Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tasting Wine and Chocolate...

Wine & Chocolate
The Goddess of Wine™ often finds herself in conversations about pairing wine with food, and occasionally that food is chocolate. Ask most folks about pairing wine with chocolate and you'll most likely hear about dessert wines. Lovely wines like Sauternes or Port or Madeira. But, I rarely drink dessert wines, and when I do, I generally pair them with cheese, but that's a story for another day.

So, the Morro Bay Wine Seller, Ley Vaughn, and I put together a class to pair table wines - all available in the USA, and specifically at the MBWS, to pair with dark, bittersweet chocolate. All these chocolates are available at Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates in San Luis Obispo, and are sourced via Fair Trade cooperatives.

Our lively group of tasters found the following (after the jump):

Wine/Chocolate #1
2015 Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast – 100% Chardonnay. The texture is rich and viscous, with flavors of green apple and citrus. Notes of mineral, vanilla and spice linger on a clean, crisp finish.

Paired with Peruvian chocolate – Made from Criollo, the highest quality and most difficult-to-grow variety of cacao, this is not as chocolaty as others, but has cinnamon and tropical fruit flavors.

Wine/Chocolate #2
2015 Clean Slate Riesling, Mosel River Valley, Germany – 100% Riesling. This wine has that typical slate-like minerality of wines from the Mosel River, a tributary of the Rhine in Germany. It is difficult to overstate the importance of that slate, depicted on the label as a cairn of thin platters of the gray stone. Flavors of peaches, pineapples, and crisp Fuji apples, finish with a fine balance of fruit and crisp acidity.

Paired with Vietnamese chocolate – Made from Trinitario, a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero, originally from Trinidad, with deep notes of chocolate and coffee, along with overtones of raisins and dried apricots. This pairing was the hit of the day, with folks asking to revisit it several times!

Wine/Chocolate #3
2012 Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy – 100% Sangiovese. Fresh red fruits and berries with minerals and stone on nose. Mushrooms and cocoa with soft tannins on the palate.

Paired with chocolate from Papua New Guinea – Made from Forastero, a variety that can be intensely chocolaty and sometimes spicy, but rarely nutty or fruity. Flavors of dried cherry, tobacco, and leather.

Wine/Chocolate #4
2015 Renacer Punto Final Malbec Clasico, Mendoza, Argentina – 100% Malbec. Aromas of red currants, blackberries, and plums, with notes of pepper and clove. Flavors of black cherries, red and black currants, and juicy plums with hints of wood spice and vanilla on the finish.

Paired with Mexican chocolate – Made from Forastero, flavors of chocolate, coffee, and cinnamon.

Wine/Chocolate #5
2013 Bodegas Breca 'Breca' Garnacha Old Vines, Catalayud, Aragon, Spain – 100% Garnacha (Grenache). The vines were planted between 1925 and 1945 in soils comprised of slate, gravel and red clay on terroir of steep hillsides and head-pruned vines in Calatayud, Spain. Aged in old large French Oak barrels for 21 months, this wine has raspberry, truffle, kirsch (cherry) liqueur, lavender and stony characteristics.

Paired with chocolate from Madagascar – Made from the Trinitario variety, this chocolate tastes of hazelnut and raspberry.

The best part of this class was that so many attendees were amazed at the subtle changes in both the wines and the chocolates when paired together. And everyone agreed that it would have never occurred to them to create these pairings. Success!

What a #tasty way to start the year! Cheers!

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