Heinzelcheesetalk #29: Some of my favorite US American cheeses. Friday, August 12, 2016

When I wrote the invite for this cheesetalk I had been sitting in Cambridge MA, and those of you familiar with the ongoings in Heinzelcheese land, or just generally knowledgeable in cheesy matters, knew where I would go to get my cheese: Ihsan Gurdal’s Formaggio Kitchen is a real paradise.

During my five weeks in the US I had met so many fantastic people, tasted such great cheeses and wonderful wines, that I wanted to share at least of few of them with you. For instance David Gremmels‘ excellent blue cheeses from the Rogue River valley in southern Oregon. Or the Cowgirls‘ fantastic soft cheeses from Marin County, one hour drive north of San Francisco, right on the Pacific. And so much more…

HCT USA cheeses

Of course, there was to be wine as well, I had had such a good time touring the vineyards with Jay Somers in the Dundee Hills in Oregon, and the Suff wine mongers in Berlin still have his gorgeous, seriously addictive 2009 Pinot Noir – hooray!

But let’s start from the beginning. First came a whole row of goat cheeses from MA, VT and NY. Sheer delight, as usual, was Ada’s Honor from Tricia Smith at Ruggles (formerly Carlisle) – which paired extremely well with the luscious fruit of Ruppert-Deginther’s 2015 dry Muskateller from Rheinhessen. Next was a rather well developed (due to time and transport) Classic Blue Log from Westfield Farm. But it was important to me to show you this cheese, as it had been instrumental in a tasting held by Rob Kaufelt at Cheese 2001 in Bra, where the whole cheese thing started for me. Nettle Meadow Farm’s Kunik made from goat’s milk with some Jersey cream also had real power; „like a pack of crisps“, somebody at the table commented, „lots of fat and lots of salt, but a lot better“. The 2013 Chardonnay from Beringer/CA was very middle of the road on its own, almost like pineapple juice, but paired well with the „crisps“…

Cowgirl picnic2

Pure joy and super creamy the Cowgirls‘ Mt Tam Triple Creme from Petaluma north of San Francisco (which I tasted and checked when I was there, as seen on the picture – life is hard). 2014 Chardonnay Reserve from Reibold in northern Pfalz needed air and some dedication, but unfolded beautifully; a new star who much enjoyed meeting Manchester from Consider Bartwell.

JChristopher tasting

You all really liked Jay Somers‘ 2009 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (who wouldn’t), and almost forgot the cheese over it! But the Twig Farm’s Washed Wheel knew how to attract your attention, and the lovely Harbison with its spruce rind and resiny aromas from Jasper Hill in Vermont also stood up. With the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from the same caves we opened another 2009 Pinot, this one from Sven Leiner and his Kalmit vineyard in southern Pfalz. The tannins were somewhat drier and darker, but altogether very elegant and good with the cheddar.

Rogue David with cheese

With the blue cheeses we switched to sweet wine: Ruppert-Deginther’s 2015 Riesling Spätlese was as juicy and delicious as a fresh, perfect peach. David Gremmels‘ Oregon Blue was only a first glance of the great blue cheeses he makes at Rogue River Creamery, hopefully we’ll have the man himself over for an extensive tasting at the beginning of next year.

HCT USA bottles

And finally Jasper Hill’s Bayley Hazen Blue demonstrated how much northern Vermont has to offer in cheese. As a farewell sip we shared the 2012 Riesling Spätlese from Karthäuserhof on the Ruwer, which showed extremely well, as if somebody had worked those peaches into a cream, adding a little lemon and some raspberries…

Cheerio, my friends – cheese makes so much more sense than politics right now.

HeinzelCheeseTalks take place regularly, usually on a Friday at 6pm at Markthalle Neun in Berlin-Kreuzberg. I bring some interesting cheese, open a few bottles of wine, and we sit around the large table opposite the Suff wine stall, tasting, drinking, talking, discussing (mostly in German – but we usually manage to cater to English speakers too). Invites are sent out about ten days before we meet, to a mailing list you can join here. Reservations need to be confirmed and are strictly by first come first serve – so be quick! And please do let me know if you can’t make it after all – there is always a waiting list.  A donation of twelve euros per person (or one or two euros more if you really had a lot of fun…) is much appreciated. Cheesio!

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