This cheese turned out to be a bit of a mystery, the cheesemonger couldn’t tell me who the specific maker was, that’s not terribly uncommon for a style of cheese made by many… but what really through me was the description that said this was a cow’s milk Ubriaco or “drunken cheese”. Now, while I’m not yet, officially, a cheesemonger, nor do I have decades of experience… but I’d like to think I know enough to tell you this was now cow’s milk.
What we had here was clearly sheep. Pecorino. Pecorino L’Ubriaco.
Ubriaco cheese, which translates as “drunken” cheese, when made from cow typically hails from Treviso, in the Veneto region of Italy. It can be either raw milk or pasteurized and usually it’s aged for around 18 months, the last six of which find it undergoing “ubriacatura”, the process where it is dunked, soaked or rubbed in wine, pomace, must and occasionally olive oil.
But the cheese I’m reviewing here is a variation on Pecorino Brillo di Vino. The process of making is the same or similar but it can be found made all the way to Sardinia.
Whatever it’s provenance, it’s one of the best examples of “ubriacatura” I’ve ever had. When only rubbed or briefly soaked, this style of cheese tastes of the wine only on and along the rind. This one is full of grape essence and tang all the way through the paste, Delicious! It’s otherwise a bit salty, very firm and dry with a light but lingering acidity.
Cheese: Pecorino L’Ubriaco
Milk Type: sheep
Texture: firm & dry
Shape: small wheel
Tasting notes: red wine, tangy, salty, very pleasant.