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New to Zuercher: Nettle Meadow and their delightful goat/mixed milk cheeses!

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We are constantly evaluating new lines and looking for cheeses that complement and expand upon our existing offerings.  Whether it’s a traditional English Clothbound Cheddar, seasonal Swiss Alpage selections, or the most premium American startups, our goal is to offer the best examples of every cheese category imaginable.  With that in mind, we are now offering the cheeses of Nettle Meadow Farm.  In our estimation, Nettle Meadow makes some of the most premier fresh goat and mixed milk cheeses in the United States.

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Located in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, Nettle Meadow milks their own herd of 300 cross-bred goats and a couple dozen sheep.  Cheesemaker/owners Sheila Flanagan and Lorraine Lambiase take great care in every step of the process, from the animals to the milk to the make process.  For their feed, they use only organic hay and grain, helping impart higher butterfat content in the milk.  Besides this diet, all animals on the Nettle Meadow Farm receive superior care.  Retired milkers are allowed to spend the rest of their years on the farm, quite different from most commercial operations that slaughter the unproductive animals.  In fact, part of core mission of Nettle Meadow is their animal sanctuary that takes in and rehabilitates injured or abandoned animals that would otherwise be put down.

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Let’s introduce the stars:

Kunik Buttons 6/8oz:  Kunik is the flagship of the Nettle Meadow line.  Made with goat’s milk and added Jersey cream, Kunik sort of occupies its own space in the cheese pantheon.  A mixed milk triple crème, it has the fudgy/creamy/rich profile from the cow’s milk that is complemented by a goat’s milk tang.  It hits all target audiences – both a connoisseur’s cheese and a total crowd pleaser.  Being both cute as a button and a cute little button has its advantages- the small format makes it easier to sell as a new, stand-alone cheese.  This is a great size to introduce to customers not yet acquainted with this wonderful cheesemaker. Kunik would be fantastic paired with sparkling rosé.

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Nettle Peaks 6/10 oz: an ash and geotrichum rinded goat’s milk pyramid, Nettle Peaks showcases the quality of the clean goat’s milk.  With just a light goat flavor and other gentle flavors that reminded us of licorice and sunflower seeds, Nettle Peaks can serve as a very approachable entry point into goat’s milk cheeses.  Pair with a New World Sauvignon Blanc. The herbaceous notes and lemony zip will complement this 100% goat’s milk cheese nicely.

Simply Sheep 6/8oz: a sheep’s milk disc, Simply Sheep showcases a rich and meaty creaminess.  Sort of a similar profile to Kunik but with a more assertive sheep’s milk animal or barny side.  Pair with a Saison/farmhouse ale with funky yeasts. We think it would play off of the barnyard notes of the cheese.

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Three Sisters 6/6oz: Because if a cheesemaker has access to cow, sheep, and goat’s milk, they have to do at least one cheese that incorporates all three.  The flavor is mild and lactic, with no one milk profile overpowering the others.  Try pairing with Spanish Albariño: bright peachy acidity, but enough body to match the buttery sheep and cow’s milk sweetness.

Crane Mountain 6/10 oz: A “block of semi-aged chevre”, Crane Mountain warmed a few hearts in our office.  With grassy and mushroomy notes amidst the fresh goat taste, Crane Mountain finished with a graham cracker-like sweetness.  When young, a French Chenin Blanc would be crisp enough to match the bright “feta-like” flavors. When more aged, an Old World Pinot Noir would stand up to the earthy mushroom notes that emerge.

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