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Chocolate and wine – a match made in heaven?

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An article by Andrew Coghlan for City Business Magazine.

“I recently hosted a tasting of different styles of chocolate with different styles of wines and I was really surprised by the results.

We started out with a delicious Pinot Gris from Alsace, crisp and elegant, long in the fruit and good alcohol, with 13%abv. I paired it with a Pink Grapefruit and Orange truffle wrapped in white chocolate. It was sublime, the cutting acidity of the Alsace Pinot Gris working well against the sweetness of the white chocolate and leaving just enough balanced sweetness on the top of the palate to satisfy the finish.

Next was one of my favourite wines, from Oppenheim in the Rheinhessen area of Germany. Oppenheimer Sacktrager Riesling Spatlese 2005 was full on, petrolic on the nose with a deft acidity under the tongue. We drank it with bars of pure white chocolate and the combination again was great. not over sweet on the top of the palate but just enough edge to make the saliva glands kick in.

Moving on we tried a Recioto, from the Gambellara basin, 100% Gargenega grape variety, dried in the sun for 4 months and then pressed as raisins, aged 10 months in wood and settled away to store in cellars. With this wine we tried a soft caramel centred white chocolate which melted on the tongue. It really was a good match and actually made the sweet wine taste a little but drier.

After the sweetness we changed direction moving onto 2 Clarets.

First of all Chateau Pierrefitte from Lalande de Pomerol was super smooth, rich in red berries and just a hint of cocoa. This was great with some bitter chocolate 71% cocoa callets. Surprising how red wine goes so well with dark chocolate.

Then a Chateau Vieux Robin 1997, mature Claret at its best. High in Cabernet Franc and Merlot it went stunningly with a Sour Cherry Truffle in bitter chocolate.

Next a Port from Niepoort, a ruby style full of fruit and a hint of sweetness and caramel. We served this with a dark chocolate and cranberry chocolate, filled with dried cranberries, that really tasted full of fruit and just reminded me of the cold winter afternoons at Christmas that we have just left behind.

Finally a Pedro Ximenez Sherry from a 1940 Solera. Aged to perfection with a richness deep in Caramel and dark raisiny fruits. It was the perfect end to a special tasting and guests disappeared full of good wine, good chocolate and good cheer.”

Chocolates were taken from the Coghlans hand-made selection

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