Take two of your favourite things and put them together, as Section 28 and BK Wines collaborate on two cheeses, Sunrise and Sunset.
Kym Masters launched his label, Section 28, just over a year ago. Before immersing himself in the world of cheese, Masters spent most of his working life on an unlikely career path. “I had 15 years in investment banking,” Masters says. “I enjoyed it, I had good fun, but I wanted to find something that had a bit more meaning.”
Today, Masters spends up to 100 hours a week hand-making cheese – running logistics, social media and marketing – from his custom built facility in Woodside. The factory is made of shipping containers, and was built as close as possible to his chosen milk supplier.
A few months into production and sales, Masters had already secured an interesting partnership. “At the launch of Section 28, Brendon [Keys] from BK wines and I talked about collaborating at some point. So after last year’s harvest Brendon put aside the lees from his Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for us to use.”
Soaked in Pinot Noir lees, Sunrise has a “roasted nut aroma”
Lees is the dead yeast sediment left over from winemaking. It can be used to further flavour the wine, but is often discarded after a few weeks, or a few months, depending on the maker.
“We specifically made some smaller cheeses for this project, and only made about 120 kilos,” Masters says. “It was really a risk and development batch to see if it would work. We washed it for 10 months in the lees and it’s come out really well.”
This process has seen the birth of two new products, Sunrise and Sunset. Sunrise is washed in Chardonnay lees, which is used to make BK’s Petit Naturel. The fresh and juicy style of wines that BK is known for gives a certain “frizzante” to the golden, buttery cheese. Its rind is dyed a rich yellow hue. Sunset, washed in Pinot Noir lees, has a roasted nut aroma, complemented by spice characteristics from the red grape.
The two cheeses are available for purchase through Say Cheese, but with their limited supply, they won’t be around for long. With the positive feedback, Masters has confirmed a second run for release at Christmas time this year.
Section 28’s Sunrise accompanied by the wine it was bathed in
The inspiration for his experimental wine cheeses comes from a stint living in Italy. Between investment banking and cheese making, Masters and his wife took some time to slow down and pave a new path.
“We hadn’t necessarily decided that we wanted to make cheese before we went over
to Europe,” he says. “We took our boys over and lived a village life in Monforte, Piedmont, for 12 months. It was an amazing luxury. Very few people spoke English, so it was a real immersion.
“Each day I’d walk down to the piazza for a coffee and there was something in the shop window I’d pass. It looked like it was covered in plastic grapes. After about three months, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something different. A wedge had been taken out of it. I was like ‘oh, it’s a cheese!’”
It was the testun al Barolo. “I walked in and said in halting Italian ‘what’s this?’ they looked at me like I’d lost my mind and said ‘It’s cheese’.
“After a while I got some more details. It’s a mixture of end of season milks, when the milk is exceptionally rich, and Barolo grape must from the end of harvest. It’s that real moment in time captured in a cheese.”
The experience led to another smaller experimental cheese made with a Nebbiolo must that Masters found through the grape supplier, rather than winemaker.
“There’s a grower in Gumeracha that makes really great Nebbiolo so we gave them a ring and asked, ‘Who uses your grapes?’. They put us on to Andy Coppard down at Lino Ramble, who makes awesome wines. We gave Andy a ring out of the blue and said, ‘We want some of your grape must, is that alright?'”
The wine-soaked cheeses were washed in lees for around 10 months
The batch was so small that the cheese wasn’t officially released. But if you want to have a stickybeak, it’s available through the cellar door at Lino Ramble, while supplies last. Just ask for the “nebbia” – which is Italian for ‘fog’.
Section 28’s hand crafted products offer a true taste of the Adelaide Hills. Find his cheeses at Say Cheese in the Adelaide Central Markets, Bottega Rotolo and the Pasadena and