Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – September 14, 2022

Tonight's cheese and baguettes are from Whole Foods. These cheeses - d'Affinois, Emmentaler and aged Gouda - are club favorites that should pair nicely with tonight's dry-to-sweet Riesling as well our older Bordeaux.

Fromage d'Affinois - A perennial favorite of our club and cardiologists world-wide. A French double-crème, soft-ripened cheese made from cow's-milk by the Fromagerie Guilloteau. In 1981, Jean-Claude Guilloteau took over a small cheese factory in Villemoirieu. He then called on the inventor of ultrafiltration, who applied his innovation on Guillauteau cheeses. In 1983, Fromagerie Guilloteau was founded in Pélussin and, in the same year, presented its first product baptized as cheese "Pavé d'Affinois", which takes its name from its cubic form. Though similar in production, appearance and flavor of Brie, it isn't! Unlike Brie, the cow's milk undergoes ultrafiltration, removing water from the pasteurized milk, thus increasing its flavor, creaminess, nutrients and proteins. With a fat content of 60%, Fromage d'Affinois qualifies as a double-crème cheese, which positions it halfway between a classic Brie (about 45% fat) and a buttery triple-crème, like Brillat-Savarin (about 75%). Its sweet mild flavor does not have the mushroomy earthiness found in Brie, but is creamier and softer, fabulously spread on a fresh baguette or a great cracker. It is ideal with both a dry and sweet German Riesling as well as a fruity Pinot Noir.

Emmentaler Cave Kaltbach - This Swiss cheese is a pasteurized cow's milk product aged in the sandstone caves of Kaltbach. Only the best wheels of Emmi Roth's Lucerne Emmentaler are selected for this cheese. An unmistakable blackish brown rind forms around the 200 pound wheel of Emmentaler during the cave-aging process, while the fruity and nutty flavors intensify with notable crystals lending a unique texture. The best known of the Swiss cheeses, Emmentaler cheese is famous for its open texture or 'eyes'. However, Kaltbach Emmentaler AOP is more than just the characteristic holes. It is about the hallmark black-brown patina that develops as the cheese matures for 3 months in the cheese dairy and for more than 300 days in the caves. During this maturation process, white crystals and drops of water are formed from the cheese, known as "tears of joy". The cave maturation results in a tangy, nutty flavour and a crumbly, slightly crystalline texture, typical of the fine Swiss classic from the caves. Our cheese is aged for 12 months; there is a 15-month cheese sold, but in the past I thought that one it had lost some of the tanginess and sublte flavors of the 12-month cheese.

3-Year Aged Gouda - Clarina Reserve Aged Gouda - a traditional cow's milk Gouda (pronounced Howda) from the Netherlands. Clarina is the name given to this cheese by the Dutch Cheese Makers Corporation (Specialty Food Association) and is currently the official importer of Artikaas goudas from Holland.  Our Gouda tonight has been aged 36 months, which should make it hard and crumbly. Artikaas has a 5 year aged version that I could not find. This is a very firm, textured Gouda with a salt flavor and a butterscoth and hazelnut finish. As Gouda ages it gains a deep golden color with hints of the flavor of butterscotch, and properly aged it is grainy, salty, tangy and is somewhat sharp with a long finish. Although I've paired Gouda with red wines such as the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, I hope this will prove a nice complement of tonight's Bordeaux wines.




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