Produced in the Burgundy region of central France, Charolais is a small, drum-shaped cylinder that can be made from raw goat’s or cow's milk or a combination of both. Granted AOC (name protected) status in 2010, production of Charolais uses a time-consuming method of lactic fermentation, which results in a particularly fine, delicate texture in the end product. This means that instead of rennet being used for coagulation, the milk is allowed to ripen for a period of usually 12-24 hours, at which point is has naturally formed a gel-like curd. The curd is then gently ladled into forms and drained for several more hours before being unmolded. A period of affinage (aging) then takes place over a period of approximately three to four weeks. The rind of Charolais varies with age. When young, the rind is the color of pale straw, fairly soft and wrinkled. With age and as the cheeses lose moisture, the rind becomes firmer and coated in a dove grey and white mold that is often mottled with rust-colored patches.
Flavors are rich and sophisticated with fine, clean mineral and nutty notes.
Charolais pairs perfectly with fine, white, full bodied red wines such as Burgundy’s Santenay as well as a vintage Champagne.