Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chocolate & Wine!

Chocolate, Wine And…Breakfast!

Chocolate and red wines are great. And over the years of traveling to wineries I’ve learned to really appreciate the two together. Some wines even appear to have been made to enjoy with Chocolate!

Pairing wine with Chocolate can be fun. Just remember that Chocolate has intense flavors that can be both bitter and sweet at the same time. They can also be acidic, nutty and fruity so you need to pair your wine and chocolate carefully.

When pairing the two remember this rule, the darker the chocolate the darker the wine. 

Red wines are perfect for most chocolates. You need a dry full bodied wine that is fruity and has intense flavors. But you also need a wine with softer tannins to go with the smoothness of the Chocolate. If you must pair white wine with chocolate, you still need one that is fruity with intense flavors. 

And you also need full-bodied wines for those heavy chocolate desserts!

Ports seem to have been made with chocolate in mind, especially desserts. A lot of wineries will serve chocolate with Port Wines in their tasting rooms. The chocolate helps to bring out the rich flavor of the Ports and adds to its overall enjoyment. Making it much more likely that you buy the Port being tasted! 

Zinfandels also go very well with chocolate! 

Zinfandel is a uniquely American wine although its origin appears to come from an obscure Croatian grape.  Zens are dark rich wines with an array of flavors. They can have both red and dark fruit flavors of blackcurrant, blackberry, plum, cherry and raisin. Zens are also noted for their spice, smoke, vanilla, herbs, tobacco, coffee and Gale’s favorite pepper! With all that going on no wonder they’re so intense and bold!

Zins can also have hints of cocoa and chocolate which helps explain why they pair so well with Chocolate!   

Several years ago while visiting Parducci Wine Cellars in California’s Mendocino County, we had the opportunity of having wine shooters made from their Zingaro Zinfandel and Zinfandel Chocolate Wine Sauce. We brought several bottles of the Zinfandel home along with the Zingaro Wine Sauce. They made fun gifts, although our daughter Allison wasn’t too keen on the shooter idea. But she loved both of them separately.

Over the last few years I noticed more and more wineries are putting chocolate in their wines. These often show up in wine shops and at tastings around Valentine’s Day. I know this sounds like a great idea, a combination that is both decadent and delicious. However I think this is more a novelty, and after one glass most wine drinkers would decide to move on.

And maybe that’s the point, chocolate infused wine is not intended for wine drinkers. 

I can’t imagine giving one of these wines to someone who really likes wine. But I can see it as a way to get non wine drinkers to try wine and maybe decide they want to give different wines a try. Which would make chocolate wine another cleaver marketing idea of the wine industry like White Zinfandel.    

That was my view of chocolate wine until I tried the milk chocolate version of Chocolate Rouge. If you like chocolate milk you'll like this stuff. Better yet if you like Baileys Irish Cream you’ll love this wine. Over the years I’ve kidded that some white wines were so fruity and crisp that they could be breakfast wines. We’ve never tried that, but it is the reason I put breakfast in the title of this blog.

Because you could drink this chocolate wine with breakfast…and we did!             



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