Producer: LaClare Farm
Location: Chilton, WI
Cheesemaker: Katie Heidrich
Milk: Raw goat
Style: Pressed, natural rind
Rennet: Microbial (vegetarian)
Affinage (aging time): min. 70 days
Chilton, located about 75 miles north-northwest of Milwaukee, is home to LaClare Farm. The farm was established in 1978 though they didn't start producing cheese until 2008. That was the year when they rolled out their first batches of raw goat milk cheese, soon to be called Evalon. In addition to their own milking herd they have created a successful dairy goat cooperative in Wiscoinsin, raising much needed awareness of goat dairying in a state known for its cow dairies. Currently the Heidrich's are milking about 375 goats which are all grazed on gorgeous lush green fields and supplemented with whole grains . This high-quality, healthy mix gives Evalon that clean milky sweet flavor and supple texture.
Producer: Weingut Pittnauer
Winemaker: Gerhard Pittnauer
Grapes: 40% Zweigelt, 30% Blaufrankish, 28% St. Laurent, 2% Merlot
Rarely do I discover a wine that delivers so much for such a modest price. A biodynamically raised blend of Austria's most prevalent red grapes (with a dash of Merlot), Burgenlander Rot is a medium-bodied dark-berried dream. A mild bouquet of black cherry pit, ripe raspberry and a hint of blueberry is mirrored in the palate but with the addition of very present limestone minerality and very uplifting and cleansing acidity. Like all of the high altitude vineyards we champion, the drinker gets all of the dense fruit from the wine without the full, "chewy" body. Rocky soil and long cool nights on the vines give the wine structure from acid rather than tannin as the wine is fermented and aged in 100% stainless steel.
Guest Monger: Bobby
There is a lot to like about this pairing, notably the strong, goaty flavors that are hardly noticeable in the cheese itself but emerge in concert with the wine. This is a pretty cool feature of the pairing that goes beyond simply "complementing" or "contrasting."
That said, lush, dark fruits (plum, huckleberry, blackberry, cherry), a slight meatiness, and some earthy notes characterize this easy drinking Austrian wine. The cheese, on the other hand, is slightly sweet, exhibiting a subtle coconut milk flavor and some interesting caramel qualities. When you put them together, this raw, washed-curd cheese can no longer mask it's true character. Goat mutton, lemon tang, and wet barnyard hay all start to emerge as new flavors in the pairing.