Carmel Valley Ranch
If Charlie Cascio’s Crottin responds to shelf life like cheeses from the Loire Valley, definitive tasting notes would be rather pointless. Traditional Crottin tends to change – in both flavor and texture – rather rapidly as it sits.
Fortunately, the Carmel Valley Ranch goat-tender and cheesemaker marks the wrapper with a date. And really, who is patient enough to wait as the Crottin goes through its throes? At five days the goat cheese is creamy, but reaching toward semi-soft, with a charming character that is almost floral, layered with impressions of dried meadow grass and chalky earth, with a ripe, fruity character and distant salinity.
The spreadable Chevre is mellow in character, allowing hints of grass and chalk and red apple to show through, balanced by an impression of dry bark. The finish is calm and milky.
Cascio’s cheeses are an expression of the ranch’s terroir. The small herd of Saanen goats feed on local grasses. And Carmel Valley Ranch’s new market – it opened in June and sells a small selection of regional products – is just steps away from where he tends and milks the animals. Really, you can’t get much more local than that.
CARMEL VALLEY RANCH MARKET AND CREAMERY, 1 Old Ranch Road, Carmel Valley. 855-687-7262, carmelvalleyranch.com