The Good: Amazing taste, Melts great, Wonderful flavor, Good ingredients
The Bad: Somewhat pricy
The Basics: A perfect cheese, Sartori Merlot BellaVitano is one of the best cheeses to hunt down!
This year for my own little Oscars celebration, I splurged on a whole bunch of treats for the night. I scaled back on some of the meats and cheeses I was going to pick up for the event, but the first choice cheese I picked up was a block of Sartori Merlot BellaVitano cheese. That I purchased the Merlot BellaVitano was a bit of a surprise given how the Sartori Espresso BellaVitano (reviewed here!) completely underwhelmed me.
Even though I don’t drink wine, the Merlot BellaVitano is an incredible, flavorful, cheese that is amazing combination of fruit and cheese flavors. Right before the Oscars, I discovered Sartori Merlot BellaVitano cheese locally for $6.49 for the 5.3 oz. package. Despite the price making it seem like it would be expensive, the Merlot BellaVitano is a perfect cheese, worth every cent!
Sartori is a manufacturer of premium cheeses in Wisconsin. The intent of most Sartori cheeses is that they will be cheeses that hold their own as snacks that may be served to consumers in fancier settings. They specialize in intriguing cheeses that have different flavors infused into them, like merlot and espresso coffee. Sartori cheeses come in blocks that are premeasured, at least for the Sartori Merlot BellaVitano cheese.
The Merlot BellaVitano cheese is as its name implies. This is a solid white cheese with a wine flavor. Sartori Merlot BellaVitano cheese features a burgundy colored coating and is hard enough to maintain its shape when cut open.
Ease Of Preparation
Sartori Merlot BellaVitano cheese is a cheese, so more often than not, it is used on its own or as an ingredient in a recipe. Preparation of the cheese is pretty simple; cut the plastic away and slice the cheese! Sartori Merlot BellaVitano cheese is very easy to work with. My cheese plane easily sliced through the block repeatedly, though If the cheese dries out at all, it will fracture instead of slicing, like a sharp cheddar. It is exceptionally easy to work with on its own or as an ingredient in recipes.
When the cheese is sliced, it melts beautifully with wonderful evenness and liquidity, making it an ideal ingredient to make flavorful omelets or to replace cheddar cheese in dishes like macaroni and cheese. It is delicious when melted into sandwiches, eggs or even a cream sauce (to make a cheese sauce). The first time I tried this cheese as a component ingredient, was in an omelet and it melted beautifully there.
The Merlot BellaVitano smells delightfully like red wine. The aroma is almost entirely that of the merlot and none of the cheese it is embedded in.
On the tongue, the story is very different; the Merlot BellaVitano is a very sharp cheese, very analogous to a Parmesan cheese, though the wine in the cheese gives it an even sharper tang. The cheese is flavorful and finishes with a strong wine, Merlot flavor that is delightful and insinuates the fruity flavor of wine more than it embodies it. The sharpness of the cheese compliments the dryness of the wine in the cheese and it makes for a very satisfying combination!
Melted into something like an omelet, the Merlot BellaVitano cheese, the cheese melts perfectly! In its hot, fluidic state, the Merlot BellaVitano tastes very much like an extra sharp cheddar cheese with a hint of sparkling wine flavor as an aftertaste. That makes it an exceptionally flavorful cheese on its own or as a component in dishes!
Sartori Cheeses are not intended to be all that one lives on. But for those who try, the Merlot BellaVitano cheese is not a terribly healthy choice. The wine does not seem to add anything of note to the cheese of nutritional value. A serving size is considered a one inch block (1 oz.). In that, there are 120 calories, 90 of which are from fat. This cheese has 25% of one's daily recommended saturated fat intake, 10% of the RDA of cholesterol, and 7% of the RDA of sodium. On the plus side, it does have 18% of the RDA of calcium and has seven grams of protein. There is also 6% of the RDA of Vitamin A, though there is no alcohol in the cheese.
Obviously, Merlot BellaVitano cheese is a dairy product, so those who are lactose intolerant will have problems with it. This cheese is made primarily of BellaVitano cheese and merlot wine. That makes it mostly natural.
As a cheese, Sartori Merlot BellaVitano cheese should be kept refrigerated. So long as that happens, it ought to stay fresh for several weeks. I am utterly unable to write about shelf-life as our 5.3 oz block was gone within four days of being opened! So long as it is kept in an airtight, cold environment, it ought to remain fresh and supple. Our package bought before the Oscars had an expiration date of September 12, 2014 (and it got eaten up long before it ever could have expired!).
Merlot BellaVitano is a cheese, so it is not going to stain or ruin anything unless it is ground into a fabric. Baring that, cleanup of nonporous surfaces is as easy as wiping them with a damp cloth. Even the crumbs, however, are aromatic, so this is one that is especially important to clean up after!
Sartori Merlot BellaVitano cheese is perfect, plain and simple. The cheese and wine flavors are absolutely wonderful together and the cheese is amazing on its own or in dishes.
For other cheese reviews, please check out my takes on:
Yancy’s Fancy Roasted Garlic Cheddar Cheese Curds
New Bridge Mediterranean Cheddar Cheese
Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar
For other food and drink reviews, please visit my Food And Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |