Jos Vulto is a bit of a legend in cheese circles. Vulto, who hails from an art background, first started dabbling in cheesemaking while a partner in a Brooklyn metalworking shop. His natural talent was soon tasted by friends and his biggest supporter, his wife Miranda. Vulto met Miranda at PS1 after securing residency to craft sculptures from found objects and metal. The couple had a love of cheese in common, their first date is said to have included a sampling of a stellar washed rind cheese, a style that Vulto is now known for. Before Jos’s went pro and moved his operation upstate he experimented with various aging methods for his cheeses. He even crafted an aging cave in a crawl space in his Williamsburg studio that was under the sidewalk. Not big enough for living space but perfect for cheese.
As the cheese got better and better a plan was made to build an aging and production facility in Walton,NY, a place to craft Jos’s cheese and raise he and Miranda’s son in the country. Sadly while in the building stage Miranda was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in the winter of 2012. After a brief shutdown production began again the following spring and Jos crafter a cheese named after his love, Miranda, a cheese with a love story. Miranda is washed with an absinthe called ‘Meadows of Love’, (also made in Walton) that doesn’t impart the herbal flavors of the spirit yet gives it a beautiful, savory, flavor that hits the sweet spot.
I recently paired Miranda with an unusual dessert wine, also made in NY, that has its own interesting story, Tony’s Jeropiga
from Clermont Vineyards. Made by Tony Trigo, Jeropigo is a fortified wine with deep roots in Portugal. Clermont may be new to the Hudson Valley wine scene but Tony is well known in local wine circles for quite a few years, attending every winemaking event for a number of years. Clermont is one of the largest and most beautiful tasting rooms in the Hudson Valley and Trigo painstakingly renovated the barns himself with help from friends and family.
All wines are made from grapes grown at Clermont and one very special style of wine is featured. Tony is of Portuguese background and wanted to create a dessert wine from his estate fruit in a unique style rarely seen outside of its native land. Using late harvest Vidal Blance a grape spirit is added to fermenting juice till it reaches 18% ABV. Next the mixture is left to settle for up to a month, and then racked. The result is an exceptional dessert wine with bright, grapey flavor and just the perfect amount of kick. Add some roasted chestnut, the traditional pairing for Jeropiga, a wedge of Miranda, and you have the perfect way to end a meal!