A Little Wine and Chocolate (Therapy)

I had the pleasure of meeting Pam and David Griffin, owners of Chocolate Therapy in Framingham, MA at a grand tasting just about a year ago. When I became the sommelier and EVP of Product Development at Sail to Trail WineWorks, Worcester’s only urban winery, I knew we needed to offer something unique yet irresistible alongside our flight of wines. The mind blowing truffles crafted by Chocolate Therapy immediately came to mind, and I think our customers will agree, was an excellent addition.

When you visit the Sail to Trail tasting room, you have the option of enjoying a flight of the five wines in our portfolio. In addition, we offer a customized flight of Chocolate Therapy truffles to accompany each wine. Each wine is incredible on its own, as is each chocolate truffle, but when paired together, the explosion of flavors and textures is something that cannot be accurately described in writing. You’re simply going to have to visit and try for yourself!

Sail to Trail’s 2018 Sauvignon Blanc comes from California’s Central Coast. It offers a beautifully light, refreshing mouthfeel and flavors of soft grapefruit, candied lemon, and stone fruits. I call this our “porch pounder.” Imagine that warm, sunny summer day; this is the wine you want in your glass. Typically, dry acidic white wines tend to be a bit difficult to pair with foods with high sugar content, but that wasn’t even a challenge for Chocolate Therapy. Their Limoncello truffle provides complimentary flavors of bright lemon blanketed in luxurious white chocolate. This pairing is heavenly.

Our  2017 Chardonnay comes from Yakima Valley, WA and is unoaked. This chardonnay was aged in stainless steel, so in lieu of flavors of vanilla and toast, you will enjoy aromas and flavors of pineapple and tree fruit. Bright, refreshing, clean flavors are only changed once you pair this wine with the Sweet Potato truffle. Suddenly flavors of hazelnut explode on the palate. It’s like magic!

Sail to Trail’s 2015 Zinfandel from Sonoma County, CA earned itself 88 points from Wine Spectator and is a favorite among all of our customers. You are left with no words once you pair this wine that offers juicy, ripe flavors of raspberry, blackberry, and plum with the white chocolate Raspberry Gemme truffle.

We offer two Cabernet Sauvignons at the tasting room. The first is our best seller, 2017 vintage from Yakima Valley, WA. This delicious every day cab starts with ripe red fruits and finishes with a spicy note of black pepper. When paired with The Cure (dark chocolate with cinnamon, cayenne, and bay leaf), that spicy kick is amplified and offers a fun, unique marriage of flavors.

Finally, our 2015 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla, WA, which earned 89 points from Wine Spectator. This beauty offers layers of deep red fruit, earth, leather, spice, and sweet cedar. The Aristaeus truffle offers sultry dark chocolate with cold pressed olive oil and sea salt, finishing the flight on a truly luxurious note.

Fall In Love with Wine & Chocolate class at Sail to Trail on February 12, 2020

Visit Chocolate Therapy and Sail to Trail WineWorks for more delicious info!

Wine and Chocolate For Valentine’s Day

Originally published in South Shore Senior News, February 2019 Edition

Wine and chocolate, a match made in heaven in this wine lover’s opinion. I tell my students, when in doubt, grab a bag of dark chocolate and a bottle of tannic red wine, and you will have an evening of deliciously paired bliss. There is so much to explore in the world of chocolate and wine. Valentine’s Day is upon us, and what better time than to take our taste buds on a sweet adventure?

White chocolate and Pinot Noir is probably the most surprising and delicious chocolate and wine pairing I’ve ever experienced. Pour yourself a glass of Pinot Noir, then put a square of quality white chocolate on your tongue and savor. While the chocolate is melting, raise the glass to your nose and breathe in the aromas of the wine. You will start to taste an incredible vanilla flavor that wasn’t noticeable before. Once you’ve enjoyed this sensation, take a sip of the wine, coating the white chocolate as it continues to melt, and enjoy pure bliss.

Old vine Zinfandels are some of my favorite wines, and I’m absolutely obsessed with pairing them with dark chocolate raspberry, such as Ghirardelli dark chocolate raspberry squares. Zinfandels are so jammy and fruit forward that these chocolate squares will turn that wine into liquid raspberry on the palate in the most heavenly of ways.

Cabernet Sauvignon tends to have undertones of eucalyptus or mint, which makes these hefty reds the ideal partner for chocolate mint. You can go beyond dark chocolate mint candies and pair them with Mint Milanos, Thin Mint cookies, or even grasshoppers.

I enjoy the flavor of coffee in pretty much anything, and chocolate is no exception. You will bring out a delicious earthy, mocha note when pairing red wine with dark chocolate covered espresso or coffee beans. Earthier varietals like Cabernet Franc and Pinotage will truly impress with this delightful pairing.

A fun and unusual combination I have grown to love is dark chocolate chili, which provides a nice spicy kick. Enjoy this with a nice Syrah/Shiraz, and watch the fruit and spice dance happily on the palate, switching off who takes the lead.

What about white wines? These can be a bit tricky, especially the drier ones, as too much sugar will amplify the acid, resulting in an unpleasant bitter taste. I have found the heavier bodied oakier whites, such as Chardonnay, pair wonderfully with creamy white chocolate, or even milk chocolate covered nuts or turtles. Try an off-dry white, such as a Riesling, or a sweeter white, such as a Moscato, with milk chocolate caramels with sea salt.

Want to explore a little outside the box? Try chocolate covered bacon for a new and exciting twist. This gives you the best of the wine pairing world: salt and fat blanketed in decadent chocolate. You could even drizzle chocolate on some salty kettle chips for a similar effect.

When it comes to wine and chocolate pairing, the best part is the “research”! 

Cheers!
Missa
winedowntastings.com

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