Rosés and white cheeses, whether semi-hard or soft, make for the perfect combo. Here our experts have matched Ossau Iraty, a semi-hard ewe cheese, and Meredith Farm Chèvre, made from young goat’s milk, with Blue Pyrenees Bone Dry Victorian Pinot Noir Rosé and Farr Rising Saignee Geelong VIC Pinot Noir.
Sheep and goat’s milk cheese are some of the creamiest and most flavoursome. Both are smaller animals, so produce far less milk than a cow on average, therefore their cheeses have greater rarity.
Ossau Iraty ($12.00 for 100g)
Sheep are famous for the deliciously sweet caramel notes their milk makes, and they are efficient producers, only needing 100% grass to produce rich milk. Like goat’s milk, sheep’s milk is also naturally homogenised milk. This means smaller fat globules and more medium-chain fatty acid, aiding in our digestion.
The production of one such variety, Ossau Iraty, is claimed to be the oldest-surviving tradition in the world, with records dating back more than 4,000 years. Ossau Iraty is a lightly-pressed cheese with a washed and hand-salted rind that is matured in humid cellars for at least 90 days. Its flavours are sweet and nutty, with pleasant notes of earth and cellar, but the texture is so smooth, rich and elegant.
Meredith Farm Chèvre ($8 per 100g)
Our second pairing is made from goat’s milk, which can change flavour, along with most milk styles, depending on the season. Although some people may be put xoff by the strong aroma of some goat’s milk cheeses, when it ages, their milk produces a rich brioche sweetness unlike any cow’s milk. Goat’s milk cheese has been made for thousands of years. In the most simple form, it is made by allowing raw milk to naturally curdle, and then draining and pressing the curds. Semi-hard varieties tend to be firmer, sometimes a little crumbly, and are usually good melting cheeses. Their flavour characteristics vary, but in general, they have the greatest complexity and balance.
Meredith Dairy is a family enterprise, milking year-round and processing a range of specialty cheese and yoghurts. This cheese is fresh, livery and has wonderful notes of lemon and cream. Such a light, fluffy texture makes it a great match for when sipping on a chilled rosé. The acidity also works well with the big berry flavours from most rosés.
Modern Australian rosé, with its crisp natural acidity, emulates the classic dry, light styles of Southern France, and makes an excellent match for semi-hard and soft white cheeses – complementing rather than competing with the flavours, and cleansing the palate between mouthfuls.
Blue Pyrenees Bone Dry Victorian Pinot Noir Rosé ($18.99)
This rosé is made from early-harvested pinot noir grapes from the Blue Pyrenees Estate. The colour is a beautifully pale salmon pink with lovely flavours of glazed cherries, strawberries and cream. It is a great example of balance of acidity, with fruits on the palate and a crisp finish.
Farr Rising Saignee Geelong VIC Pinot Noir ($29.99)
Whereas most examples of rosés are light and pretty simple, this expression is more serious. Produced from multiple pinot noir clones, wild fermented and matured in old oak for 8 months, this has genuine concentration of flavour, savoury complexity and a creamy texture – a lovely drink!
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