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Rogue River Blue

October 11, 2010

I first had Rogue River Blue from the Rogue Creamery while at home visiting my parents in Kansas City.  KC doesn’t really have many cheese shops beyond one place called “The Better Cheddar“.  Nice shop with a wide variety of cheeses and samples out for everyone to try.  As I was there tasting a few cheese that are not very common (Hoch Ybrig comes to mind), the monger asked me if I liked blue cheese. He had just received a wheel of Rogue River Blue from Oregon and he expressed surprise that he was able to actually get one.  This cheese is widely prized, as it is made in limited batches in the fall, and is hand-wrapped and aged in grape leaves macerated in pear brandy. Oh…did I also mention that it won Best Cheese of the year in 2009 at the American Cheese Society Competition?  Highly prized indeed…  So it was with great anticipation, that I tried this cheese for the first time.

The green and blue pockets mar the surface of this raw cow’s milk cheese, which can border on Technicolor in the right light.  It is an incredibly moist cheese, with a soft and velvety texture.  I imagine that the leaves help it retain quite a bit of its moisture.  The taste is quite unlike any blue cheese that you will likely experience.  There is a nice and sharp bite that you would expect from a blue, but the brandy from the wrapping of grape leaves penetrates the cheese and really rounds out the flavor.  The flavor is complex with hints of vanilla and a bit of smoke which makes for a truly fantastic cheese.  This is one of the best blue cheeses made in this country and is highly sought after.  We recently received a wheel of this at Lucy’s.  If you are in the area you might want to head there now and grab some.  I will be there again this coming Saturday and I might just take the rest of it for myself…

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