It’s Valentine’s Day, and I am especially missing my favorite snuggler. It is always hard to lose a friend, and when you look up to someone like I looked up to Winston, the loss feels even greater. We were almost inseparable and the only time you could find us apart is when he had grown tired of my shenanigans and had gone to find a quiet place to nap instead. Mom has taken me on a lot of long walks these past two weeks, so I can get out my energy and emotions. Some days it has helped (like the day I found a bone to play with in the middle of the field) and other days it hasn’t (like the day I got sprayed by a skunk next to our barn).
I know I will never forget Winston no matter how many walks we take, and I know none of you will either. In fact, I like to think that we are almost famous- a dynamic duo that you can add a long list of others: Winston and Wyatt, peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, cookies and cream, Romeo and Juliet, wine and chocolate.
I actually heard someone talking about pairing wine and chocolate in the tasting room just the other day. I had a little extra time on my paws that evening, so I researched a little bit about pairing. From what I read, when you pair those two, it is a little different than when I pair water with my dry dog food, but the results can be just as delicious.
Wine and chocolate are actually sort of similar in their chemical makeups – they both contain tannins and polyphenols that make them a bit drying and bitter to taste. While unpleasant if not paired well, if done correctly the fats found in chocolate can help to make the fruity flavors of the wine stand out while any tannic qualities slip away.
The key is making sure that the wine is a little sweeter than the chocolate you are pairing it with and to use similar weights when pairing (bold with bold, rich with rich, etc.). Milk chocolate and white chocolate are the easiest choices to pair with wines, and you should usually avoid pairing dark chocolates with dry wines because they can overwhelm each other. With careful selection, however, sometimes a bitter chocolate can help to allow the fruit shine through on tannic-heavy wines.
After reading a bit on how to make good pairings, I have a few suggestions for you from our lineup:
If you are a sweeter wine drinker, I think our Kerus would go really well with a raspberry truffle. The pairing would help to illuminate some of the chocolate berry notes that are already deliciously evident in the wine. Our dessert style Petit Manseng, Lil Em, would pair perfectly with white chocolate. The sweet richness of both will bring the tropical fruit notes to surface and make the wine drinking experience a multi-sensory one. If you like a bit of both worlds, try our Six Penny Postscript coupled with a rich dark chocolate flaked with sea salt. Talk about sensory overload! The decadent sweetness of a port-style wine with bitter chocolate and savory salt is a match made in heaven.
I have some suggestions for you dry drinkers, too! What better way to celebrate this day of love than with a bottle of our Sparkling White and what better to pair it with than a few delicious chocolate dipped strawberries? Not only will you have a photo worthy of any Instagram post, but you will also have an explosion of flavor for your taste buds! It isn’t always easy to find a perfect piece of chocolate to serve with a dryer red wine, but I think a chunk of milk chocolate would go perfectly with our Merlot. The sweetness of the chocolate helps to bring out the berry flavors that exist just under the surface of the traditionally earthier wine. My final suggestion for you is to pair our McGahey Red Reserve wine with a slice of flourless chocolate torte. The creamy fudge-like texture will compliment the velvety structure of the McGahey perfectly!
Let’s be honest. Everyone needs a little sweet treat in their life and there is no better time to embrace the wine and chocolate duo than now! If you try a few of my pairing suggestions, let me know which one was your favorite!