In Part 1 of PnP’s review of potentially stellar wine and chocolate matches (click here to read it if you missed it), we went through the boring stuff: general wine/food pairing rules, hand-wringing about how chocolate was going to be a difficult match for most wines, and intellectual guesstimating about what bottles actually might stand a chance at being a good pairing. If you want to save yourself 1500 words or so, I thought a sweet intense red dessert wine seemed like the best choco-match but committed myself to testing out some dry reds too in the name of exploration; given the hypothesis that fruity, intense, not overly tannic reds would win the day, I decided to give Europe the cold shoulder and stick to the New World for dinner wines. With all the hard academic stuff out of the way, last night I got to the fun part: sitting down with some good friends, opening an insane amount of high-end chocolate, cracking 5 bottles of wine (and a bottle of beer for good measure) and doing 4+ hours of taste testing, just for you. Huge thanks to the noses, palates, knowledge and intuition of my trusted friends Brian, Tyler and Farrell, whose impressions and conclusions are all over this post and without whom this exercise would have seemed much more lonely and pathetic.
Our official choco-pairing tasting lineup featured a California Cabernet Sauvignon, a Washington State Malbec, a Niagara Cabernet Franc, a dessert wine from Banyuls in Southern France, a vintage Port and a dark craft beer. I’m going to write up our experiences with the 3 dry reds tonight and leave you in suspense about the dessert reds and the beer for a couple more days…like every moderately good movie idea, I’m stringing this out for at least two sequels. The only unfortunate part about this approach is that you may be too depressed after reading the below to want to come back for Part 3, so I will foreshadow a bit and promise that the wine/chocolate matchups DO get better. Just not tonight. Read the rest of this entry »