December Cheese Club: Iowa

Cheese Clubletivaz-cheeseGenillard Philippe and Marianne
L’Etivaz AOP
Ormont-Dessus, Switzerland

L’Etivaz AOP is a hard alpine cheese produced by hand in over 100 creameries in the Vaud Alps between May and October using raw milk, under an open fire and the traditional recipe. The long ripening process brings out the rich, powerful aromas which come from the large amounts of herbs the cows consume. This is an excellent dessert cheese, fondue, or cheese that will compliment many cuisines. Members will enjoy two distinctive varieties of the L’Etivaz AOP, both a floral and onion style.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: When pairing wine with this cheese, reach for a Crisp Chardonnay, a Fruity Barbera d’Alba, or a Fruity Pinot Noir. For beer, grab something light and crisp, such as a Hard Cider.

WINESTYLES: Crisp or Fruity
BEERSTYLES:
Crisp and Clean

PRODUCTION:
The Alpine pastures are situated at an altitude of between 1,000 to 2,000 meters. The raw milk comes from cows which graze on the natural pastures of the Vaud Alps and Alpine foothills. It is these pastures, rich in wild flowers, that create the aroma and provide the unique flavor of L’Etivaz AOP. To make the cheese, t
he milk from the evening milking is stocked in churns until the following morning, when the cheesemaker skims off the cream with a ladle. The evening milk and morning milk are then poured into a copper cauldron. The milk, enriched with lactic bacteria obtained from the production center itself, is gently heated to 89.6°F over a wood fire. The cheesemaker then adds the rennet, which consists of natural enzymes extracted exclusively from the abomasum of young calves. After stirring the milk for a few minutes the cheesemaker stops the mixer and allows the milk to rest so that it can curdle.

The cheesemaker then stretches a cheesecloth on a rod, slides it under the curds and lifts out the cheese mass which he then puts into a mould and presses. The wheel of cheese thus formed must subsequently be turned over several times. The producer then puts the L’Etivaz AOP casein mark on it as well as his initials in order to be able to guarantee traceability. The wheels remain in the press until the following morning. Weighing between 33 and 84 lbs., the wheels are rubbed with cheese dairy salt and kept at the alpine production center for a maximum of 7 days. For more information, click here.

 

 

Monthly Cheese ClubDon’t let your Wine Club go home alone!

Join our Cheese Club and bring home a match made in heaven!

If you enjoy pairing cheese with wine, this is your club!  Each month you’ll discover specialty and artisan cheeses to pair with your Wine Club. Monthly cheese selections are chosen by your local WineStyles participating location. It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing artisan cheese every month! Only $19.99/month and your wine won’t be lonely!  Click to learn more >

November Cheese Club: Iowa

Cheese ClubCrucolo Il Piu SaporitoRifugio Crucolo
Crucolo Il Piu Saporito
Scurelle, Italy

Crucolo “Il Piu Saporito”, which means “more tasty”, is a semi-hard, mild asiago cheese coming from the Trentino region in northern Italy. The milk to make this cheese is selected from the cows that roam the pastures beneath the Trento Mountains. Crucolo has a surprisingly tangy finish to its creamy flavor.

The center is white and buttery with diffused and uniform holes, making for a very characteristic cheese. The sub-crust is evenly distributed – an indicator of great attention to detail during the ripening period. The ripening process lasts over 60 days, and must be performed under optimum temperature and humidity conditions. In the aging period, the cheese forms are wetted and washed with water, then turned twice a week. The final product boasts flavors that are sweet, slightly sour, and perfectly salty with a slight bitter-spicy note.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Reach for our November Wine Club wine, Finca Buenaventura Aureo Cabernet Sauvignon, when pairing with this cheese. For beer, grab a Hard Cider or a Porter when pairing with this cheese.

WINESTYLES: Bold
BEERSTYLES:
Fruity and Spicy

ABOUT RIFUGIO CRUCOLO:
The company takes its name from the place where it was built, and still today is the restaurant Rifugio Crucolo, on the “top” of the mountain in the heart of Val Campelle- halfway between the Valsugana and the Lagorai mountain range.

The Crucolo Refuge has entered the register of historic businesses, as it has remained in the same family management since 1782. Thanks to the love and loyalty of customers, the Crucolo company continues to grow each year. Today, they are exporting their own brand of cured meats, cheeses, and liqueurs worldwide.


