Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on the Cheeses - October 14, 2009

Tonight's cheese are from Whole Foods on Orchard Lake Road. The French "epi" loaves are once again from The Give Thanks Bakery in Rochester.

Uniekaas Reserve Aged Gouda - a traditional cow's milk Gouda (pronounced How-da) from The Netherlands. Uniekaas is the country's largest cheese producer, but they still hand-make several Artisinal cheeses such as this reserve. Boerenkaas, literally "farmer's cheese", is a raw milk version from small producers, and is more difficult to obtain in America. Our Gouda tonight is equally delicious, however, and has been aged 18-24 months, which makes it not as hard and crumbly as the 3-5 year aged versions. This is a firm, textured Gouda with a mild salt flavor and a perfect hazelnut finish. As Gouda ages it gains a deep golden color with hints of the flavor of butterscotch. It is smowhat sharp with a long finish, and pairs best with red wines that have a toasty, raisiny quality such as cabernet- and merlot-based Bordeaux's of tonight's tasting.

Mattica Taleggio - made from raw cow's milk from the region of Lombardy, aged at least 60 days to allow it to be sold in the United States. It has a thin, golden-orange crust with a greyish bloom and a stong, pungent smell typical of cheeses repeatedly washed with brine. Under the rind is a semi-firm, creamy cheese with a surprisingly gentle, buttery, mild flavor. The taste is fruity and slightly salty and tangy, becoming increasingly full-flavored, beefy and earthy as it ages. Taleggio is Northern Italy's best-kept secret and is considered the most refined and sophisticated of all Italian cheeses. It goes well with bold red wines with earthy overtones, and has been a Le Tastevin favorite at Brodeaux tastings in the past.

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