The Taste of Fall: Rogue River Blue
Did you know cheese is seasonal? (Here’s a blog post explaining how, but it has to do with the milking cycles of dairy animals as well as the changes in pasture over the course of the year.)
We are reminded of that every September when Rogue River Blue becomes available again. It’s a luscious blue cheese from the cheese geniuses at Oregon’s Rogue Creamery.
The cheese is wrapped in Sryah grape leaves that are hand-picked from a nearby winery. The leaves are then macerated in a local pear brandy, before wrapping the wheels of cheese. The cheese then ages for at least 12 months.
The leaves are a critical element of the cheese. They not only protect the rind, they also enhance the flavor. Rogue’s cheesemakers tried Chardonany, Viogner and Malbec grape leaves before deciding that Syrah leaves have just the right amount of acid and fruit.
Here’s the seasonal part. Rogue River Blue is only made in the autumn because the cheese makers feel the cow’s milk is rich enough to make this special cheese. That means, when it’s gone, it’s gone, usually around the end of the year.
You could trust us when we tell you this cheese is special. Or you trust the experts who judge the American Cheese Society’s annual competition. Rogue River Blue is one of only two cheeses to take “Best in Show” twice. (Uplands Cheese Co.’s Pleasant Ridge Reserve is the other, winning three times.) In 2003, it gained International acclaim when it beat out European classics as Roquefort and Stilton at the World Cheese Awards in London.