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Assembling an End of Summer Cheeseboard with Domaine Chamfort Sablet La Pause Côtes du Rhône Villages 2019 #Winophiles #CotesduRhône #CotesduRhôneVillages #Sponsored

   This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Côtes du Rhône* for the September #Winophiles event. Complimentary wine was provided for this post though no other compensation was received. This page may contain affiliate links. 

This month the French Winophiles are exploring the wines of the Côtes du Rhône with event host Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm. AnCôtes du Rhône graciously provided some of the bloggers with samples.* If you're reading this early enough, jump on Twitter and follow the hashtags #Winophiles, #CotesduRhône, and #CotesduRhôneVillages. We'll be live on Saturday, September 18h at 8am Pacific time. Or you can peruse the stream at your leisure anytime by searching for those tags.

Here's the French Winophiles Côtes du Rhône line-up...

In the Glass

While I received a generous shipment of six wines, I immediately gravitated towards the Rosé in the package: Domaine Chamfort Sablet La Pause Côtes du Rhône Villages 2019. Vasco Perdigao and his partner, Sonia Léorat, acquired the winery in 2010 which is located in the Vallée du Rhône region at the base of the Dentelles de Montmirail, a mass of limestone rocks rife with oaks, pines, cedars, boxwood, and olive trees. The entire estate was converted to organic practices and earned its ECOCERT certification in 2018.


Coming from the Côtes du Rhône Villages Sablet appellation in the southern half France's Rhône Valley, this is a blend of equal parts Grenache and Syrah from vines that are between two and five decades old. 

There are three main methods for making Rosés: maceration method, saignée (in French means 'to bleed') method, and the "blend red wine with white wine" method. This is made with that second method; saignée means the winemaker "bled  off" liquid from the tank of juice for the red wine and used that siphoned off juice for the Rosé.

In the glass, this was a pale peach color, almost the hue of poached quince. On the nose, it was beautifully aromatic with hints of white flowers, tropical fruits, and citrus. On the palate, the wine had a bright acidity with a fullness from being aged on the lees. The mineral finish added a nice element to the tasting experience.

On the Platter

To go with the wine, I decided to share a some simple steps to create a beautiful, delicious array. Jake and I also created a video of making a cheese board for our CulinaryCam YouTube channel. You can view that here.

How to Create a Cheese Board

Step 1: Choose the Cheeses
I like to pick a variety of cheeses based on texture —soft, semisoft, and hard. You can also go with a mixture of different milk sources—cow, goat, or sheep. Or pick cheeses based on a geographical location—such as all French, all Italian, or all Spanish. A good rule of thumb is to select four or five cheeses and plan on 1 ounce of each cheese per person. I've given you some ideas of the cheeses in each texture category...
  • Semisoft: Havarti, young Gouda, Fontina
  • Semihard: Gruyère, Manchego, aged Gouda (photographed above), Comté
  • Hard: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, aged Manchego, Pecorino Romano, Mimolette 
  • Soft-ripened: Brie, Cambazola, Camembert
  • Blue: Stilton, Gorgonzola
  • Fresh: Ricotta, Chèvre, Fromage Blanc, farm cheeses
  • Washed-Rind: Limburger, St. Nuage, Taleggio, Epoisses de Bourgogne
Once you've chosen your cheeses, place them on a board equidistant apart. These are your anchors. Remember to take the cheese out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to serve them. If they are too cold, the flavors will be muted. 

For this board, Jenn picked up Havarti with Horseradish; Cotswold, cheddar with chives and onions; Point Reyes Farmstead Blue Cheese; and White Stilton with Ginger and Mango. Delish! We also had fresh mozzarella.

Step 2: Pick Some Pairings
While cheese can stand alone, of course, you might need a vehicle for putting some of the softer cheeses into your mouth. Crisp crackers or slices of baguette work well. I sliced up some of my Homemade Sourdough.

Step 3: Fill the Holes
When you've placed your cheeses and lined up your crackers, fill in bigger holes on the board. This is where you can have some fun with more colors and more textures. I like fruit for sweetness—grapes, fresh figs, pomegranates, mangoes, and kiwi) — and olives or charcuterie for saltiness. Now fill in whatever space is left with extras such as nuts and seeds (try Marcona almonds, pistachios, spiced pecans, or salted cashews). I added some brined olives and pickled walnuts.

For this board, I selected dried figs, pistachios, spiced or candied nuts (such as these), and I even added some small chocolates to round out the board. And I brought some pickled pears that inspired me to make my own batch. More on that soon...

Step 4: Don't Forget Utensils
Last, but not least, make sure each part of your board has a serving utensil where needed. Place small spoons or spreaders next to bowls of jam or tapenade; offer toothpicks for picking up fruit and olives; don't neglect the cheese knives! And, to keep flavors separate, ensure that each cheese has its own knife.

I have an embarrassing number of cheese knives. I even have a traditional Stilton scoop that I swore I needed but have never used. Here's a brief cheese knife guide, but use what you have. 
  • Hard, semihard, and semisoft cheeses can take a spade or a spear-tipped knife.
  • Semisoft, soft, and fresh cheeses need a spreader or a plane.
  • Crumbly cheese (such as blue cheese) and hard cheeses take a flat knife.
  • And a cheese fork can hold hard cheeses steady while slicing. 
One thing you can do to make life easier for your guests is to slice the harder cheeses up ahead of time so that people can just grab the pieces as they serve themselves.

That's it! Easy peasy, right? In four simple steps, you can have a colorful, flavorful cheese board that is worthy of a celebration...or just a regular day. We were enjoying a warm summer evening while we could! The temperature in the mornings has definitely dropped to feel like Fall.

Stay tuned for more of my Côtes du Rhône pairings. Actually the cheese board was just the starter for our dinner on the Gonzalez patio. Our dinner was a roasted pork tenderloin over farro.

And I poured the Xavier Vignon Arcane XIX Le Soleil 2015 from the Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC with the pork. I can't wait to share the recipe and my tasting notes.

 Find the Sponsor...

Côtes du Rhône on the web, on Instagram, on Facebook
*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.


  1. I love making cheese boards and I am so inspired by yours (love the video). As we head into fall I realize I should up my pickle game for my boards! Those pears look amazing and hard boiled quail eggs? I would never have thought of those, but how amazingly beautiful and elegant! I love all your fresh herbs for green. I can only imagine how beautifully this paired with the wine, both flavor wise and for setting the atmosphere!

    1. Thanks, Robin. I can't wait to test out my pickled pears. Soon. I'll report back.

  2. I really enjoyed this wine too! And a great guide for making a cheese board!

  3. Great looking cheese board! I tried a different rosé. It was fun that they included rosés in this event, I hadn't tasted any from the region that I recall.

  4. A bottle of wine and a cheese board is my favorite meal these days, and I definitely would love to dig into yours! Bon appetit!

  5. I'm with Robin - I need to add more pickled items to my cheese boards. Yours is such an inspiration! Loved this Sablet rosé, too.


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