Said to be one of the first cheeses ever produced, this gem from Aquitaine, France has only gotten better with age. The wheels here at Murray's are rumored to descend from those produced by Aristee, Apollo's sheepherding son. Beneath its amber, mold-dappled rind lies an ivory paste that is both slightly granular and very rich, boasting toasted wheat aromas and nutty, grassy-sweet flavors. The unctuous sheep's milk curds are warmed before being pressed into wheels--its resulting texture makes it a superb melter, and its pious origins (often made in by monks in the western Pyrenees) ensure the high quality of the entire cheesemaking process. Ossau stands as one of the most pairable cheeses around. Perfect for a big Bordeaux, raisiny Port, or any new world red.
As seen in Saveur's Decadent Cheese Plates
Pronunciation: Oh-So Air-otty
Just the Facts
ChardonnayThis wine is all over the map – literally! Flavor varies widely depending on where and how it’s made.
Old World Chardonnay: crisp and minerally, with flavors of apples and roasted pears.
Pair with: Fresh or bloomy rind cheese, like Delice de Bourgogne
New World Chardonnay (USA, warmer climates): richly buttery and oaky, heavy notes of vanilla, brown butter, and tropical fruits.
Pair with: Slightly stronger cheese like sweet Tickler cheddar, or a mild washed rind.
Oxidized Chardonnay: When Chardonnay is intentionally exposed to air it is “oxidized.” Common in the Jura mountain region, this wine is almost sherry-like with spicy, nutty flavors.
CiderBrie and apples, cheddar and apples – both delicious! Why not extend that deliciousness to apples in liquid form? Enjoy cider and cheese for a pairing to remember.
English style: drier, more like a beer, with nice acidity.
Pair with: Just about anything but we love it with firm natural rind cheese, like Landaff.
Basque/Normandy : barnyardy and funky, but still with a little sweetness.
Pair with: A beefy washed rind, like Grayson to contrast the sugar and bring out the funk.
Farmhouse Ales & SoursFarmhouse, Saison, Bière de Garde, Lambic, Sour Beer
Farmhouse ales, instead of being driven by malt or hops, depend on the yeast for their distinctive spicy, floral, and tart flavors. Commonly made by brewers in France and Belgium, farmhouse ales are usually light in color and body and quite effervescent. From time to time, brewers allow wild yeasts to ferment the beer, resulting in a brew that falls somewhere in between pleasantly bright to bracingly sour.
Pair with: Mushroomy Brie Fermier or funky, bacony Epoisses are matches made in heaven.
Pinot NoirLighter bodied and delicate. Old World style generally offers more funk, New World more fruit.
Old World Pinot: Flavors of fresh cherries and raspberry balanced by a barnyard funk and high minerality. Sometimes has floral aromas, reminiscent of rose petal.
Pair with: Almost anything! Works with funky Frenchies Epoisses and Langres, or mild natural rinds like Tomme de Savoie.