Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – September 13, 2017

Our Australian Shiraz wines exhibit rich fruit, and, like last year's pairing, will be matched with cheeses having a creamy fat content and Omani. Tonight’s cheeses are from Zingerman's Creamery in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the breads are from Whole Foods. These two cheeses are a treat. Both are boutique American efforts for the upscale market that doesn't skimp on quality. Expensive, yes, but delicious and award-winning cheeses.

Anabasque (Landmark Creamery, Albany, Wisconsin) is inspired by Ossau Iraty and Abbaye de Belloc. This is a sheeps milk cheese (pasteurized) sourced from a single family farm. The cheesemaker, Anna Landmark, makes their cheese at Cedar Gove Cheese, a creamery that supports other beginning businesses. Production is limited to about 500 pounds a week, the sheeps milk is given some Brevibacterium linens ("stinky") to curd the sheeps milk for aroma, then the wheels are repeatedly washed with salt water (the rind is often a rust red), then "cave-aged" for a minimum of three months. Perfect with Syrah, this cheese exhibits a fruity, peanuty and salty attack this is best consumed in thin slices. The interior is semi-firm to firm, with mild notes of nuts and custard.

Byley Hazen Blue (Jasper Hill Farm, Greensboro, Vermont) is another award-winning cows milk blue cheese that is sourced from a small herd of Ayrshire cows. Jasper Hill Farm is a project of Mateo and Andy Kehler beginning in 2002. Andy manages the herd, rotating them on fresh pasture, which results in milk of high fat and protein. The brothers dug a series of hillside aging tunnels for their affinage. This raw cows milk cheese is a bold counterpoint to tonight's fruity wines. Encased in a soft, natural rind, it is slightly drier than other American blue cheeses. This cheese is aged for about 3-4 months, and shows a distinct, rich creamy taste with notes of roasted nuts and sweet licorice.

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