Baton Rouge’s wine scene reaches new heights with its first specialty cheese, charcuterie and wine shop

A longtime passion for food and wine inspired Scott Higgins to leave a career in finance and technology and open a bar. His craft bar, Mouton, opened in White Star Market last May. Now, Higgins has something else up his sleeve. The 40-year-old is about to open 3Tails, a new wine, cheese and charcuterie shop across the plaza from the market in Square 46.

We caught up with Higgins about how things are going at Mouton, what visitors can find at 3Tails and what wine trends we shouldn’t miss in 2019.

How did you get into wine?
I’ve always been into it. I even spent my 21st birthday in Napa. For about 10 years recently, I had a side business doing detailed catered dinners with wine pairings. I got serious about it two years ago when I decided to make it my full-time career. The first step was beefing up my education. I became a level two sommelier in March 2018.

Mouton has been such a huge part of the White Star Market experience. What’s new there?
We’re always bringing in new selections of wine and beer and changing our cocktail menu. In fact, we’re about to launch eight new cocktails over the coming weeks. Things continue to rock along inside the market with eight other vendors. It’s been great.

Tell us about your soon-to-open shop, 3Tails.
We’ll have a tightly curated selection of wine, cheese and charcuterie, as well as a small beer and spirits selection made up of things that I think are the best expression of a particular style. Selecting what’s on the shelves is not something I take lightly. Everything will be really carefully chosen. We will have three rotating cheese samples out on the counter every day. We’ll have regular wine tastings in addition to private classes. We’re working on logistics, but we will announce a cheese board option through White Star Market soon.

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What are some of the hot varietals or wine trends to be aware of this year?
It’s a good time to try a tibouren. It’s a grape similar to a pinot noir but has a slightly earthy profile, and it’s nice and approachable. In terms of regions, anything from Mount Etna in Sicily

is hot right now, so it’s worth seeking out some of those. Finally, so-called “orange” wines, or skin-contact wines, are fun to explore. They’re white wines, like pinot grigio, where the grape skin is put back in for a period of time, which really pulls out the flavor. A beautiful one is the Franco Terpin Sialis, a 2011 pinot grigio, which we’ll have.

What’s your current favorite wine and cheese pairing?
I think of cheese as being seasonal, so for fall and winter, I’ve really liked the triple cream-style cheese Rush Creek Reserve made by Uplands Cheese Company in Wisconsin. It goes great with something bigger bodied like a cabernet sauvignon. Anytime you have a lot of fat and protein, something with heavy tannins pairs exceptionally well, because the fat softens the tannins and the tannins mitigate the fat.

How about as the weather gets warmer?
Any cheese, except goat cheese, goes well with a cru Beaujolais, which is different from a Beaujolais nouveau. These are made from gamay grapes from 10 different regions in France. They’re structured, ageable and light, and are great summertime wines that will appeal to Old World pinot noir lovers.

Why not pair it with goat cheese?
Goat cheese is extremely hard to pair. It has a chalky dryness that washes out your palate, so when you eat it with a red especially, it flattens out the tannins and you lose many of the notes. And the wine flattens the taste of the cheese. Not a good pairing. 3tailsbr.com

Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

This article was originally published in the March 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.