Good old Ibores (full name â€“ Queso Ibores) from the Extremadura of western Spain, this cheese comes through as a successful pairing partner for a broad range of wines more often than not, though it does have its favorites. Like most goat cheeses, there is a strong bias in favor of the white wines, however the Ibores actually holds up well against quite a number of red wines too. The successes with the red wines have been noted in the type of Ibores that has the pimentÃ³n rubbed onto the rind.
Recently I had the opportunity to taste this cheese against some Pinot Gris wines while preparing to teach a Cheese & Wine 301 here at the Center. The wines that I tried were medium-bodied types with significant apple/pear aromatics. I have recorded successes with the lighter and leaner Pinot Grigios from Italy too. A nice idea for a summer picnic or light lunch can include a chilled Pinot Grigio with the Ibores, perhaps an arugula salad to highlight those flavor notes that are sometimes found in this grape
The Ibores are peaking during the warmer months and the ones that arrived here recently are some of the prettiest that Iâ€™ve seen in years. The Ibores can be produced without the sweet red pimentÃ³n and still fall within the legal definition for the cheese yet this is part of what gives the cheese its Spanish character; it lends a good dose of zesty umami to the flavor profile â€“ a good thing. This most important goat cheese of the Extremadura, the Ibores is always produced with uncompromised milk (meaning unpasteurized milk) which helps to give it added depth and a good claylike texture, as well as plenty of vitamins A & D.