What is Rogue River Blue? America’s Award-Winning Cheese

What is Rogue River Blue? America's Award-Winning Cheese - Cheese Origin

In the world of cheese connoisseurs, Rogue River Blue needs no introduction. This artisanal cheese hailing from Oregon has carved a niche for itself as a symbol of American craftsmanship, quality, and flavor. The brainchild of Rogue Creamery, this blue-veined cheese has not just won the hearts of cheese lovers across America but has also garnered global acclaim.

Wrapped in Syrah grape leaves soaked in pear spirits, Rogue River Blue is the epitome of culinary creativity and tradition. The fudgy cheese offers a sweet, sharp bite that leaves a lasting impression on your taste buds. In 2019, it made history by becoming the first American cheese to be named the World’s Best Cheese at the World Cheese Awards, a testament to its exceptional taste and quality.

Quick Facts About Rogue River Blue

Quick FactDescription
OriginRogue River Valley, Oregon, USA
Cheese TypeBlue cheese
Milk SourceCow’s milk
TextureCreamy and dense with occasional crystallization
RindWrapped in Syrah grape leaves soaked in pear liqueur
Flavor ProfileFruity, spicy, nutty, with hints of sweet woodsy pine
ColorIvory with distinct blue veins
Maturation PeriodAt least 9-12 months
AwardsWorld Cheese Awards 2019-2020 – Best Cheese in the World
PairingsPairs well with dessert wines, pears, and dark chocolate
AvailabilitySeasonal (made only during autumn)
ProducerRogue Creamery
StorageRefrigerate and consume within a few weeks of opening
Allergen InfoContains lactose
Dietary SuitabilityNot suitable for vegans

What is Rogue River Blue?

What is Rogue River Blue?

Rogue River Blue, a true masterpiece of American cheesemaking, is a cheese that has won the hearts (and taste buds) of gourmands across the globe. Hailing from the fertile Rogue River Valley in Oregon, this exceptional blue cheese is the creation of Rogue Creamery, an award-winning producer renowned for its masterful cheeses.

What sets Rogue River Blue apart is not just its rich and complex flavor profile, but also the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into each wheel. Each cheese is aged for 9-11 months, allowing it to develop a dense, creamy texture and a beautiful ivory color that’s marbled with distinct blue veins. But the real magic happens when the cheese is wrapped in Syrah grape leaves soaked in pear liqueur, giving it a sweet, sharp bite and a unique finish.

This cheese isn’t just a treat for the senses, it’s also a record-breaker. Rogue River Blue was named the World Champion at the 2019/20 World Cheese Awards, making it the first American cheese to win this prestigious title. This recognition has not only propelled Rogue River Blue to international fame but has also underscored the rising prominence of American artisanal cheeses on the global stage.

To truly savor Rogue River Blue, pair it with Sable Rosenfeld Bourbon Dark Reserve Cherries, or serve it alongside dessert wines, dark chocolate, or pears. However you choose to enjoy it, this world-champion cheese promises a culinary experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

What Does Rogue River Blue Taste Like?

Rogue River Blue is a symphony of flavors that unfolds with every bite. This exquisite cheese from Oregon has been described as sweet and spicy, with heady notes of fermented fruit. Its core flavor is toasty and sweet, with the complexity of coffee and cured meat tones.

As you delve deeper into the cheese, especially towards the rind, it reveals brighter, sweeter, and edgier notes. The mild, nutty flavor of the cheese is beautifully complemented by its layered texture. Moreover, the cheese exhibits a rich fudgy texture, with an antique linen-hued paste and toile-style bluing.

The elegance of Rogue River Blue is further enhanced by mildly piquant scorched milk notes, which lead to a lasting finish of hazelnut and pear brandy. This cheese is not just flavorful, but also phenomenally balanced. The ‘blue’ flavor is evident but isn’t overly sharp or funky – it’s quite mellow and tangy, and the sweetness of pears also comes through.

In summary, tasting Rogue River Blue is like embarking on a sensory journey, one where sweet, savory, spicy, and fruity notes come together in a harmonious medley.

Rogue River Blue Tasting Notes

Rogue River Blue Tasting Notes
  • Initial Taste: The first bite of Rogue River Blue reveals sweet, fruity notes reminiscent of fermented fruit.
  • Core Flavor: The core flavor of the cheese is toasty and sweet, with complex undertones of coffee and cured meat.
  • Texture: It has a rich fudgy texture, with an antique linen-hued paste and toile-style bluing.
  • Near the Rind: Closer to the rind, the cheese exhibits brighter, sweeter, and edgier flavors.
  • Nutty Nuance: A mild, nutty flavor beautifully complements the layered texture of the cheese.
  • Piquant Notes: Mildly piquant scorched milk notes lead to a lasting finish.
  • Finish: The finish is long and complex, with lingering notes of hazelnut and pear brandy.
  • Balanced Flavors: The blue flavor is evident but not overly sharp or funky – it’s quite mellow and tangy.
  • Sweetness: The sweetness of pears comes through, adding another layer of complexity to the flavor profile.

How to Serve Rogue River Blue Cheese?

