Occasionally I find a cheese that should be served alone – a singular cheese which merits undivided attention and appreciation. “Winnimere” from Jasper Hill Farm is such a cheese. Made only in winter when the milk from the farm’s Ayrshire cows achieves its highest fat content, the cheese is washed in beer from the neighboring Hill Farmstead Brewery, that cult favorite among beer geeks. Inspired by the classic European cheeses Försterekäse and Vacherin Mont d’Or, “Winnimere” is delicate: a band of spruce bark – cut from the farm’s own woodlot – enables the cheese to retain its shape. The rind is mottled with orange and white molds. For a washed rind cheese, the aroma is restrained. (No smelly socks here) When sampled, aromas and flavors of hay, butter, mustard and bacon come through; the bark adding a subtle perfume and taste. The texture is soft, unctuous, i.e. “gooey”. All in all, incredibly intense, full-flavored and satisfying. This cheeseplate provided the perfect dessert course.
A friend provided the wine to accompany the cheese: the 2011 Tenuta delle Terre Nere “Etna Rosso”. From Nerello Mascalese grapes grown in the volcanic soil of Mt. Etna in Sicily, this red wine complimented the cheese well. Floral and fruitful with good acidity and extra smooth tannins, the wine partnered agreeably with the both the cheese’s savory flavors and its richness.
For breakfast, we enjoyed the remaining cheese spread on toast. By this point, the cheese had been at room temperature for 15 hours – its flavor now fully developed and the perfect cheese-lover’s way to start the day.
Cheese available at Central Bottle & Provision
Wine available at Gordon’s