Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – October 12, 2022

Tonight's cheese and baguettes are from Whole Foods. These cheeses should pair nicely with tonight's medium body Pinot Noir from Russian River, California.

Neal's Yard, Mrs. Kirkhams Lancashire Aged Cheddar - In 1939 there were 202 farmhouse producers of Lancashire. Today, only the Kirkhams remain, with Graham Kirkham the third generation to follow in his family's footsteps by making raw milk Lancashire. The milk comes from their own herd of Holstein Friesian cows. Lancashire has an incredible texture. It is crumbly but still moist and is best eaten in chunks. Its flavors are lemony, yogurty, and bright, however not as acidic as some others. “Graham makes cheese like an artistic chef cooks,” beams Randolph Hodgson, owner of Neal’s Yard Dairy in London, the British cheesemonger that selects cheese for Zingerman's. Traditional Lancashire has a distinguishing feature, one that Graham is diligent about retaining. It's made from three different days' curd, not one. Graham selects among the three different days and mixes them by feel. He chops the curd, stuffs it by hand into a cloth-wrapped mold, presses them in one of his 19th Century hand presses, then butters the outside of the cloth before aging.

Emmi Swiss Raclette - is a versatile mild cheese (especially melted over food or with fondue) from the mountains of Savoie and is similar to other cheeses from that area such as Morbier. Like Morbier, it is a washed-rind cheese accounting for its somewhat pungent aroma. Heating releases the flavor of this cheese although on a cheese plate it goes well with fruity whites and lush red Burgundy and Merlot-based wines due to the cheese's mild taste. In France, most Raclettes are raw cheeses, but in Switzerland they are pasteurized. Ours is a Swiss pasteurized version since raw Raclette is harder to find due to strict American regulation of raw cheeses. The French word "racier" meansto scrape, as Alpine cheesemakers originally made their meals by scraping this cheese off rocks in their smoldering fires.

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