I only recently learned how well wine and chocolate can pair together. Oenophiles may disagree, but then I’m no oenophile. I do think that paired correctly, wines and chocolates complement one another, heightening particular notes and flavors.
Anthony Colasacco of Pour Cafe & Wine Bar arranged for a fantastic wine and chocolate tasting tonight. We were each given a tasting sheet, five glasses and five packaged chocolates.
Only these were no ordinary chocolates; they were Vosges gourmet chocolates, and they were unlike any I’ve ever had, infused with spices and exotic flavors that you’d never think would work in chocolate. But somehow they do.
Since I have only a novice’s understanding of wine and chocolate, I worried less about what I should be tasting and why, and more on basic, gut reaction: Do these taste good together?
I must have a very non-discerning palate, because except for one pairing, they all tasted good. Here’s what we had (wines are in bold):
1) Temprannilo & Barcelona (hickory smoked almonds + Fleur de Sel grey sea salt + deep milk chocolate)
Observation: Loved the salt in the chocolate — the wine really enhanced the saltiness and the flavor of the almonds.
2) Negroamoro & Black Pearl (ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + dark chocolate)
Observation: Didn’t care for this one. Separately each tasted fine, but together the wine became tannic and unpleasant.
3) Moscato d’Asti & Naga (sweet Indian curry + coconut + deep milk chocolate)
Observation: One of my favorites of the night. Who knew that curry-flavored chocolate could be so delicious? I felt like I needed a side of naan.
4) Gewurztraminer & Red Fire (Mexican ancho and chipotle chilies + Ceylon cinammon + dark chocolate)
Observation: Mixed reaction on this one. A few people strongly objected to the Gewurztraminer’s aroma, with one person saying it smelled like a “perm.” I liked the combo of the spritzy sweet wine and the subtly spicy chocolate.
5) Rogue Chocolate Stout & New Orleans (Chicory coffee + cocoa nibs + Sao Thome bittersweet chocolate)
Observation: Another big winner. Anthony mixed things up on us, pairing a beer with the chocolate. First time drinking this beer and I loved it: full-bodied and rich but not heavy. And a very unique chocolate.
We finished the night with a sampling of Pour’s excellent food, like bruschetta of tomato, ricotta and aged balsamic, and these flatbreads with caramelized onions, manchego cheese and chorizo. Can you ever go wrong with chorizo? Not a chance.
This was a real treat of a night and I think everyone agreed: Wine, good. Chocolate, good. Wine + chocolate, very good. Give it a try sometime.