Rogue River Blue
David Gremmels and his partner bought Rogue Creamery on a handshake from Ig Vella (Vella Cheese Company) in 2002. Rogue was originally founded in 1933 by Ig's father, Tom, who ran it as a successful creamery for many years. Upon Tom's death in 1998 (aged 100), Ig took over and then finally sold it to the duo in 2002, with the stipulation that they would continue to make the creamery’s signature cheeses according to tradition.
Today, Rogue Creamery is a thriving business that produces a variety of award winning cheeses in addition to the originals that the Vella family created. Milk for production comes from Rogue Creamery's own USDA Certified Organic dairy that sits on a 75-acre property with a quarter mile frontage on the Rogue River, which is used to irrigate the pastures. The milkers go out on pasture daily, when weather permits, (from March to November), but are not exclusively grass-fed, as they also consume organic hay and grain.
Aged for between eight months and one year, Rogue's multiple award winning Rogue River Blue is an unusual and delicious raw milk cheese, wrapped in pear liqueur-soaked grape leaves. The leaves are hand-selected from local organic and biodynamic Cowhorn Vineyard.
Aromas are of earth, cellar, sherry and port. The texture is dotted with crunchy bits (crystalized amino acids) that give it a slightly granular mouthfeel. Flavors are incredibly complex. Notes of butterscotch and caramel are balanced by a pronounced tang and hints of spice from the blue mold. There are also savory, vegetal and alcohol notes imparted by the leaves.
Pair it with a sparkling shiraz, a barley wine, a double IPA, or an imperial stout.