What's not to love when two of your favorite things, wine and cheese, are combined into one delicious bite? Drunken Goat cheese (Murcia Al Vino) is a crowd-friendly, always popular goat cheese from Spain, where you might see it called queso de cabra al vino. The purple rind comes from bathing in red wine, which also gives the cheese a slightly fruity flavor. The flavor is also sharp and tangy, but in a very mellow, "I-want-everyone-to-like-me" sort of way. For those who don't like goat cheese, Drunken Goat is very much un-goaty.
Drunken Goat is made in the town of Jumilla in Murcia, a region in southeastern Spain, and from the pasteurized milk of local Murciana goats. The wheels are soaked for two to three days in red Doble Pasta (double paste) wine. This is a rich wine made from the Monastrell grape that is fermented twice. After soaking, it is aged for two and a half months. This results in a semi-soft, creamy texture.
Drunken Goat is perfect for any party, or for your own private afternoon snack. It's fun to serve with other Spanish accouterments like Spanish chorizo, Marcona almonds, and olives. It also pairs well with desserts as it has a sweet creaminess and the grape aroma from the wine bath.
Should you eat the rind on Drunken Goat? Whether or not you eat any cheese rind is up to you, but the rind is edible and usually has a very mild flavor and soft, thin texture.
Fruity red wines (especially those from Spain) pair well with Drunken Goat. But many people also find it enjoyable to have with cocktails.
Drunken Goat cheese melts well and can also be used in recipes. Add it to hot or cold sandwiches, pizza, or salad. It makes a great addition to a salad of sliced heirloom tomatoes and greens.
A Plea to Goat Cheese Haters
Goat cheese can be a love-it-or-hate-it thing. Some find the tangy, acidic flavor to be unappealing. Others love it. But not all goat cheeses are the same.
If you don't care for fresh goat cheese, give aged goat cheese a try. Even those aged only a few months (like Drunken Goat) lose the acidic bite that people associate with goat cheese. Next time you're in a cheese shop, ask for Midnight Moon (made in the style of gouda), Chèvre Noir (goat cheddar), or Garrotxa (sweet and nutty).
Other Types of Spanish Cheese
Drunken Goat cheese is a very popular Spanish cheese in the U.S, right up there with another crowd-pleasing favorite from Spain, Manchego. But these two cheeses are far from the only Spanish cheese worth checking out.
Next time you're at the cheese shop, ask about Garrotxa, Ibores, Majorero, Idiazábal, Tetilla, and Mahón. All of these Spanish cheeses have unique flavors and textures that are worth seeking out and each is fairly easy to find in cheese shops in the United States.