  • Cheese Board: Include Rogue River Blue on a cheese board with other cheeses of varying textures and flavors. It pairs well with both soft and hard cheeses.
  • Fruit Pairing: Serve it alongside fresh fruits like pears, apples, or figs. The sweetness of the fruit complements the rich, complex flavors of the cheese.
  • Wine Pairing: Pair Rogue River Blue with dessert wines, port, or even a bold red wine. The sweetness of the wine works well with the blue cheese.
  • Cherry Topping: Top the cheese with Sable Rosenfeld Bourbon Dark Reserve Cherries for an added burst of flavor.
  • Chocolate Pairing: The cheese can be served alongside dark chocolate. The bitterness of the chocolate balances out the sweetness and spiciness of the cheese.
  • Bread or Crackers: Serve Rogue River Blue on slices of crusty bread or neutral-flavored crackers to let the cheese’s flavor shine.
  • Honey Drizzle: Drizzle some honey over the cheese for an extra touch of sweetness that enhances its flavors.
  • Cooking: Incorporate Rogue River Blue into your cooking. It can be crumbled over salads, melted into pasta dishes, or used in gourmet burgers.

How is Rogue River Blue made?

The process of making this award-winning cheese revolves around the seasonality and quality of the milk, with production only taking place during certain months when the cow’s milk is at its peak.

The cows at Rogue Creamery are fed on fresh, green pasturage, which contributes to the unique flavor profile of the cheese. Once the milk is collected, the cheese-making process begins.

It is known that after the initial cheese-making steps, each wheel of Rogue River Blue undergoes extended cave-aging. This aging process allows the cheese to develop its complex flavors and creamy, fudgy texture.

What sets Rogue River Blue apart is a special finishing touch – each wheel is soaked in red wine made from organic, biodynamic Syrah grapes grown in Southern Oregon. This soaking not only imparts additional flavor to the cheese but also contributes to its signature bluish hue.

9 Best Rogue River Blue Substitutes

CheeseShort DescriptionTasting Profile
Cashel BlueAn Irish semi-soft, creamy blue cheeseMild, tangy, and slightly sweet with a hint of saltiness
SticheltonAn artisan English blue cheese, similar to Stilton but made with raw milkRich and creamy with a deep, round flavor. It has a spicy finish
UrdinaA blue cheese from the Basque region of SpainMildly piquant with a smooth, buttery texture
Garstang BlueA handmade blue cheese from Lancashire, EnglandCreamy and mild with a savory, slightly salty flavor
Nicky Nook BlueA blue cheese made in the Forest of Bowland, EnglandSmooth and creamy with a sharp, robust flavor
RoquefortA French blue cheese made from sheep’s milkTangy, crumbly, and slightly moist, with distinctive veins of blue mold
GorgonzolaAn Italian blue cheese, available in dolce (sweet) and piccante (spicy) varietiesRanges from mild and creamy (dolce) to crumbly and pungent (piccante)
Bleu d’AuvergneA French blue cheese from the Auvergne regionCreamy, with a strong aroma and flavors of grass and wildflowers
Danish BlueA semi-soft blue-veined cheese from DenmarkCreamy, with a mild, sharp taste similar to Roquefort

What Pairs Well With Rogue River Blue?

What Pairs Well With Rogue River Blue?

Food that goes well with Rogue River Blue:

FruitsPears, Apples, Figs, Grapes, Dried Cranberries
NutsWalnuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts
Breads/CrackersSourdough Bread, Baguette, Water Crackers, Whole Grain Crackers
MeatsProsciutto, Salami, Smoked Salmon
CondimentsHoney, Fig Jam, Pear Chutney
VegetablesRoasted Beets, Caramelized Onions, Arugula
DessertsDark Chocolate, Blueberry Pie, Pear Tart
Other CheesesBrie, Cheddar, Gouda
Cooking IngredientsTruffle Oil, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar
GrainsQuinoa, Farro, Wild Rice

Also read: 11 Best Crackers that Pair Well with Cheese

Beverage that goes well with Rogue River Blue:

WineSyrah, Port, Sauternes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir
BeerStout, Belgian Ale, IPA, Porter
SpiritsWhisky, Brandy, Bourbon, Armagnac
Non-AlcoholicSparkling Water, Pear Juice, Apple Cider
CocktailsOld Fashioned, Manhattan, Negroni
TeaEarl Grey, Chai, Green Tea
CoffeeEspresso, French Press, Cold Brew

Also read: Best Wine and Cheese Pairings: The Ultimate Guide

5 Reasons Why is Rogue River Blue so Famous

  1. Quality and Craftsmanship: The cheese is made from organic milk and is cave-aged for nine to 11 months, which gives it a unique flavor profile. It’s then hand-wrapped in Syrah grape leaves that have been soaked in pear spirits, adding another layer of complexity.
  2. Awards and Recognition: Rogue River Blue has received numerous awards, including the title of “World’s Best Cheese” at the World Cheese Awards. This recognition has bolstered its reputation and popularity.
  3. Unique Flavor: Reviewers often describe Rogue River Blue as delicious, with a fudgy and rich texture, and a flavor that includes notes of fruit, spice, and toasted nuttiness.
  4. Historical Significance: The cheese was first created in 2002, and since then, it has consistently impressed cheese connoisseurs around the world.
  5. Limited Availability: Rogue River Blue is only produced during the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice when the cows’ diet transitions from summer pasture to winter hay. This seasonality adds to the cheese’s allure.

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