GarrotxaSant Gil d’Albió
Garrotxa
Catalonia, Spain

Gorratxa, pronounced ‘ga-ROCH-ah’, is a semi-ripened cheese with a natural flowery rind. Made with pasteurized goat’s milk, it is creamy and compact texture in the cut. This moist and cakey Catalonian import is fast becoming Spain’s most famous goat cheese. Crafted in the foothills of Northern Spain, Garrotxa offers a white pepper piquancy and looks like a river-stone. Its milky, delicate taste is not at all typical of a goat’s cheese. The full-bodied cheese is rich in flavor with a soft paste and a moist, creamy, yet almost flaky, texture. It is covered by a velvety grey mould coating that lends it a woody aroma, yet the rind is not ideal for eating. Garrotxa’s flavor is reminiscent of damp earth underlined by slightly nutty & herbal essences.

HOW IT IS MADE:
Made with pasteurized goat’s milk, then aged for several weeks in caves to ensure the delicately, cakey texture won’t harden up.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS: For wine, pair with a Cava or the Finca Buenaventura Aureo Chardonnay from this month’s Wine Club. The clean, lactic qualities of the cheese strike harmoniously with the fruitiness of these two wines.  For beer, look to pair with a Farmhouse Ale or Sour from our Sour, Tart and Funky or Fruity and Spicy sections.

WINESTYLES: Silky, Nectar, or Bubbly
BEERSTYLES: Sour, Tart and Funky, or Fruity and Spicy

ABOUT SANT GIL D’ALBIÓ:
Sant Gil d’Albió is a family business in Catalonia, Spain, with 35 years of experience in the production of artisanal cheeses. Currently produce close to 90,000 kg (about 198,416 pounds) of cheese a year; their products are made in an artisanal way, producing only the highest quality of cheeses. Sant Gil d’Albió exports about 40% of their production, mainly shipping to the United States and throughout Europe.

Sant Gil d’Albió is a dynamic, growing company; expanding their range of products and modernizing their facilities, without forgetting their roots. They are a leading company in the production of artisanal cheese in Catalonia, receiving various awards for the quality of their products, including Garrotxa cheese, Lactium d’Or 2019 award.

The family business is part of the ‘Lal de Cabres Catalanes’ label, a group of farmers and cheesemakers that defend the consumption of products made with local milk. They continuously maintain the quality of all cheeses and ensure all products are sold at a fair price.


Monthly Cheese ClubDon’t let your Wine Club go home alone!

Join our Cheese Club and bring home a match made in heaven!

If you enjoy pairing cheese with wine, this is your club!  Each month you’ll discover specialty and artisan cheeses to pair with your Wine Club. Monthly cheese selections are chosen by your local WineStyles participating location. It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing artisan cheese every month! Only $19.99/month and your wine won’t be lonely!  Click to learn more >

October Cheese Club: Iowa

Cheese ClubApple Smoked CheddarCarr Valley
Apple Smoked Cheddar
La Valle, WI

This white cheddar is apple smoked and then hand rubbed with paprika. It has a light smoky flavor that balances very well with the flavors from the paprika.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Merlot and Shiraz grape wines will bring out the mature flavor of the cheese. For beer, reach for a Hard Cider or a Porter when pairing with this cheese.

WINESTYLES: Bold, Fruity, or Nectar
BEERSTYLES:
Dark and Roasty; or Fruity and Spicy

Carr Valley Cheese

Photo by Carr Valley Cheese: Apple Smoked Cheddar

ABOUT CARR VALLEY:

Owned and operated by the Cook family, Carr Valley Cheese Company is over one-hundred years old. Nestled amongst the rolling hills and lush pastures of central Wisconsin, they remain one of Wisconsin’s traditional cheese plants, famous for making cheese the old-fashioned way!

Carr Valley Cheese has won numerous awards over the years and continues to offer delicious and unique Wisconsin Cheeses. Certified Master Cheesemaker, Sid Cook, has won more top national and international awards than any other cheesemaker in North America. As a fourth-generation cheesemaker, he received his cheesemaking license when he was 16, and now owns and operates four cheese plants and eight retail cheese stores in Wisconsin. As a company, Carr Valley Cheese began in 1902, and today is best known for producing high-quality, artisanal aged Cheddars. Using cow, goat, and sheep milks, Sid enjoys creating new cheeses, and Carr Valley now produces more than 50 original varieties.

