Editor's Note: Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein joins us again with wine recommendations for our favorite Serious Eats recipes. Evan is the author of two fantastic wine books: Perfect Pairings and Daring Pairings. Looking for wine recommendations for your favorite recipe? Leave Evan a note in the comments.
Gougères are not just any cheese puffs. I first tasted them in Burgundy, at a wine tasting in Chassagne Montrachet. The pastry was still warm, with just a touch of toasty resistance to the tooth, and a smooth, melting interior. I was in heaven. I devoured them again in Champagne, and all over France, each time finding myself paradise bound.
There's often Gruyere folded into the pâte à choux for gougères, but they're also delicious with Parmesan (and a sprinkle of pink peppercorns) as in this recipe.
This rendition of gougères has a subtle kick to it from the peppercorns. The effervescence of Champagne can act as both a soft fire extinguisher and a textural foil to the dish. You'll want to look for sparkling wines with notes of hazelnut, pear, toast, and a kiss of citrus or apply acidity...and of course, creamy smooth bubbles. Make the gougères, grab a case of sparkling wine, and you're ready for New Year's Eve!
Medium bodied reds like Pinot Noir are also an excellent choice with this dish. The acidity of these wines can cut both the richness of the pastry and the sharper edge of Parmesan and pink pepper. Versions with sour red cherry and violet notes and a gingery bite will be bliss. It's a near-seamless match, since the light tannins of the wine almost disappear alongside the peppery spice. If you're not feeling bubbly or red, mineral-forward whites will be mighty happy—their bright acid and limey, chalky nuances will set off the gougères beautifully.
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Evan's Wine Picks
Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Blanc de Blancs Columbia Valley: Notes of pears, apples, and citrus blossom at a price that won't sting (About $11, find this wine)
Cordoniu NV 'Anna' Brut Cava: OK, not Champagne but neither is the price. This bubbly is punctuated with apples, citrus, and a light minerality (About $13, find this wine)
Mumm Cuvee Napa Brut Blanc de Blancs (2006): This lovely Chardonnay-based wine has a creamy texture and is accented with floral notes, yellow apples, and green pear. (Around $27, find this wine)
Drappier Brut Champagne Carte d'Or NV: This amazing fizz has hints of citrus, soft toast, a little bread dough, and a gingery finish. (Around $42, find this wine)
Seguin Manuel Bourgogne (2008): Charming in its zesty cranberry and pomegranate fruit with spice and balanced tannins (About $17, find this wine)
Domaine Chofflet-Valdenaire Givry (2007) Zesty red fruit (cherry and raspberry) with approachable tannins and a complex finish (About $25, find this wine)
Neudorf 'Tom's Block' Nelson Pinot Noir (2008): This New Zealand bottling is not from the expected Marlborough or Central Otago but delivers excellent cherry, tangy cranberry fruit with zippy acidity and a minerally complexity. (Around $30, find this wine)
Ramonet, Bourgogne Aligoté (2007): Notes of white stone fruit, chalky river rock, and green apple permeate this surprisingly complex under-the-radar wine from Burgundy. A touch of lemon curd on your gougère! (Around $24, find this wine)
Bindi "Composition' Chardonnay (2007): This Aussie expression of Chardonnay is just like being in Puligny Montrachet! Meyer lemon, lime, crushed minerals, and vibrant (almost austere) structure with a long lingering finish. Extraordinary against the parmesan backdrop of the gougères. (Around $40, find this wine)