What do you do when you’re tasked with finding the perfect California cheese to pair with Bordeaux varietals? Author and cheese program director Kirstin Jackson knew just the thing: Valley Ford’s Estero Gold Reserve. An aged raw cow’s milk hard cheese, Estero Gold is beefy and nutty, with a sharp crystal crunch — just what tannic Bordeaux needs.
In my book, the best pair-ers for Bordeaux varieties are semi-firm sheep’s milk cheeses and mixed milks, and older cow’s milk cheeses. While all the cheeses served were stunners (how could they not be, with cheesemakers like those at Garden Variety, Pennyroyal, Fiscalini, and Cowgirl Creamery, for example, at the helm), one that caught people off guard with its unusualness was the Estero Gold Reserve.
Photo by Kirstin Jackson