Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winey Tasting Notes: Chocolate and Wine

We are a few days out from Valentine's Day, which means that all our Winey hearts are turning in one general direction: wine and chocolate. A classic combo if ever there was one. And yet it seems that everyone has an opinion on how to pair them with each other. The first words that comes to my mind  are "constantly and abundantly". But I'm guessing that we'd all like to get a bit more specific than that. I  mean, why ruin perfectly good chocolate or perfectly good wine by making them play nice together when they simply cannot.

A lot of folks will tell you that sweet wine pairs better with chocolate. Others will tell you that big reds can be paired with sweet chocolate. Or that you should never pair an extremely dry wine with chocolate at all. Yikes. Lots of opinions, lots of decisions.

Rosa Regale sparkling red wine and Brix Smooth Dark ChocolateIt will come as no surprise to you then, that some inspired soul went out and developed a line of chocolate made to pair with wine. It's called Brix and I was lucky enough to get a sample of their Dark Smooth Chocolate, along with a bottle of Banfi's Rosa Regale (2012, 7%, Italy). Rosa Regale is the perfect wine for Valentine's Day - it's all pretty and pink and bubbly and it has a rose on the label. (Don't judge me here, I love a frilly Valentine, especially when it is inside a wine bottle.) The Brix box suggested that this particular chocolate (there are 4 varieties) would pair well with Champagne, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Vintage Port. So since Rosa Regale is bubbly and berry sweet (think strawberry and orange blossom and elegant little bubbles), it promised to be a yummy outcome.

bottle of Rosa Regale sparkling red wineFirst, I sipped the wine. Then I had some of the chocolate. It was a very mellow dark chocolate, by the way. Then I sipped some wine with the chocolate. The combo gave the wine a bit more of a sharp taste - more cherry than strawberry. It almost changed the texture of the wine, in that the bubbles felt different when the chocolate hit them. (Although this could also have been the amount of chocolate in my mouth. I truly have no self control went it comes to a gourmet block of chocolate. And I've grown to accept this about myself, OK?) Either way, I did love the bubbles paired with the smooth texture of the chocolate. The chocolate took on a bit more creaminess while the wine took on a deeper flavor. Pretty cool!

label of Rosa Regale sparkling red wineNot being in any way, shape or form research minded, I nevertheless decided to do a few more chocolate tests in order to make my pairing experiment a bit more chocolately scientific. I gathered up some semi-sweet chocolate. (OK, yes, it was in the shape of morsels. Come on, you can't tell me you all don't raid the baking cabinet when you desperately need a chocolate fix. It's like every Mom's secret stash.) This time the strawberry flavors of the wine were pretty much gone. The wine took a tangy, citrusy flavor.

And then I went for milk chocolate. Full disclosure here: this is my favorite kind of chocolate. In total opposition to the rest of the Winey Family, who love their dark chocolate. So I had to delve into my stash. And the combo of the sweeter milk chocolate with the sweet fizzy wine was NOT the way to go. The wine and the chocolate both lost their flavor. The finish did have a raspberry taste to it, but until then - nothing.

So I learned a few things here: I can't imagine any dry white wine going well with this chocolate. A sweeter Riesling would be fine though. Dark chocolate with a sweeter wine is heavenly. I think the milk chocolate needed a red wine (to make it more like my favorite chocolate treat: chocolate cherry cordials) as its partner. And the milk chocolate. Hmm...this is tough. I need to do a LOT more testing I think. By the way, the Brix folks suggest that their very dark chocolate be paired with a big red, but I am going to reserve judgement until I try it. So Winey Hubby, take note!

Let me know if you have a favorite wine and chocolate pairing. I am looking for testing options!

Happy Valentine's Day! Cheers!

I was given this wine and chocolate for review purposes. The opinions are all my own. Pin It

45 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing your thoughts.. this is helpful; I'll be a better wine and chocolate combo shopper #SITSBlogging

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  2. A wine mom blog--how cool is this?! I'll have to look around here. I live in the land of good but cheap wine--just down the road from where lots of the Rieslings are grown/produced (Dornfelders, too--yum!).
    #SITSblogging

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    1. Ooh I am jealous!! Those Rieslings are amazing!

