Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – January 13, 2016

These cheeses represent opposites in taste and texture, but have been selected because they are compatible with the wines we will taste tonight.

Cypress Grove Midnight Moon Gouda (Pasteurized Goat's milk, Made in Holland) 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 for Cypress Grove according to its selection and maturation specifications. This is a very flavor-intense cheese with an incredibly long, sweet finish, which melts on your tongue (best tasted in thin slices). The "Cheese Goddess" and the "Cheese Monger" blogs have both stated that "Midnight Moon is pure cheese porn". Midnight Moon has received top accolades from cheese masters worldwide, in fact winning Best in Show for the 2010 World Cheese Championships among many other top cheese awards over the last 12 years since its creation.

The Drunken Goat (Queso de Murchia al Vino, pasteurized semi-soft Goat's milk Metica Cheese, bathed in red wine) is a semi-soft, slightly aged goat cheese that is cured in local Yecla or Jumilla wines for 2-4 days. The paste remains white while the violet rind imparts a fresh, fruity grapiness that is mild, sweet and easy to eat, with no hint of animal. The rind is edible and the cheese is creamier and smoother than many cherve samples we've tasted, with a clean, distinct flavor. An easy, crowd-pleasing introduction to the family of wine-soaked cheeses often known (at least to Italians) as umbriaco. As an alternative, I have included a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano for those members who would enjoy a traditional hard Italian cheese to accompany a slice or two of Genoa Salami or Proscuitto di Parma.

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