A very particular Parmigiano Reggiano vertical tasting

by Annalucia Galeone 02/12/20
1108 |
Tanti stagionati di sola Bruna a Bari - Parmigiano Reggiano

Seven different ages of Parmigiano Reggiano made only from milk from the Italian Razza Bruna breed of cow. A truly unique tasting.

The first vertical tasting of Parmigiano Reggiano DOP (PDO) made from Razza Bruna cows was staged in Bari at Villa Romanazzi Carducci. The event, the first of its kind in southern Italy, was organized by the Consorzio Valorizzazione Prodotti Razza Bruna Italiana in collaboration with the National Organization of Cheese Tasters (ONAF). The producers’ association represents 26 enterprises, between livestock raisers and cheese factories, which produce 140 metric tons of milk a year.

Puglia is Italy’s fourth largest cattlebreeding region and the biggest in southern Italy. The tasting was conducted by one of Italy’s leading sector experts, ONAF vice president Maria Sarnataro, and offered seven different ages of Parmigiano. This cheese is the most imitated in the world and careful aging is one of its strongpoints. The cattlebreeding sector follows the same rules as winemaking: if the vineyard produces less, the level of quality increases. By the same token, if cows produce less, as is the case of the razza bruna, the milk is of a higher quality, if man’s intervention is correct.

Biodiversity, casein and long life were the key words. “Not all milk is the same, it varies depending on the breed of cow that make it – Michele Faccia, a professor of food science and technology in Bari, told us. The principle factors that influence cheese production are the skill of the cheesemaker, breed of cow, environmental and territorial conditions. The latter include geographic factors, the soil, climate, cultural and food factors and health conditions.

The razza bruna cow, also known as the Braunvieh or Swiss brown cow, which has been raised in Italy for over 150 years, is a tame and sweet-natured, strong and robust cow and its milk is particularly suited for making cheese. There are some 14.5 million brow cows in the world today, around nine million of which are in Europe and 400,000 in Italy. Working with milk that has a unique genetic makeup is important and livestock raisers are the caretakers for remote area of Puglia and Basilicata and Italy as a whole”.

The tasting:

12-month-old mountain organic - Trevignano sul Naviglio Palanzano Parma 

The aroma has notes of cooked milk, butter and beef broth and the mouthfeel has notes of toasted dried fruit and a pleasing balance between sweetness and salinity. It lacks flakiness due to its age.

18-month-old mountain organic - Urzano in Neviano Arduini, Parma

At first glance it seems younger than the one of 12 months. The lactic component in the aroma is less intense with notes that are both buttery and vegetal at the same time, with a particular scent of hay. The mouthfeel has a distinct acidity, wrapping notes of butter and a hint of beef broth. The structure is lumpy rather than flakey.

24 months - Fidenza, Parma

A complex aroma, beef broth, dried fruit and pineapple. The structure has a medium flakiness, the persistence is long and salinity extends the aftertaste.

30 months - Montechiarugolo, Parma. 

The aroma has vegetal notes and those of cooked milk and butter. The mouthfeel is balanced and towards the finish there are notes of bitter herbs and the persistence is long. The granularity is evident to the end.

36 months - Collecchio, Parma. 

The aroma has scents of pineapple, beef broth, hay and sweet spice. The mouthfeel is dominated by toasted notes accompanied by a great freshness. The structure has maintained its humidity, thus it is not dry, and the finish is long.

40 months - Gainago di Torrile, Parma. 

The bouquet is of aromatic herbs and spice. The mouthfeel has a great salinity, justified by the aging, and the dryness is only visual. The specks of white in the structure are due to the presence of tyrosine.

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