Perfect Pairings · Soft and Sparkling

As temperatures take a nose dive here in Melbourne, it’s the perfect time to re-acquaint ourselves with the most indulgent, savoury and satisfying of flavour combinations – CHEESE and WINE.

For the month of July, we’ve sought the wisdom of Dan Murphy’s sommelier Peter Nixon, and cheesemonger Laura Lown from amazing Melbourne fromagerie Milk the Cow, who each week will take us through a perfect wine and cheese pairing. They’re kicking off today with our all time favourite combo: soft cheese with sparkling wine!

Peter has more than 24 years of experience in the wine and hospitality industry, and is a passionate advocate for local wines. Born in London, he studied wine marketing at Adelaide University and also trained as a chef! Peter has been at Dan Murphy’s since 2008, where he is currently the Head of Wine Range Development.

As cheesemonger at Milk The Cow (located in St Kilda and Carlton), Laura Lown knows everything there is to know about cheese!  Also hailing from the UK, she has worked in the cheese industry for more than 12 years, beginning her career at Paxton & Whitfield (London’s most famous cheese shop!) before relocating to set up Milk The Cow in 2012. 

Peter Nixon & Laura Lown
In partnership with Dan Murphy's

Sparkling wine pairs perfectly with soft, surface-ripened cheeses, like Bries and Camemberts. Here our experts have matched La Tur soft-ripened cheese and Brillat Savarin with House of Arras Blanc de Blancs Tasmanian NV – 100% Chardonnay and Taltarni Blanc de Blancs Victorian Vintage – 100% Chardonnay.


Soft, surface-ripened cheeses are created by adding or spraying moulds to the milk, or directly onto the surface of the cheese. The curd is gently poured or ladled into hoops to drain, and this results in an edible bloomy rind, which breaks down the interior of the cheese from the outside through to the centre. Cheeses like Bries and Camemberts fall into this category, and dependent on where they are made, as well as their age and affineur, they will embody an array of different flavour characteristics. Two of our favourites are below.

La Tur soft-ripened cheese ($23.00 for 180g)

This is more of a delicious dessert cupcake rather than a cheese! Produced between Alba and Cortemilla in northern Italy, it combines a blend of cow, goat and sheep milk and as a result exhibits a range of flavours. Production requires gentle handling of the curd in order to retain the high moisture level, and the cheese is young, delicate and mousse-like. There are subtle tones of mushroom, nuttiness, and rich sweetness produced by the blend of milks, but overall, this cheese reminiscent of creme fraiche and butter. It’s the perfect to match with Champagnes and sparkling wines because those creamy bubbles cut right through the rich texture of the cheese.

Brillat Savarin ($14 per 100g)

With over 75% fat in this little cheese, it’s very indulgent! Much like butter-cream icing, it was created in the 1950’s and named after the 18th century gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat Savarin, who wrote such books as The Physiology of Taste. Its high fat content means it is not only rich and creamy, but has a slight lactic tang and a slightly chalky texture. This the the cheese you would take on a picnic, with strawberries and sparkling wine, to create a most memorable moment!

Laura Lown, Venue Manager and Cheesemonger at Milk The Cow, pictured with a selection of their amazing cheeses that we will be featuring this month. Styling – Nat Turnbull, Photo – Eve Wilson.

Tastings for one. Props (from left to right) Tapas Plate from Country Road, Dearborn Champagne flute by Fferrone, Sands Made thin plate from Make Design Object, Copper-tip knife from Cibi. Styling – Nat Turnbull, Photo – Eve Wilson.


A high-fat, rich cheese calls for a wine style with strong acidity and linear structure. A methode traditionelle (aka bottle fermented sparkling wine made like Champagne) is a perfect choice, and one that is often overlooked. Even better is a Blanc de Blanc example, made entirely from Chardonnay grapes. Such examples offer white flowers, citrus and a light nutty character that is a perfect complement to Brie.

House of Arras Blanc de Blancs Tasmanian NV – 100% Chardonnay ($59.99)

Tasmania produces some excellent sparkling wines, equal to many prestige Champagnes. Winemaker Ed Carr produces the wonderful new Arras Blanc de Blancs, a sparkling wine that truly expresses the attributes of prestige Tasmanian Chardonnay. The wine itself is a masterpiece that possesses a brilliant clarity and ultra-fine persistent bead. Lifted citrus of grapefruit and lemon zest are complimented with buttered toast.

Taltarni Blanc de Blancs Victorian Vintage – 100% Chardonnay ($19.99)

The Taltarni Blanc de Blancs is a brilliant addition to the already impressive Taltarni sparkling range; giving an added level of prestige and refinement. Using fruit sourced from the best parcels of cool-climate Victorian Chardonnay, and following the traditional method, the 100% Chardonnay sparkling is classic in nature with notes of subtle peach and lemon. The finish is textural and engaging, yet with bold natural acidity a perfect partner for soft cheese.

If you’re looking for more drink inspiration, join My Dan Murphy’s. It’s free and you’ll also get exclusive offers, plus access to special events and masterclasses. 

Peter Nixon, Head of Wine Range Development at Dan Murphy’s. Styling – Nat Turnbull, Photo – Eve Wilson.

Pairing House of Arras Blanc de Blancs Tasmania NV – 100% Chardonnay from Dan Murphy’s with Triple Cream Brie – L’Artisan Mountain Man Triple-Cream from Milk The Cow. Props (from left to right) Flat plate by Valerie Restarick, Copper-tip knife from Cibi, and Iittala essence champagne glass from Make Design Object. Styling – Nat Turnbull, Photo – Eve Wilson.