One of the perks of being a vino-freak is that you sometimes get to have your Pinot and eat it to – and that’s certainly the case for the Bruny Island Cheese Company’s decadently soft, Pinot washed rind cheese Oen.
Derived from the word ‘oenology’, the science of making wine, Oen is more about art than science – it’s a true labour of love from Australian cheese maker Nick Haddow, who started Bruny Island Cheese Company in 2001.
Growing up in a ‘foodie’ household in Adelaide, Nick started working in some of South Australia’s best restaurants before developing a taste for cheese.
After working with Australian cheese specialists Will Studd and Richard Thomas, Nick went on to work at Milawa Cheese Company and the Meredith Dairy before he was awarded a Queen’s Trust Grant, which bought his ticket to Europe in the late 1990s.
Nick spent the next decade learning traditional cheese making and maturation techniques from artisans in England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, France and Italy before coming home to settle in Southern Tasmania’s Bruny Island.
He now produces some of the finest artisan cheeses in Australia – from his 1792, a soft, washed rind cheese named after the year the French first set foot on Tasmanian soil, to his easy-going hard, natural rind cheese, simply named Tom.
Then there’s his Pinot washed wonder, Oen.
Pungent on the nose, this delicious cow’s milk cheese is washed in Tassy Pinot Noir before it’s wrapped in local vine leaves and carefully matured.
Don’t be put off by the smell – somewhere between old footy socks and wet Labrador.
Once it hits the palate you’ll be rewarded with a strong, sharp punch of smoky-yeasty flavour – think Vegemite on heavily buttered crusty bread.
Oen’s luxuriously creamy, melt-in-the-mouth texture is soft, fudgy and the perfect partner to any good glass of Pinot, especially a top drop from Tasmania.
To get your hands on a wheel, or to find out more about the Bruny Island Cheese Company, go to: www.brunyislandcheese.com.au