Every year, cheesemakers, retailers, consumers and food critics (and foodies) come together to judge over 4,000 cheese from over 40 countries for the World Cheese Awards. Surprisingly, Oregon’s Rogue River Blue Cheese won in 2019/2020, the first time an American cheese has won the title of “World’s Best Cheese.” Most people on the East Coast have likely not eaten much Oregon cheese, let alone the world’s best cheese. The Rogue River Blue Cheese is special. After spending 9 – 11 months in an aging cave, the precious cheese wheels are hand wrapped in organic, biodynamic Syrah grape leaves, soaked in pear spirits.
Tasting this cheese, alongside Syrah from Cowhorn Vineyards and Gardens (the same Syrah leaves used to make the wine), lunching among the vines, is a once in a lifetime gastronomic experience (cover photo). Cowhorn is located in the Rogue River Valley, about 13 miles from the idyllic wine town of Jacksonville, Oregon. Practicing biodynamic farming, Cowhorn’s wines are gorgeous, and the vineyard is a special place to visit. If you can’t make it to Southern Oregon, you can recreate the indulgent experience with a carefully curated wine and cheese pairing.
The cheeses from Rogue Valley Creamery pair well with Oregon Rogue Valley wines and beer. When pairing wine and cheese, match the intensity of the cheese (like an intense blue cheese) with an equally intense wine. Rogue cheese’s flavors also lend themselves to complementary wine pairings, so fruity, aromatic wines are matched with floral cheese (like lavender). Smokey cheese matches well with wines with an earthy, dusty characteristics (Tempranillo). Harder cheeses pair well with wines with more structure, like tannins and body. Here’s a menu of paired cheese bites with wines. Enjoy!
Rogue Lavender Cheddar on sourdough flatbread bites, blueberry cardamom preserve
Weisinger 2018 Avra Vineyard Grenache
Rogue River Blue baguette crostini with pear and honey
2Hawk Darow Series 2017 Tempranillo
Rogue Valley Hazelnut Beer
Rogue Smokey Blue Cheese on fig and olive rainforest crips, sliced figs and pecan bits
Weisinger 2018 Estate Tempranillo
Rogue Chocolate Cheddar Stout on oatcake, topped with dijon mustard and onion jam
2Hawk Darow Series 2017 Malbec
Rogue Valley Chocolate Stout