Winnimere, vintage 2011

by dccheese on April 9, 2011

in American-NewEngland,Brews,Cheese!,Cow,pairings,Raw,Tweets + News

You all know by know that cheese is a seasonal food, right? Fresh goat cheeses are best in the spring — when kids are born and goats are producing milk — and some aged cheeses taste best when made from winter milk. Some cheeses are made year-round and undergo subtle flavor changes as the animals’ diet shifts from fresh grass shoots to hay. And some cheeses, the most coveted ones, are only released at specific times of the year. The marvelous Winnimere falls into that category.

jasper hill winnimere

Made from the raw milk of Jasper Hill Farm‘s Ayrshire cows, during winter when their milk has higher fat content, Winnimere is a washed-rind, bark-wrapped cheese in the tradition of the Swiss Försterkäse. It must be carefully aged for an agonizing 60 days to meet the US raw-milk requirements. It’s washed in a special beer made by nearby Hill Farmstead Brewery. Through the happy intersection of heritage cheesemaking recipes and modern technology, I was able to follow along via Facebook until this year’s first batch was finally released in February. And as I mentioned before, I was the happy recipient of a “mini Winni” in my box o’ love from Cellars at Jasper Hill.

how to open winnimere

I invited friends over to partake — as our friend Kirstin says, Winni is made to be shared — but began to regret my decision when I saw the perfectly petite rosy, bark-wrapped round. The friends brought beer, though, so I guess it was a reasonable trade-off. (We paired it with a Saison.) I let the cheese sit at room temperature for almost two hours before slicing around the rim and peeling back the top crust.

We spooned out the unctious paste onto pieces of baguette, savoring the silky smooth, buttery texture and taste of smoky bacon and damp forests. It seemed just a tad less pungent on the nose this year, making it even easier to love. This is the perfect cheese to take home on a rainy night when summer seems yet so far away…. or any night, really.

winnimere 2011

Much has been written about Winnimere since our first review two years ago — and deservedly so. Have you tried the 2011?

Winnimere is a seasonal cheese made in small batches that fall well short of its demand … so harass politely inquire with your favorite cheesemonger until they let you know if and when they are getting a delivery. (It should be available until early summer.) And “like” Cellars at Jasper Hill on Facebook to find out about future special offers. (psst … while you’re there, you can “like” cheese + champagne, too. thanks!)

{ 1 comment }

Meredith April 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I really want to try the 2011 Winnimere. I love this cheese, but I wouldn’t mind if it was a tad less pungent on the nose. Sounds even better.

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