Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) released its Tillamook Makers Reserve 2013 and 2020 vintages into the brand's Maker's Reserve program. Every year, TCCA introduces a 10-year (2013) and a three-year (2020) aged extra sharp white cheddar into its specialty line of Tillamook Maker's Reserve cheeses. These vintages join the 2012, 2017, 2018, and 2019 varieties in the Maker's Reserve portfolio.
Jill Allen, Director of Product Excellence, TCCA, has been involved with the Maker's Reserve program since its inception. In her role, she leads the sensory tasting team to identify the flavors, textures, and aromas that elevate a cheese vintage to "Maker's Reserve worthy" status. Allen also creates flavor maps of the Maker's Reserve cheese vintages, while working closely with the TCCA chef to develop exceptional food and beverage pairing recommendations for these elite cheeses.
"Our Maker's Reserve Cheddars reflect an outstanding recipe, unusually good ingredients, and of course, the all-important factor…time," said Allen. "It is truly a special cheddar that ages and transforms into a unique tasting experience. Just as special as these vintages are the people making them – a team that uses pride, passion, and patience to produce award-winning cheeses with an unforgettable flavor, year after year."
Following a long, natural aging process, Allen and her team of tasting experts gather to grade every batch of cheese, measuring it against the TCCA's signature flavor profile to choose the best-of-the-best batches to become Maker's Reserve. Only a select few batches make the cut for this exclusive vintage program, which has earned awards and honors in some of the most prestigious cheese competitions, including the American Cheese Society, the U.S. Champion Cheese Contest, the World Champion Cheese Contest, and the International Cheese Awards.
Tillamook Maker's Reserve latest vintage tasting notes:
- Tillamook Maker's Reserve 2013: The first taste of Maker's Reserve 2013 gives hints of sweet cream and rich buttery brioche, while savory notes of toasted nuts help round out the flavor. This vintage features a luxurious, flaky texture with big crystals that add to the tasting experience of this long-aged cheddar. Pair this vintage with Porter beer, champagne, fruit spritz, fresh strawberries, and grilled vegetables for the ultimate tasting experience.
- Tillamook Maker's Reserve 2020: The Maker's Reserve 2020 brings an herbaceous, rich creamy aroma that gives way to notes of woodsy wild mushrooms and crispy dark bread. A smooth, rich texture punctuates the experience, with a slightly dry, short-bodied finish. This cheese will pair well with a lager or sparkling drink, such as prosecco or sparkling apple juice. Add candied hazelnuts and prosciutto to round out the tasting with something sweet and savory.
The 2013 and 2020 vintages can be purchased in the Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook, Ore., the Tillamook Market at the Portland International Airport (PDX), or on its website. The 2013 vintage will be sold – exclusively – at Whole Foods Market stores across the country beginning in February.