Dante is a seasonal sheep’s milk cheese, made by the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative. The cheese is made between February and September. The milk comes from flocks located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa. The ewes are pasture fed for most of the year. The cheese is aged for at least six months. An extended aging process develops toasted nut and brown butter aromas, and gives a sweetness to the cheese. I find that it has a nice, rich, flavor.
The paste is a gold-ivory color, shifting to light brown near the rind. The color is probably from the carotene in the pasture diet of the animals. The cheese is coated with an edible plastic rind, which I’m not particularly fond of – it gives the cheese a strange texture – but it’s easily peeled off. The flavor is quite nice. Near the center, I find a slightly salty-sweet flavor with grassy notes and a touch of butter. Near the rind, the flavor deepens, giving a hint of pecans and brown butter. Allowing the paste to linger and dissolve in the mouth gives a more intense buttery flavor, with a little lemony taste at the end. The finish is nice, and lingers pleasantly for a while.
I tried this cheese with some Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin. This is a value wine that I quite enjoy. It’s not the greatest zin, but it’s a pleasant drink, and a nice day-to-day wine. It has a nose of chocolate and berries, with spicy undertones. There’s a hint of white pepper, vanilla, and a little tobacco. The flavor is a little tannic, with white pepper, chocolate, dark fruit, and berries. The finish is medium, and pleasant.
It’s a nice combo with the cheese. The cheese brings out the fruit in the wine quite a bit. The wine makes the cheese taste a little sweeter, especially on the finish. At the first hit, the cheese feels saltier, but that dissipates into a pleasant combo. I wouldn’t say that either elevates, but I would certainly give this a +1 as a paring.
Other scores for this cheese with some recent parings:
|The Clif Family Climber White Blend:||-1||Developed a metallic taste. Not pleasant|
|Mattebella Chardonnay:||0||Not bad, not great, but it worked. Nice for a party|
|Buehler Russian River Chardonnay:||-1||Sour taste, not pleasant at all.|
|Clif Gary’s Improv (Syrah):||+1||Nice. The wine made the cheese better, the cheese didn’t hurt the wine|
|Santa Carolina Carminere:||0||OK, neither was hurt, neither was improved.|
|Dracula’s Blood:||-1||Sucked <g>|
|Santa Carolina Cab:||-1||The cheese killed the wine|
|Kits Killer Cab:||0||Was OK. I almost gave this a -1, but the finish wasn’t bad|