Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – April 24, 2012

Queso de Cabra Ibores AI Pimentino (Spain, pasteurized goat's milk, semi-soft, rubbed with Paprika and extra-virgin olive oil) - Here is a delightfully accessible, aged, zesty goat's cheese that has been made in pri-mordial sheep country since Roman times. On the stork, scalded plains of Extremadura, Verada and Retinta goats pick about nourishing the special milk that becomes Ibores. Some wheels, such as ours, are rubbed in smoky pimenton (paprika) and extra-virgin olive oil, which provides a distinct, but subtle, character. Ibores features a semisoft to semi-hard paste with a light airy consistency: it is compact yet open textured with small eyeholes. Its flavors are a little salty and moderately acidic with earthy notes and an underlying sweetness. There is a pleasing aftertaste of dried fruits and a hint of spiciness in the pigmented versions, which are considered to be the more distinguished Ibores cheeses. It is unmistakably goat cheese and is considered to be very wine friendly, with both white and red wines, including Burgundies, Barbarescos, Merlots and Rhones. Ibores is usually available only late fall to mid-summer. Last tasted April 29, 2009.

Pecorino Toscano Stagionato D.O.P. (Italy ,Sheep's milk firm, aged over 6 months, artisana/ version rubbed in extra virgin olive oil) - Pecora is the Italian word for sheep; Pecorino is the name for cheese from sheep milk. There are hundred of types of Pecorinos all over central and southern Italy, and they are roughly divided into major regional categories: Romano, Toscano, Sardo, and Siciiano to name a few. Pecorino Toscano is the tops! Young Toscano (3 weeks) is a pale rindless wheel which bears little resemblance to our aged Stagionato. To make an aged Stagionato, the curd is cut smaller, to release more whey. The wheels are then pressed to firm them and brined or salt dried. As the wheels ripen, they are rubbed with extra-virgin olive oil prior to and during aging to encourage rind development, and to inhibit the growth of undesirable mold and bacteria. Consumed young, it is best with white wines. Aged Toscano is rough, crumbly and rugged with maturity. Aged for four to twelve months, it develops a sheepy, nutty, olivey edge and a slight degree of sharpness with a mild peppery finish. Like all great sheep milk's cheese, its flavor can become intense and savory with age, but retaining an underlying sweetness and mellowness. The hard rind is considered inedible. Aged Pecorino Toscano pairs best with more focused red wines such as Barberas, Merlots, Sangioveses, and Burgundies.

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