the cheese fights back with a silky savoury length. These two work in harmony together and yet allow these best characters to shine. Any saline in neutralised.”
Castello Creamy Blue – “Here I am very impressed. The Jacque Picard Ratafia Champenois delivers a creamy saline honey and dark caramel with mid length of ripe sweet prunes and figs with a creamy (fatty style) honey savoury flavours of the blue cheese at the close yet once again any saline character is neutralised.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.