Yesterday evening, during one of my frequent stops at my local Italian specialty shop, I happened upon a cheese whose description sounded so interesting, that I decided to buy some.  Even though I had ordered a nice chunk, Antonio sliced me a sliver to sample. I was hooked like and needless to say, for cheese afficianados out there –  this is a must try and could easily become my new “go to” cheese. 
Testun Barolo hails from the Piemonte region of Italy and originated in the Province of Cuneo. In Piedmontese dialect, “Testun” means stubborn, or hard headed and that lends it’s name to this cheese because the finished product is very hard and crumbly. 
The cheese is created from a combination of milk from Alpine pasture raised goats and cows.  The key to the gorgeous color of the rind, is that it’s then rubbed and wrapped in brilliant purple Nebbiolo grape must and aged  up to 12 months in oak wine barrels. The result is a dry, firm, nutty cheese that gets a slightly sweet, fruity flavor from the grape must.  It also has a slight tang on the finish from the goat milk in the blend and it’s very similar in texture to Parmigiano Reggiano.   It was absolutely sublime with a glass of the 2005 Frank Family Napa Valley Cabernet.  I know, I know, why not a Barolo?  This was a last minute pairing, and I didn’t have time to decant one of my older Barolo. But believe me, that’s coming!

Testun Barolo Formaggio

The 2005 Frank Family Napa Valley Cabernet  was precisely how I remembered it from my last tasting. It’s dark blackish purple and oh so young.  It gives off wonderful, typical aromas of black fruits, coffee, licorice, and warm valley floor dust. In the mouth the wine is full bodied, luscious and round. It’s got loads of black fruit, with toasty oak and spices.  The tannins, while still chewy, were easily tamed by the wonderful cheese.  That being said,  I think this one needs 2-4 years in the cellar for the tannins to soften.   92 points. About $35. 

2005 Frank Family Napa Valley Cabernet

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