Texas Cheeses for 2020
For a number of years 4.0 Cellars has offered a Texas Cheese and Wine Experience featuring cheeses from Veldhuizein Cheese Farm in Dublin, TX, matched with wines from our three owner/partners – Brennan Vineyards in Comanche, TX, Lost Oak Winery in Burleson, TX, and McPherson Cellars in Lubbock, TX. With downtime during the Corona-virus shutdown and slowdown, opportunity arose to consider and taste additional cheese selections to feature in these pairings. The plan is to continue using some of the more popular Veldhuizen cheeses, and add some new and different options from the following producers.
CKC Farms, a Grade “A” Goat Dairy in nearby Blanco, TX, produces artisanal, hand-made cheeses from milk of pampered goats that feed mainly on grass and a bit of hay and sweetened grain. Chrissy (Omo) Grundy started the business, with help from her parents, and now brothers Kenny and Connor are involved in this family operation producing a range of delicious goat cheeses. Their primary product is a terrific soft Chevre (French for goat) that is soft and almost white in color. Many goat cheeses have a strong, tangy, almost grassy flavor, but this one seems milder than most with a slightly chalky and creamy texture, and just a bit of that typical tangy goat cheese flavoring that finishes with hints of citrus. This cheese will be served in a small dish with a tasting spoon. In the first round of tastings, including staff evaluations, this CKC Chevre has been very popular. The best pairing so far has been a flavor-rich dry rosé such as McPherson Cellars Les Copains Rosé that offers great acidity and lovely strawberry aromas and flavors from fruit grown on the Texas High Plains.
Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese is located in Lipan, TX, just north of Granbury. Cheeses are handmade from fresh, natural Grade A raw milk provided by Brown Swiss dairy cows pastured at Sandy Creek Farm in north Texas. David Eagle, a former attorney turned foodie, works with his son, Matt, and nephew, Corey, to produce 10-12 pound wheels of Granbury Gold that have a yellow rind and a straw-color inside. This is a mild, palate-pleasing cheese with just a hint of tartness. The best pairing so far has been EVS Windblown Red from McPherson Cellars made from a blend of Rhône grape varieties: Mourvèdre 29%, Carignan 27%; Petite Sirah 26%, Syrah 9%, & Grenache 9%, all sourced from Texas High Plains vineyards. The wine has dark berry fruit, slight peppery notes, and a silky finish that shows vanilla and spice from aging in French oak barrels.
River Whey Creamery in Shertz, TX, specializes in raw cows’ milk cheeses. The milk comes from Mill-King Creamery outside Waco and is free of hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives. The owner, Susan Rigg, currently produces four aged-cheeses: Keystone, Caldera Espana, The Welshman, and Indigo Ridge. Indigo Ridge was selected for its interesting indigo-colored rind, pliable and creamy texture, and flavors that range from fruity to tangy with notes of scalded milk and hazelnuts. The best wine pairing option so far has been the new Brennan Vineyards Viognier 2019, 92% Viognier and 8% Semillon, with aromas of peach cobbler and honeysuckle, and flavors of ripe peaches and apricots tinged with honey and vanilla.
River Whey Creamery’s owner and head cheese maker, Susan Rigg, attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York and took training courses in California before returning to Texas. Her passion has helped create Keystone based on a traditional Italian cheese with sweet, piquant bite and relatively intense finish. The wheels of Keystone are rubbed with Texas extra virgin olive oil. The favorite wine pairing with Keystone is currently Brennan Vineyards Tempranillo 2017, 87% Tempranillo and 13% Syrah. The rich saltiness and long-lasting flavor finish of the cheese matches well with wine flavors of tart blackberries, dark cherries, notes of soil, leather and pipe tobacco, and a finish with toasty notes from aging in American & French oak barrels.
Cheeses from Veldhuizen Cheese Farm in Dublin, produced by Stuart Veldhuizen and his family, will continue to be part of the program. These delicious, well-made, raw milk cheeses have long been favorites at 4.0 Cellars. Key offerings will likely include the popular Jalapeno Cheddar, Redneck Cheddar (flavored with dark bock beer), and Caraway Cheddar. The current Veldhuizen cheese offered in the pairing is Caraway Cheddar matched with Lost Oak Winery Meritage 2018, a lovely blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Merlot 25%, Malbec 17%, and Petit Verdot 8%. Meritage, a combination of Merit & Heritage, is a label reserved for premium blends of Bordeaux varieties. This Meritage offers currant and blackberry flavors balanced by notes of sweet tobacco and vanilla, plus soft tannins on the finish that match the rich flavors of Caraway Cheddar beautifully.
To learn more about these Texas Cheeses and participate in a Texas Cheese and Wine Experience, check the 4.0 Cellars website (www.fourpointwine.com) and make a reservation. Pairings are offered everyday, in the intimate setting of the 4.0 Cellars Boardroom. We are open – Welcome back!