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 >

August Cheese Club: Iowa

cheese_club_logo-1240x1240Abondance CheeseAbondance AOP
Rodolphe Le Meunier
Haute-Savoie, France

Abondance, is a semi-hard, traditionally French, mountain cheese produced in the Abondance Valley of Haute Savoie, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. The cheese is made exclusively from unpasteurized cow’s milk sourced from its own breed of cattle, Abondance, as well as Taurine and Montbéliarde. Abondance features a slightly grainy and creamy paste with floral, vegetal, and nutty aromas. On the palate, there’s a beautiful balance of sweetness to acidity; it tastes intensely fruity and buttery with a hazelnut flavor.  Before eating, remove the natural rind its gray layer underneath.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS:
Abondance cheese pairs wonderfully with a dry white wine from the Savoie region; or a light red, such as a Gamay Beaujolais or a light Pinot Noir.  Additionally, this cheese pairs well a crisp, pale lager or a kolsch.

WINESTYLES: Crisp and Fruity
BEERSTYLES: Crisp and Clean

PRODUCTION:
Abondance cheese has had an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) designation since 1990.  AOC designations were created to ensure products with long histories and strong senses of terroir will guard their identity and uniqueness in the marketplace. With this designation, a cheese producer cannot call a cheese Abondance if it is not made within the confines of a singular region, or according to traditional methods and specifications, similar to wine AOCs like Bordeaux, Bourgogne, and Champagne.

Abondance was originally made by monks at the Abbaye d’Abondance (Abondance Abbey) in the 12th century. In the late 1300s, the monks were the official supplier of cheeses to the Avignon popes. This rich, ivory-yellow cheese is made in the area’s mountain chalets from batches of raw milk that combine morning milk with milk from the previous evening. The milk is heated in a copper cauldron to 90° F to warm the curd that is formed, without cooking it. The curd is then cut, drained, put into a round wooden mold, and pressed for a day with a weight on it. It is then salted either by hand, or soaked in brine, then cave aged on spruce planks for six months at a temperature of 54° F and a humidity level of 95%. The cheese is brushed with brine and turned while aging.

Tomme d’Abondance

Comté Fort Saint-Antoine CheeseComté Fort Saint Antoine
Marcel Petite
Jura, France

Comté Fort Saint Antoine is a semi-firm, unpasteurized, aged, cow’s milk cheese from the Jura and Franche-Comté regions of Eastern France. Century-old techniques are used to make Comté, which is the most produced and consumed cheese in France. Made with unpasteurized cow’s milk, from Montbeliarde Cattle or French Simmental (or crossbreeds of the two), the taste is complex, nutty and caramelized with a lingering, but not sharp, flavor. The combination of sweetness and saltiness give this cheese an intriguing flavor. This mature Comté is firm but supple, with a buttery and oily texture. It is traditionally sold in huge blocks and matures for a year before it is ready for sale. The natural cave atmosphere of the fort allows this longer aged Comté to have a rich, nutty, fruitier and more flowery taste than its younger aged counterparts. Considered one of the finest cheeses in the world, a wedge of Comte reveals a pale yellow interior and a texture that can vary from silky, flabby to crystalline.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Comté Cheese is very versatile and pairs beautifully with a Chablis (Chardonnay), a Champagne, or a Pinot Noir. It also pairs well with a light lager, a blonde ale, or a pilsner.

WINESTYLES: Silky, Bubbly and Mellow
BEERSTYLES: 
Crisp and Clean

PRODUCTION:

In 1966, Marcel Petite discovered a defunct military fort in a forest of Haut Doubs, at 3600 feet altitude. The fort’s structure of cut and vaulted stone, covered with a thick layer of soil, providing ideal conditions for “affinage lent” (slow maturing). Petite realized that his Comté cheeses should be aged in their natural environment, near the mountain cheese dairies where they are made. This hard mountain cheese is matured to perfection in the silence and darkness of special caves where the cheese gets its unique taste, texture and color. There are several maturing cellars in the region where Comté is ripened for a minimum of 4 months to 18 or 24 months. Comté generally will get its name from the cellar where it was ripened, such as Comté Fort Saint-Antoine. Today, over 100,000 wheels are ripened for 10 to 20 months, in the Cathedral of Marcel Petite Comté.

Comté was one of the first few kinds of cheese to receive an AOC status in 1958. It is one of the most popular AOC cheeses in France with around 40,000 tons of annual production.

Comté Cheese Production

© Comté Marcel Petite

Comté Production

© Comté Marcel Petite

 

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 >