A cheese that hardly needs introduction: Winnimere, from the Cellars at Jasper Hill, the cheesemaking and affinage masters behind Harbison (one of my cheeses of Christmas), Cabot Clothbound and many other notable American cheeses. Working with Herve Mons, they have created at the Cellars a first for America: a true French-style affinage facility, where cheeses can be developed, nurtured and aged to perfection, “a network of seven underground vaults - a total of 22,000 square feet nestled beneath the pastures where Jasper Hill’s forty Ayrshire cows graze. Each cave rests at distinct temperature and humidity levels, calibrated for different cheese styles.”
As with all bark-wrapped cheeses, one would ideally buy a full wheel of Winnimere, lop the top off, and scoop the cheese out with a spoon. Unfortunately, when buying for one that can be a wee bit excessive, so I had to settle for this lovely wedge. Wrapped in spruce bark and washed with beer from a local brewery, the pink-rind holds in an oozing, buttery paste which collapses out of the cheese as soon as it warms to room temperature. Lightly stinky in aroma, in flavor it is a complex maelstrom of meatiness, sweetness, brine and grass with a lightly woody and smokey overtone from the bark.