A taste of the Hills – s28 Sunrise and Sunset
Terroir is a much used (and abused) term that originated in the French wine industry. It doesn’t have an exact English translation but it references the unique set of environmental factors that affect the taste of a product – the climate, the soil, the terrain and the way the country is farmed.
It is the reason why a Roma tomato grown on the Adelaide Plains will be different to one grown in Queensland, or why a Shiraz from the Barossa Valley will be different to one from the McLaren Vale.
We established Section28 Artisan Cheeses with an absolute commitment to excellence, and to producing alpine-style cheeses of the highest quality. A fundamental part of our ethos is the crafting of cheeses that reflect the terroir, or the taste, of the Adelaide Hills.
In capturing this taste of the Adelaide Hills, we are committed to creating unique, handcrafted cheeses that give you a sense of our environs, and a food experience that transports you to this glorious part of the world where we make our cheeses.
Another key founding aim of Section28 is a desire to be a part of the local community. In doing this, we deliberately located our factory close to the dairy that supplies our milk and have sought opportunities to collaborate with other talented local artisans that are working to capture the taste of the Adelaide Hills.
One of the awesome local artisans we have had the pleasure to work with over the past 18 months is Brendon and Kirsty Keys from BK Wines. We share their goal of making great art, admire their passionate approach to winemaking and love their wines.
With wine and cheese being natural bedfellows, early last year we discussed opportunities for working together. This week we are very excited to be able to launch the product of that collaboration!
We have crafted two limited release, semi-hard cheeses that are unique in their manufacture and affinage, and have been aged for 10 – 12 months in our cave. As a result, we think they are a unique reflection of the taste of the Adelaide Hills and demonstrate the benefits of local collaboration.
Our Section28 Sunrise is washed in Chardonnay lees from BK’s Petillant Naturel. Its golden rind captures the essence of a Hills sunrise and encases a cheese with a supple texture and complex flavour. It has a buttery and creamy taste, with floral notes and a certain frizzante and freshness from the lees.
Our Section28 Sunset is washed in lees from BK’s Gower Pinot Noir. The lees give the rind a deep purple colour and the resulting cheese has floral notes and an emerging roasted nut flavour that is complemented by its unique spicy undertone.
We hope you enjoy these two seasonal cheeses and look forward to your feedback!
A Visit to Coopérative de Grande Rivière
Grande Rivière is situated in the Haut Jura (Upper Jura) in Eastern France. The Jura is the mountain range that separates France and Switzerland – just where Geneva pokes into the eastern part of France – and is filled with sub-alpine meadows, fresh water lakes and Monbéliard cows. All perfect for making Alpine cheese, and in particular all necessary for AOC designated Comté and Morbier cheeses.
The Coopérative de Grande Rivière is located in a tiny hamlet (Grandvaux aux Chauvins) just off one of the main country roads that cut across the mountains from Dijon to Geneva. There are 21 members (local dairy farmers) of the Coopérative and it specialises in the production of Comté and Morbier.
It is also unique in that it is one of the few coopératives that produce, age and sell the cheese, all on the same premises. Given the region and the cheeses produced, spending the day at a Fromagiere was always going to be a highlight for me.
My visit was arranged through a friend of a friend’s friend and confirmed in my French, which is always a little dangerous!
However, a call to Monsieur Troutet confirmed that I was expected and his very informal instructions to “…come at 7am, ring the bell to the factory but don’t wait, just come on in” set the tone for the visit.
After staying overnight in a little hotel on the edge of the lake, I followed M.Troutet’s instructions, rang the bell and went in.
His day had started an hour and a half earlier so the cultured milk was already in two of the three 5,000L vats in his factory (he will do five full vats today).
The plan was to make a vat of Morbier (a bonus for me as they usually only make Morbier in the winter months) and the rest Comté. A smile was firmly planted on my face as we turned the milk, fresh from the morning’s milking, into 40 wheels of Comté (each weighing 40kgs) and 72 wheels of 7kg Morbier!!!
However, the highlight was going through the aging rooms with M.Troutet where the Coopérative stores more than 12,000 wheels of Comté. The opportunity to smell, taste and tap (the professional way to see if your Comté has undesirable holes in it) cheeses with a range of different ages was just brilliant!
Being able to watch how a genuine Artisan makes cheese that is exceptionally well regarded, using modern equipment and traditional techniques, was an absolute privilege and an outstanding learning opportunity. It was a humbling experience to be making two of my favourite cheeses (and in fact the cheeses that inspired the Section28 adventure), in the area that the cheeses were originally created and in a location where they have been made for generations.
A very big thank you to M.Troutet for his time (and his patience with my French), and to M.Picoulet for arranging the visit. If you are in the area or passing through enroute to Geneva, the Coopérative has a fantastic visitor’s centre alongside their shop and a visit is highly recommended!