- Dopff Au Moulin. Cremant d’Alsace / Torta de Barros
- Collectables Sauvignon Blanc, NZ / Cotherstone
- Meinklang Gruner Veltliner, Austria / Ribblesdale Goat
- Fedele Nero D’Avola, Italy / Old Winchester
- CDR de Fleurs, Rhone, France / Devon Blue / Ginger Cake
Torta de Barros
Torta de Barros was a bronze medal winner in the 2015 World Cheese Awards. It is a raw sheeps’ milk thistle rennet torta style cheese with an aroma of fresh mango on the rind, fruity flavours and a luxuriously creamy interior.
Cotherstone is now only mademade by Joan Cross in Durham. It is semi-soft, with a pale-yellow paste and a natural rind. Unlike other British Territorials, this cheese is intended to be eaten young, around six to eight weeks old. By then it has developed lovely fresh and lemony flavours, which sometimes can carry a hint of yeastiness. The paste is crumbly but moister than a Cheshire, for example. Traditionally made in Yorkshire, Cotherstone belongs to a group of cheeses we refer to as ‘Dales-style’ cheeses, which also includes Wensleydale and Swaledale.
She learned cheese making from her mother, and has been making the cheese for over thirty years producing only very small batches. When Joan’s cheese arrives in the Neal’s Yard maturing rooms in Bermondsey it is very young and very moist. We dry-salt the cheese by rubbing the surface with sea salt. Later in the maturation process we wash the rind to help it develop evenly. The cheese then forms a natural crust that sometimes develops a pinkish-gold appearance. When the rind has fully formed, the cheese becomes broken down and softer towards the rind and develops vegetal, earthy flavours.
Ribblesdale goat’s milk comes from a single herd located about an hour and a half away in Lancashire as there are no milking goats available in N Yorkshire. It is single source and excellent quality. In 2008 they started making cheese again after a break and moved from Horton in Ribblesdale (hence Ribblesdale!) to Hawes to larger premises to create a new dairy. Everything is made by hand: the milk is stirred by hand, the curd is hand cut and hand shovelled. A vat takes as long as it takes, there are no set times or schedules. All the cheese is made in a long, slow and traditional way using a synthetic form (not GMO) of rennet called Hannilaise.
In the New Forest at Lyburn Farm, Mike and Judie Smales have created a modern British classic cheese – Old Winchester. As milk prices fell, Mike and Judie decided they needed an outlet for the milk from their 180 British Friesian cows. Deciding to make cheese, they went on a one-day Cheddar-making course with Val Bines. With this basic knowledge the Smales decided to make a Gouda-style (the curd is washed so the cheese ends up slightly more sweet). Yet it turned out a bit different from expected. But not every mistake is bad! Instead, the amazing Old Winchester was born: a cross between Gouda, Parmesan and Cheddar. At the Courtyard Dairy it is aged for 18-months to give it a sweet, tangy, crystallised depth. (It is also known as Old Smales). As well as a great ‘table cheese’ Old Winchester works incredibly well as a vegetarian Parmesan replacement as it is made without animal rennet, you will often find chefs using it for vegetarian dishes.
Devon Blue is one of three cheeses made by Ben Harris and his team at Ticklemore Dairy in Devon. It is made to a Roquefort recipe, as with the other two cheeses. Devon Blue has a quick set. The young cheeses are dry salted and pierced, then aged in a cave-like environment for a few weeks where the blue mould is encouraged to develop. They are then wrapped to prevent further blueing and cold matured at around 5c. This means the flavour in the paste is able to develop slowly over several months. The milk used for Devon blue comes from a co-operative of local farms in the South Hams. Because the Dairy don’t produce their own milk, they choose to pasteurise what they bring in.
The batches Neal’s Yard Dairy select tend to have a sweet, caramel, walnuty flavour profile. Occasionally some cheeses will develop light spicy flavours too. It has a crumbly, buttery texture with subtle blue veining throughout.
DOPFF AU MOULIN, CREMANT D’ALSACE
The Dopff family have been winegrowers since 1574 and still manage the 70 hectare estate near the charming medieval town of Riquewihr. A dry and elegant Cremant showing hints of quince and white flowers, fine bubbles with good length and weight. Grape varieties are 50% Auxerrois and 50% Pinot Blanc. Secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle using the traditional Champagne method and the wine is ages for 18 months in the bottle on its lees.
WALNUT BLOCK COLLECTABLES SAUVIGNON BLANC, MARLBOROUGH, NEW ZEALAND.
Located in Marlborough’s premium Rapaura sub region. A vibrant Sauvignon Blanc with lovely melded aromatic notes of stone fruits over a herbaceous background. The smooth, textured palate is concentrated with exotic fruits and citrus flavours. Well integrated natural acidity leaves a pure and lengthy finish.
MEINKLANG GRUNER VELTLINER, AUSTRIA
The inspiring Mitchlits family own and run this model biodynamic 2000 hectare estate in the Burgenland region of Austria. Angela looks after the winemaking, her husband Werner is operations manager and Werner’s younger brother is responsible for the herd of Angus steers that roam across the estate, provide natural fertiliser to the 55 hectares of vineyards and are represented in the bottle label.
In the cellar only indigenous yeasts are used, there is no fining or filtration and sulphur levels are kept very low. Movement of wine is by gravity. Fermentation is conducted in stainless steel, large used oak or concrete eggs.
The Gruner Veltiner shows lively citrus notes with fresh green apples and white pepper on the finish. Fresh with a stony minerality.
FEDELE NERO D’AVOLA, SICILY
Sicily’s number one grape variety Nero d’Avola is indigenous to the island. This shows a wonderful structure, yet has soft tannins and is very approachable. Packed with red berry fruit flavours and works well with red meat and tomato based pasta.
RESERVE DE FLEUR, RHONE, FRANCE
Located 20 km west of Avignon in the Rhone valley. A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan which are mainly sustainably farmed. Each grape is vinified separately before blending and aged in stainless steel. No oak is used in order to preserve the freshness and the lovely mouthfeel that gives rich dark fruit and black pepper notes.