Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – October 11, 2017

Eric Asimov wrote, “It is simply untrue that red wine and cheese cannot complement and improve each other. Good matches abound…More important, sound, practical reasons favor this historic combination, or at least, argue against fearing it.” Quoting Tia Keenan of Murray’s Cheese, “I tell people not to be afraid…The worst-case scenario is that you have a wine with a cheese that doesn’t really go so well together — nothing more tragic.” Tonight’s cheese are from Morgan and York in Ann Arbor, and our bread is from Whole Foods.

Pecorino Toscano Stagionato (Tuscony) - aged sheep's milk cheese from Tuscany, is less sharp than the well-known Pecorino Romano. Pecorino Toscano Stagionato is a DOP cheese (Protected Designation of Origin), that is created from local sheep's milk and, in the aged (4 months or more) form, to become drier, darker and more flavorful than a young Pecorino Toscano. Although raw or pasteurized milk (we have the pasteurized milk version) can be used to make the cheese, it’s made from the milk of animals fed on hay or dried grasses. The cheese is matured in a cellar during which it develops its texture and flavor, and the rind is rubbed with olive oil, all of which contribute to a rich, somewhat spicy flavor, still remaining quite creamy with nutty flavor and notes of butterscotch. The rind is inedible.

La Tur (Caseificio dell’Alta Langhe, Bosia) – tonight’s dense, stinky, creamy guilty Italian pleasure. Produced by the Caseificio in Langhe (a UNESCO world heritage area), this is a company (http://www.caseificioaltalanga.it/index.html) focuses more on softer style Italian cheeses. This is a blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk that is a runny cheese around a perimeter of a moist, cakey, palette-coating paste, this cheese is earthy and full with a lingering grassy, lemony lactic tang. It is definitely best served at room temperature, and the rind is edible. The mixed-milk curds are ladled into molds, where they age for ten days. Reminiscent of a French natural-rind crottin, when young, the silky layer is thin, the center soft and slighty grainy like a chevre. Then, during ripening, the silk completely takes over the cheese’s interior so that the center becomes creamy, shiny, and soft, like Camembert or Spanish Nevat. Spoons are useful!

Ossau-Iraty (Fromage Fermier Bergerou, Pyrenees) - an interesting, aromatic and nutty, somewhat buttery cheese that I thought might be a counterpoint to the above cheeses and provide a nice pairing to our wines. “Bergerou” is a coop of fifty farmers that began in 1983, formed to allow them to mature and sell cheese made from the milk of their own flock. Once the cheese is made, they are brought to a nearby facility where they are hand-brushed every 2-3 days to develop a natural rind, and then aged. This Ossau-Iraty is made from raw sheep’s milk and matured for 180 days. It seems to be pressed into form, where it further develops an incredibly thick, inedible rind.

 

 

Page last edited: May 10, 2024 (EB)

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