APPLEWOOD SMOKED CHEDDAR AWARDS:

  • 1st Place 2016 Los Angeles Int. Dairy Competition
  • 1st Place 2005 American Cheese Society
  • 2nd Place 2007 World Cheese Competition
  • 2nd Place 2012 American Cheese Society Competition

Maytag White CheddarMaytag Dairy Farms
7 Year Aged Cheddar
Newton, Iowa

This 7 Year Aged Cheddar has a robust cheddar flavor and an assertive tang that can be slightly acidic or even lactic. It showcases dense, fruit notes and a slightly earthy flavor. The aging process takes the cheddar from a smooth creamy texture to a drier, more crumbly style. This is the 2nd most popular cheese in America and is very versatile. Traditional food pairings include apple pie, or a salted caramel for a nice contrast.

HOW IT IS MADE:
Made from cow’s milk, Maytag 7 Year Cheddar has gone through the traditional process of “cheddaring” which involves stacking the blocks of cheese on top of one another to press out moisture. The aging process makes the recognizable cheddar flavor of this cheese even more pronounced and concentrated.  Typical “grocery store” cheddars only age 2-3 months, while this cheddar is aged for 7 years.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS: For Aged Cheddars with earthy undertones, look for the yin and yang. This cheese pairs well with hoppy bitters and dryness, like an IPA Beer and a Cabernet Wine; or full bodied red, stout, or scotch.

WINESTYLES: Fruity; Nectar; or Bold
BEERSTYLES: Dark and Roasty; Fruity and Spicy; or Hoppy and Bitter

Maytag Family

Photo by Maytag Diary Farms: Maytag Family

ABOUT MAYTAG DIARY FARMS:

In 1919 E.H. Maytag, the son of Maytag Appliance company founder F.L. Maytag, purchased a single Holstein cow to provide fresh clean milk to his children. E.H. quickly developed a passion and determination to breed champion Holstein-Friesian cows that could supply milk to the community while also winning blue ribbon upon blue ribbon at livestock shows across the United States.

Cave Wheels

Photo by Maytag Diary Farm: Cave Wheels

Upon E.H.’s death in 1940, his sons Fred and Robert Maytag assumed leadership of the farms and Fred pursued his idea of creating a uniquely American blue cheese made from cow’s milk. Maytag Dairy Farms collaborated with Iowa State University to pioneer the first great American blue cheese that would compete with classic European cheeses such as Roquefort, made from sheep’s milk. The cheese plant and caves were completed a year later, and the first wheels of Maytag Blue Cheese were formed in October of 1941. Fred’s son Fritz Maytag assumed leadership in 1962 and helped guide the small family company for the next 50 years. In 2003, Fritz was awarded the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional, and in 2008 won the Beard Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement. Fritz now serves as Chairman Emeritus and a director with his brother, Ken Maytag, and their sister, Martha Maytag Peterson.

Today, Seventy nine-years after the first wheels of Maytag Blue Cheese were made, the family tradition continues. Each wheel is handcrafted on the family farm in the rolling hills of central Iowa. Maytag Dairy Farm is still owned and operated by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of E.H. Maytag. His legacy is the pleasure and joy taken from good food shared with people you cherish.


Monthly Cheese ClubDon’t let your Wine Club go home alone!

Join our Cheese Club and bring home a match made in heaven!

If you enjoy pairing cheese with wine, this is your club!  Each month you’ll discover specialty and artisan cheeses to pair with your Wine Club. Monthly cheese selections are chosen by your local WineStyles participating location. It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing artisan cheese every month! Only $19.99/month and your wine won’t be lonely!  Click to learn more >

September Cheese Club: Iowa

Cheese ClubVermont Shepherd VeranoVermont Shepherd
Verano
Putney, Vermont

Coming from its name, Verano is Vermont Shepherd’s seasonal summer cheese; made from pure sheeps’ milk when their pastures are abundant with wild herbs and grasses. This summer cheese is one of their rarest and best US sheep’s milk cheese, Verano ages 3-5 months and ripens by August. It is a smooth and creamy, semi-hard cheese; highlighting a sweet, rich and earthy flavor with hints of clover, mint, and thyme. The rustic wheel has a rough, golden brown rind.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Semi-hard Cheese, such as Verano pair incredibly with a Red Burgundy or White Bordeaux. These wines are well-balanced in acidity, fruit, and tannins to enhance the flavor of Verano.  As for beer, reach for an Amber Ale. This caramel and malt forward beer will play with the earthiness of Verano.
Vermont Shepherd Verano_
WINESTYLES: Fruity
BEERSTYLES: 
Malty & Sweet

ABOUT VERMONT SHEPHERD:

Vermont Shepherd is a 250-acre farm in Westminster West, Vermont with 300-700 sheep (depending on the time of year), 2 Border Collies (who herd the sheep) and 8 Maremma – a beautiful white dog who protects the sheep from predators – along with shepherds of all ages. At the northern edge of the farm is a cave which is home to their 2 types of cheese, where they live out the seasons of their lives.  

