Pleasant Ridge Reserve
Pleasant Ridge Reserve is a one-of-a-kind cheese that's made in Wisconsin from the milk of nine different cow breeds. With an orange-brown rind and caramel-colored interior, Pleasant Ridge is complex yet approachable, with a taste that lingers and a texture as firm as one’s convictions. It is sure to be the star of any cheese plate.
Following the tradition of Beaufort, a classic Alpine cheese, Pleasant Ridge Reserve is made seasonally from May to October, when the cows are grazing on fresh pasture, and sold at two ages: Regular (7-14 months) and Extra-Aged (15-20 months). In 2001, 2005 and 2010, Pleasant Ridge Reserve won Best in Show at American Cheese Society Judging & Competition.
Pleasant Ridge Reserve's production began as a collaboration between Mike and Carol Gingrich and their business partners Dan and Jeanne Patenaude, who have since retired. After a successful career in the corporate world, Mike decided to pursue a long-held ambition of creating farmstead cheese modeled after traditional practices in the French Alps. Together, the Gingriches and Patenaudes started Uplands Cheese in the mid-1990's.
They immediately set to work improving the quality of the pasture by sowing new varieties of grasses, clovers, herbs, and wildflowers. Today, the cowherd at Uplands consists of nine varieties of crossed breeds, bred to be best suited to the farm and to produce the highest quality milk for cheesemaking. The farm incorporates rotational grazing across several dozen separate pastures on their 300-acres of land.
In 2007, Andy Hatch joined the team to take over as cheesemaker, and in 2010, Scott Mericka took over as herdsman. In 2014, Andy and Scott purchased the farm from the Gingriches and Patenaudes.
The complexity of the milk gives Pleasant Ridge Reserve a matched complexity of flavor—rich, deep, and smooth, with pleasing hints of caramel and salt. It has a grassy, floral finish that lingers on the palate. The texture is firm and smooth.
Although a strong standalone cheese, Pleasant Ridge Reserve pairs well with jammy cabernet sauvignon, pear and apple slices, rosemary herb bread, and dried cranberries. For dessert, pair with a sweet dessert wine and chocolate covered cherries.