Wine, Cheese and Charcuterie Guide

Cheese 101

Know Your Cheese

Cheese, like wine, is produced in a variety of styles. From fresh and creamy to aged and crumbly, there's a cheese for every wine and everyone. With so many flavors, shapes and textures, it's important to understand the basics of cheese in order to help navigate your way to discovering your favorites.

“The breed of the animal and their diet play a huge part in the flavor of their milk.”
- The Cheese Board

Fresh Cheese

Fresh Cheese

Fresh cheeses are usually white, soft and spreadable without a rind. They are made without any fermentation, mold or preservatives.
Mascarpone, Ricotta, Chevre, Feta, Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese

Soft/Bloomy Rind Cheese

Soft/Bloomy Rind Cheese

Cheeses with a soft, creamy or almost runny texture, sometimes with a white, soft and slightly fuzzy "bloomy" rind. These cheeses ripen from the outside in and usually have extra cream added to boost the fat content for richer taste.
Brie, Camembert, Goat, La Tur, Brillat Savarin, Ricotta Salata

Semi-Soft Cheese

Semi-Soft Cheese

Uncooked pressed cheeses that are dense, smooth and generally creamy with little to no rind. Usually high in moisture content, these cheeses range from very mild to very pungent in flavor.
Colby, Fontina, Havarti, Monterey Jack, Muenster, Provolone

Firm/Hard Cheese

Firm/Hard Cheese

Cheeses that are cooked and/or pressed, with or without rinds, with as much liquid expelled from them as possible. Can be aged 1-2 years, even up to 6 like aged Gouda.
Gouda, Cheddar, Dry Jack, Swiss, Parmesan

Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese

Cheeses inoculated with bacteria or penicillin, creating blue/green veining throughout resulting in intense, unique flavors.
Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton, Cabrales, Cambozola

Wash-Rind Cheese

Wash-Rind Cheese

Cheeses that are treated or cured by being brushed, rubbed, washed or immersed in brine of salt, wine, beer or grape brandy to add a unique flavor to the cheese.
Gruyère, Gouda, Munster, Asiago, Manchego, Provolone, Roquefort

Types of Dairy

Buffalo IconBuffalo's Milk

Produces largest volume of milk per animal. Some believe buffalo milk to be the best flavor and quality dairy for making cheeses.
Buffalo Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Parmesan

 

Cow's Milk

Cows have the highest production of milk. It generally takes 10 poound of cow's milk to make one pound of cheese, perfect for "big wheel" cheeses.
Gouda, Cheddar, Brie, Camembert, Stilton, Comtè


Goat's Milk

Goats produce about half as much dairy as cows. With less lactose, goat's milk has a mild and tangy flavor, perfect for specialty and aged cheeses.
Chevre, Bijou, Coupole, Crottin, Brie, Gouda


Sheep's Milk

Sheep produce about half as much dairy as goats. With more fat and protein than cow's milk, sheep's milk has a very concentrated flavor.
Manchego, Roquefort, Dante, Feta, Ricotta

 

Raw vs. Pasturized

Raw milk comes directly from the animal with no treatment. It is never heated above 102°F.

Pasteurized milk is heat treated milk which kills bad bacteria.

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