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  3. I love bold reds with rich dark chocolate ... brunello, montepulciano. Basically any big red heavy with sangiovese grapes.

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    1. Keep on tasting! The experimenting is so much fun, isn't it

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  4. I don't drink wine, but I do love chocolate. I'll take a rich, creamy dark chocolate.

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  5. Get out! That is so creative. Perfect post for Valentines Day when the whole world is thinking about chocolate! ; )

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    1. Happy wine, chocolate and Valentines Day!

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  6. I've never understood the taste compliment of wine and chocolate. I love wine. I love chocolate and each have separate places in my heart. Now a little asiago Parmesan and a warm red merlot? Makes my day every time!
    Coming from #SITsBlogging & The Comment Love Tribe
    -Elle

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    1. Ooh the cheese and wine sound so good right now! My version of comfort food!

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  7. I love the idea of wine and chocolate for Valentine, thanks for the tips.
    You have a nice blog
    #sitsblogging

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    1. Thanks Adriana! Very glad you stopped by!

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  8. I am not a fan of chocolate and wine however my partner is! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this combo. Best Regards, Wendy #sitsgirls

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  9. Love me some wine and chocolate! Thanks for sharing your tips!

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    1. They are quite the combo aren't they Alyssa!

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  10. So pleased to connect with you and your blog through SITS! Thank you for sharing inspiration in this post.

    #SITSblogging

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  11. I have always wondered about chocolate wine -- I see it at BevMo and am always tempted... Perhaps I finally need to pull the trigger!

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    1. Go for it AJ! Let me know what you try....

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  12. I don’t know much about the wine that I drink, but your blog is sure wanting me to pay closer attention. Thank you for the inspiration! Visiting from #SITSblogging

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    1. As long as you like the wine you are drinking, all is well! I always try and tell people the specifics of each wine, and hopefully that makes it a bit easier.

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  13. I only started drinking wine when I married into a wine drinking family. My sister in law even got us a wine tasting kit for a wedding present. I've always wanted to host a girls night of some sort of wine tasting, and now I want to do wine and chocolate! These tips will be a perfect place to start. :) #SITSBlogging

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    1. Wine tasting parties are so much fun! Perfect girls night.... Let me know how it goes!

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  14. I learned a lot from this post. I'm a newbie when it comes to wine. Thank you!

    http://ahleessa4realz.blogspot.com/

    #SITSBlogging

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  15. I'm not a fan of wine. I've heard it's an acquired taste. Well I guess I haven't acquired it yet lol most everyone around me has though. I'll forward your blog to a few wine lovers I know. #SITSBlogging

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  16. Wine and chocolate, I always love the combination! #SITSblogging

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  17. Love your blog! I'm a fan of pretty much any chocolate...except white chocolate. To me, that's not chocolate. It's just candy. I'll eat it, but won't seek it out.

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    1. I love white chocolate, but it is so different in taste and texture from its brown counterpart. I like it on ice cream.. But it is more candy than chocolate.

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  18. Oh my husband would love this! I'm not much of a wine drinker but I can appreciate a good wine with food. Thanks for these tips!

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  19. I have honestly never tried chocolate and wine together, even though I love both! I will have to give it a try! #SITSBlogging

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    1. Oh you've gotta try them Angie! At least once.... :)

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  20. I Love Chocolate... And I do like Resling... But have never tried them together. Thank you for you insight on pairings

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  21. Wine and chocolate, my favorite combo! I love the concept of actually pairing wine with chocolate. Why not? We pair with food! Will have to try some of that chocolate one of these days... #SITSBloggin

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    1. I know...sometimes you forget that you can pair wine with so much more than dinner! Enjoy!

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  22. Ohhhh I'll have to try this combo :) (stopping by from SITS)

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  23. Wine and chocolate. Lucky you! I love the combo in baking, too!

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  24. I want to know what you think SJ! Enjoy!

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  25. You had me at Champagne and Riesling. Add Moscato and I'd be in Heaven. I can't wait to try dark chocolate with a sweet Riesling. #sitsblogging

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