What works with Westcombe?
Westcombe Dairy in east Somerset is the home of father-and-son cheese makers Richard and Tom Calver. Using the unpasteurised milk of their 400-strong herd of cows they make Westcombe Cheddar, traditional clothbound Cheddar with a deep flavour beautifully balanced between creaminess and acidity. Our June selection brings you this delicious Cheddar alongside a smoked variation and Duckett's Caerphilly which has been made on the farm since the 1990's. In a recent catch up with our friends at Heritage Wines we asked for pairing suggestions to bring the wow factor to these Westcombe cheeses.
The flagship cheese of Westcombe Dairy, the Calvers hand-make their Cheddar to a traditional recipe and then mature it between twelve and eighteen months under the watchful eye of Britain's first cheese-turning robot. Westcombe Cheddar bursts with a rich grassy aroma and flavour full of summer hay and dried orchard fruit. There are notes of hazelnut and caramel to its long finish.
Katie at Heritage Wines suggests matching these herbaceous characteristics with Montgomery Vineyard's Solaris 2019. Solaris is a grape variety of Germanic origin notable for its wonderful floral quality and Montgomery's is full of powerful notes of elderflower. Backed up with citrus and melon flavours which compliment Westcombe Cheddar's grassy and hay notes, there is also a kick of tropical fruit that lifts the match, acting in tandem with the wine's acidity. Pear drops and grapefruit are overlaid with a pineapple sweetness. The grapes for Montgomery Vineyard's Solaris are hand picked to ensure only the healthiest fruit is used to produce this white wine from Powys, Wales. Fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures to retain fresh fruit aromas, the wine is released and drunk young.
To create this smoked variation of Westcombe Cheddar, wheels of cheese are smoked for twelve hours over smouldering cherrywood adding a layer of complexity to the taste. Richly aromatic, the cheese retains its cheddar tang alongside deep woody flavours.
Smoked Westcombe is so intense and aromatic that Katie of Heritage Wines suggests a beer pairing such as Adnams Broadside. A dark ruby red beer, rich in fruitcake aromas, almond and conserved fruit. These dried fruit notes beautifully balance the smokiness of the cheese and together the flavours are reminiscent of peaty whisky. A great match to end a BBQ or to savour during winter months.
If you prefer a wine, Katie would suggest a full-bodied fruity Shiraz from Australia. This style of wine has the body, alcohol and flavour intensity to stand up to the smoked cheese.
Duckett's is beautiful example of traditional Caerphilly cheese with a chalky centre, clean yoghurty tang and bright notes of fresh grass and lemon, surrounded by a creamier layer of breakdown under its mottled grey rind.
With three to four months ageing Duckett's Caerphilly is complex yet delicate, a great match to Ancre Hill Estate Chardonnay 2018, a wine that is Chablis-esque in style. Apple pear, lemon and hints of vanilla in this wine each compliment the many layers of flavour in Duckett's Caerphilly. A simple but wonderfully pleasing pairing says Katie of Heritage Wines! Untoasted Austrian oak barrels are the seasoning component of Ancre Hill's Chardonnay. The release of oaky flavours by these barrels is subtle and elegant. Made by family-run Ancre Hill Estate in Monmouth, Wales the bouquet has a light buttery vanilla tone with hints of pear and apple fruit. In the mouth, the wine has a similar profile to the fine whites of Burgundy, carrying a little lemon kick towards the finish.