Vermont Shepherd has won two conservation awards in 2002 and 2006 for the quality of its farming work and improving the soils, pastures, and water resources. 

Vella Dry Monterey JackVella Cheese Company
Dry Monterey Jack
Sonoma, California

Firm, pale yellow with a sweet nutty flavor. This cheese is great for grating, shredding, slicing, cooking or just plain eating. Marvelous in toasted cheese sandwiches, omelets and soufflés. Delicious shredded on pasta, soups or tacos, casseroles or enchiladas – for a taste that is unique and special.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS:
Vella Cheese Co.’s Dry Monterey Jack pairs well with a bright, citrus forward Chardonnay from our Crisp or Fruity section. As for beer, this Jack pairs well with a Kolsch or a Blonde Ale from our Crisp and Clean section.
Vella Dry Monterey Jack
WINESTYLES: Crisp and Fruity
BEERSTYLES: Crisp and Clean

ABOUT VELLA CHEESE COMPANY:

Gaetano (Tom) Vella arrived in Sonoma in the early 1920s, holding various jobs with the Sonoma Mission Creamery, in which his brother, Joseph, held considerable stock. Tom quickly built a reputation for his hard work, honesty and ability to make superior cheeses. In 1931, a group of dairymen approached Tom and offered to supply him with all the quality bulk milk he would need to successfully operate his own cheese factory. Tom jumped to the opportunity, and thus Vella Cheese Company was born.

In 1981, the company was handed over to his children, and today is under the careful eye of his son, Ig Vella. Tom’s tradition and quality continues as cheese are still handmade, using sustainable practices and milk from local dairies.

DRY MONTEREY JACK AWARDS:

  • 2014 Silver Medal, California State Fair
  • 2011 Gold Medal, Los Angeles County Fair
  • 2004 Gold Medal, Los Angeles County Fair
  • 1988 International Gold Medal Winner 

Monthly Cheese ClubDon’t let your Wine Club go home alone!

Join our Cheese Club and bring home a match made in heaven!

If you enjoy pairing cheese with wine, this is your club!  Each month you’ll discover specialty and artisan cheeses to pair with your Wine Club. Monthly cheese selections are chosen by your local WineStyles participating location. It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing artisan cheese every month! Only $19.99/month and your wine won’t be lonely!  Click to learn more >

When Dogs Fly

Matt_Brophy_FlyingDogs

Interview with Matt Brophy, Brewmaster & COO of Flying Dog Brewery

Since opening as a brewpub in Aspen, Colorado in 1990, Flying Dog Brewery has taken the craft beer world by storm.  Today they ship more than 800,000 cases a year, across the world from their state-of-the-art facility in Frederick, Maryland.  Matt Brophy, Flying Dog’s Brewmaster and COO, shares with us what makes craft beer so unique.

What makes craft beer different from other beers?

Craft beers draw their inspiration not from the factory profit-driven-machine mentality but from the creative desire to produce a product that is unique to its creator, the brewer, and enjoyable to the customer.  Although beer is very simple in that is contains only four ingredients – water, malted barley, hops and yeast – it’s the nontraditional ingredients such as the use of spices, fruits, sugars and alternative cereal grains that has found its way to craft beers.

How does Flying Dog brew their beer?

Flying Dog brewers use traditional brewing techniques and all-natural ingredients.

FlyingDogs-PaleAleWhat are some of the different flavor profile you can find in a craft beer?

Generally speaking all beers are a balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness.  A good brewer can manipulate ingredients to produce aromas and flavors ranging from crisp and quenching to much bolder sensory experiences.

With the Super Bowl coming up, can you recommend special beers that pair well with Super Bowl food/snacks?

Our hoppy Snake Dog IPA pairs with a spicy-hot pepper jack cheese but it will also do well with hot wings, spicy salsa or queso dip. Dog Schwarz is brewed using smoked malt and has a moderate amount of smoke in the aroma and flavor.  This beer pairs great with smoked or grilled meats.  A malty American amber lager like our Old Scratch goes great with some brats from the grill.

What tips do you have for pairing craft beer with food?

The simplest and best advise I have is to have fun and experiment.  There is no “right” or “wrong” pairing as long as it tastes good to you.