Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – September 15, 2010

Tonight"s cheeses are from the Whole Foods on Orchard Lake Road. The bread is again from the Give Thanks Bakery in Rochester.

Usually when we taste Italian wines we have generally sampled Italian cheeses. However, somewhat counter intuitively, I have selected two highly-rated prize-winning American cheeses that are famous worldwide.

Fiscalini Farms San Joaquin Gold, Bandage Wrapped Raw Cow Farmstead Cheddar has won numerous international awards including a Gold Medal in London at The World Cheese Awards in 2004, 2005, and the Silver Medal in 2006. (See enclosed information from the cheese maker). The third generation of the family continues the livestock-raising and cheese-making traditions of its Swiss ancestors. Last year we tasted Montgomery Farmhouse Cheddar that is considered the world's greatest cheddar, and is the one all others are measured against. Fiscalini has been favorably compared to Montgomery in numerous articles. It is a semi-hard cheese with a mild, buttery and somewhat nutty taste. It is well-balanced and mildly sharp without being bitter. The San Joaquin Gold is bandaged in cheesecloth and aged at least 16 months, and is more complex than most American aged cheddars. It is a great match, as are most aged cheddars, with full-bodied red wines, be they Bordeaux, Burgundys, Rhones, Italians or New Worlds. Enjoy this artisan, hand-made aged cheese by one of America's great cheesemakers.

Cypress Grove Midnight Moon Gouda (Pasteurized, Goat) is another award-winning cheese from Mary Keehn, the maker of one of Le Tastevin's favorite cheeses, Humboldt Fog. Aged six months or more, this pale ivory cheese is firm, dense, and smooth with the slight graininess of a long-aged cheese. The complex flavor is nutty and brown buttery with prominent caramel and butterscotch notes, and a slight saltiness. The wheel is finished in an inedible but beautiful black wax, and is made in Holland expressly for Cypress Grove according to its selection and maturation specifications. This is a very flavorful, intense cheese with an incredibly long, sweet finish that melts on your tongue and is best tasted in thin slices. "The Cheese Goddess" and "The Cheesemonger" blogs have both stated that "Midnight Moon is pure cheese porn". See the attached Cheese Goddess article and enjoy a good cheese "made for the lover in us all".

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