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 >

Cheese for Summertime

MaxInterview with Max McCalman, Dean of Curriculum and Maitre Fromager of Artisanal Cheese

What is your perfect cheese/wine pairing for weddings?
Luscious triple crèmes like Brillat-Savarin or Pierre Robert, and a well-aged Gruyère from Beeler. Pair with fine Champagne — a match made in heaven.

Which cheese and wine pairings do you suggest for Father’s Day?
This is the time of the year when we begin to see the broadest variety of types of cheese. The Lauriers are lovely soft cheeses. To add a little sweet for your dad, include a variety of Gouda that has been aged four years. Pairing these two cheeses from opposite ends of the CheeseClock™ is simple, as they both are complemented quite well by lighter white wines.  Or try two-year-old Cheddar or the Terraluna. Pair either one of these two firm cheeses with a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

Which cheese and wines go best when preparing for a BBQ?
Try Petite Syrah, a Zinfandel or Primitivo, or a Tempranillo. These wines are best paired with sheep milk cheeses, such as Stella Royale and Pecorino Sardo.

Cheese_springWhat’s the best way to store cheese in summertime?
During warm weather it’s important to place it in a chilled storage container, especially a soft cheese.

Tell us more about the new cheeses and what wine they would pair with?
One of our newer cheeses is the Terraluna, which is produced in Utah and comes from clean raw Jersey cow milk. This cheese is in the cheddar family yet it is a little less acidic than most. It offers a deep flavor with a longlasting finish. It’s a versatile cheese partner with many wines, especially Pinot Noir. Another cheese in our caves is the Stella Royale. It is a traditional-style pressed sheep milk cheese from northwest Spain. The paste of the cheese is firm and granular and carries a distinct olive oil aroma just before it finishes with a nutty flavor. Stella Royale pairs well with Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.

Cheese – A Near Perfect Food

Max

Interview with Max McCalman, Dean of Curriculum and Maitre Fromager of Artisanal Cheese

What cheeses are best during the summer months?
We are coming into a pretty good time of year for cheese. It’s unfortunate that people don’t eat as much cheese in the summer, because that is when a broader type of cheeses are really starting to show. The goat’s milk cheeses in particular are at their best in summertime because the animals have more to choose from to eat. They’re also cheeses that aren’t meant to age and keep for many months.

How are goats’ milk cheeses made?
Milk is saved from four milkings—an evening milking from day one, a morning and evening milking from day two and a morning milking from day three. Goats’ milk contains coagulants, which are then sped up with the addition of cultures and rennets. When the milk has coagulated, it turns into a spongy mass—the curds. These are then cut into little pieces, which allow the whey, or liquid part, to drain off easily. The curds are then put into perforated molds, so the whey continues to drain off. The young cheese is then gently removed from the mold and set out on shelves to dry. After a couple of weeks, the cheese is dusted with vegetable ash, which makes it a little less acidic and allows for even more beneficial mold to flourish. It also takes excess moisture out and puts flavor in.

What’s a good wine/cheese pairing for summer?
Pairing principles come down to a couple of things. A salty cheese will probably pair better with a sweeter or fruitier wine. That’s why dessert wines pair so well with cheese. They give them a balancing partner. Texture comes into play, too. The harder cheeses are more successful with a broader range of wine types.

Any tips on packing cheeses for outdoor dining?
Cheese should be kept out of sunlight, but kept cool. If you are having a picnic, put it in the cooler, but don’t put it down in the ice.  Then bring it up to room temperature before eating—it will taste better. Firmer cheeses are easier to transport. A brie-type of cheese in 90-degree weather is not going to be very pretty. That should be enjoyed indoors.