Classic Pairing: Goat Cheese with Sauvignon Blanc (Video)

by Liz Caskey on January 30, 2012

Yesterday I turned 35. For many years, I always felt I had to do something to celebrate my birthday. Trips to Buenos Aires, the beaches of Uruguay, parties on terraces, etc. etc.  Perhaps it was because for most of my life before I moved to South America, my birthday always fell smack in the middle of winter. In fact, I was born during a blizzard. The novelty of having a summer birthday has not worn off and I usually feel the need to “maximize” it.

Perhaps it’s maturity, or maybe a heavy travel schedule (most likely the latter!), but I was perfectly content with not doing anything for my birthday this year. At first, my husband eyed me with concern as it was so unlike me. Birthdays are about doing what you want, and this year I had zero anxiety about laying low. I didn’t feel like producing a dinner party to surround myself with friends…and then have to shop, cook, and clean it all up. Too big of a project. I didn’t need to get on a plane, in a car, a train, or any mode of transportation to go anywhere other than my own feet. After moving around so much in Peru for two weeks and our next trip closing in quickly (10 days in Uruguay), the idea of being at home seemed like the biggest luxury of all.

So my birthday theme evolved into “chilling at home”. A mini-staycation if you will. I had an amazing facial and manicure this weekend at Ambar Spa, 1.5 blocks from my front door (facial seriously did wonders for my skin). We ordered my favorite sushi from Kintaro, and kicked a great bottle of Cariblanco Sauvignon Blanc from Kingston Vineyards. A girlfriend unexpectedly came over for a Happy Birthday visit (what a great gift). I talked to family and felt the love on Facebook from everyone with the birthday greetings. Late afternoon, we went on a long walk through Parque Forestal and meandered the side streets of Lastarria. We climbed Santa Lucía for stunning views of Santiago and sunbathed on the terraces as a strong, balmy breeze enveloped us and we could see up to the ski resorts with a naked eye. No cake for this birthday girl, I had my eye on one (big) scoop of mocha ice cream from Café del Opera, laced with cinnamon. With the mercury near 88F, it was the perfect ice cream afternoon. So I have arrived to the second half of my 30s. It’s a good place to be, honestly.

We are in the middle of summer and I have decreased my consumption of red wine ten-fold. A big, heavy Malbec with this heat? Pass. That being said, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is so crisp and delicious it makes for the perfect aperitif any time of the year. One of the classic pairing is Sauvignon Blanc and goat cheese. If you have not tried this, you really need to try this reference. There’s a reason it works. The tang in the cheese and the acidity in the wine make it “pop”, which creates momentary bliss in your mouth. Yay.

Goat cheese in Chile hails predominantly from the Northern semi-arid region known as Ovalle where goats graze free range on the short grasses of steep hill sides peppered by cacti. Only partially pasteurized, this cheese has a tangy flavor that can range from soft to hard in texture depending on the time of year and aging. In this video, I pair Emiliana Organico’s zingy Sauvignon Blanc with a zesty chevre-style goat cheese is a natural partner for this Sauvignon Blanc. The acidities of the cheese and wine gently coax out the cheeses’ creaminess while capitalizing on the wine’s juicy fruit. A crunchy topping of sweet cherry tomatoes that are in season (these are as sweet as candy!) and a touch of green herbs make the flavors grow in-crescendo. It’s an easy way to start any meal. You’re in winter? No worries, just add these toasty croutons to a steaming soup like pumpkin, lentil, or roasted tomato. Works like a charm.


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