Sakatah is a native Dakota term meaning “singing hills.”

It’s also the name of a beloved State Park in Southern Minnesota and the name given to a 41-mile multi-use trail that stretches from Alemar’s home in Mankato to Faribault, Minnesota.

Our newsest product, Sakatah is a partnership between Alemar General Manager Tracy Drash and Cheesemaker Craig Hageman. Craig sought to make a cheese similar in style to a Banon or Le Mothais that is aged in a grape, chestnut, or similar leaf (though our cheese is made from cow’s milk not goat’s).

Tracy – whose husband is the Winemaker/Distiller at Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery in Kasota Minnesota — harvested leaves from the winery’s estate vineyard. She focused on the Marquette grape, the premier wine grape developed by the University of Minnesota specifically for the state’s climate. The leaves are harvested in fall and soaked in Brandy distilled at Chankaska for several months.

The Sakatah is a square made with a Geotricum Rind. It is wrapped in the leaf and then wrapped in paper for aging. The cheese has spice and peppery notes on the palate with an earthiness that lingers long after tasting the cheese. It is a beautiful cheese when presented and one we hope to continue as a Fall feature each year.