I cast a hard eye on this wheel and decided that today was The Day...for cutting at 4 months' affinage.
I originally had considered going out to 12 months or at least 6 months. I have been pleased with the results around 4-6 months and so decided that this would be decent enough. Then too, I had a slight stickiness on parts of the flat surfaces of the wheel from the linens.
The wheel was reasonably firm to cut as is the style. The paste looks just about right...enough moisture and elasticity to allow flexibility in a slice, but not excessively so. The first taste...I have to allow my tastebuds/palate to become accustomed to the smoothness or grittiness of the texture, to the first impression of the raw milk nuances in the flavor, and to the overall acceptability of this cheese and the time, effort, and money that went into making it. The texture is smooth, a complex creamy flavor from grass-fed cow milk, and a mouthfeel that is firm but easily dissolved.
I am well-pleased with the results of this effort. This cheese helps me to approach consistency in the Beaufort cheese style.