Sheep milk is a key ingredient in these products.
“Sheep’s milk is also mild but has undertones of roast lamb and lanolin. It is slightly sweeter than cow’s milk. As sheep’s milk cheese matures, these characteristics are intensified, as exemplified in the hard mature sheep’s milk cheeses like the famous Pecorinos of Italy or the Basque and Pyrenees cheeses of France and Spain. Typically they are very nutty – as if fresh milk has been infused with crushed walnuts or brazil nuts – and the sweetness comes through to suggest burnt caramel, sweet fudge or caramelized onions. The aroma of lanolin, like the smell of wet wool, also adds its own distinct personality to the final cheese.”
And about the lack of sheep lactation out of season…
“Some producers freeze goat’s or sheep’s milk for these times and continue to make excellent cheeses. Others believe in the old ways and simply stop milking their animals. Their cheeses are therefore seasonal.”
From The World Encyclopedia of Cheese, 2010, Hermes House.