Chardonnay is made by Ueli Moser at his BonCas dairy in Dotzigen, a small village in the western part of Switzerland known as Lake Land.
Moser comes from a cheese maker family. His father produced a variety of Swiss classic hard and semi hard cheeses such as Tilsiter and Emmentaler in the Thurgau region.
Upon completion of his cheesemaking apprenticeship, Moser moved to France where he worked - and fell in love - with the French soft ripened cheeses there. After his return to Switzerland, he bought the dairy in Dotzigen and for several years divided his time and labor between his father’s business, where he made classic Swiss cheeses and his new venture where he produced only soft cheeses.
Quintessentially, Moser is an excellent cheesemaker who is also a good businessman. His facility is modern, efficient and streamlined and the cheeses he makes are reliably consistent. As such, he has positioned his business to supply larger customers such as grocery store chains as well as smaller independent stores.
Moser works exclusively with cow’s milk sourced from larger milk co-operatives. With the exception of his Crublanc which is made from raw milk, all Moser’s products pasteurized.
For production of the Chardonnay, Moser adds a blend of 2/3 of thermophilic and 1/3 of mesophilic starter cultures, which contribute greatly to the cheese’s character. The surface of the cheese is innoculated with aerobic yeast cultures as well as a geotricum mold. The latter controls the growth of the yeast and keeps the surface from becoming too wet.
Once the curd is in the forms, the young cheeses are allowed to drain under their own weight. This expels some of the whey and allows the curd to knit together. During the first 24 hours, the cheeses are turned or flipped three or four times which promotes the even distribution and drainage of moisture and then placed in a brine bath for 90 minutes.
The next stage is the aging room. There, the cheeses are kept for between eight and ten days at a humidity of between 85-95% and a temperature of between 58-60?F - lower humidity and higher temperature in the beginning, higher humidity and lower temperature towards the end. During this time, the Chardonnay receives a second bath, this time comprised entirely of wine, for a period of twelve hours.
The wine Moser uses is aged in a steel tank, meaning that the yeast cultures stay alive and influence the cheese mainly within its paste. The anaerobic yeasts help to transform the protein which contributes to the cheese’s characteristically mild and yet full flavors and gently yielding paste.