Matching Wine and Cava With Chocolate – A VÍ vid Workshop for Proava.


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Wine and Chocolate? Can you really pair them together? Well, it is not a new concept but it still raises eyebrows. Around the world there have been some highly successful pairings such as Boal from Madeira, Zinfandel from California, Australian Liqueur Muscat’s. Asti Spumante from Italy works with light chocolate mousses.

Here in Valencia we knew of Bodega´s who have found that their red wines were also successfully paired, indeed the pre-requisite for a successful pairing is to start with a big, red wine!

We were asked to extend this and try chocolate in pairings with white wine and cavas as well.

First, the Bodega. To be successful we believed the wines needed to have sufficient body and quality and having recently attended the launch of their new range of wines could see potential in  the wines of Dominio de la Vega (  http://wp.me/p16pqB-JJ ) . Winemaker Dani Exposito has long had a reputation for making wines which express the best characteristics of the variety and the soils his vines are grown on.

Dominio de la Vega

Second the chocolatiers. Who better than the Sueca company,  Chocolate Artesano Comes? They have, after all been making artisan chocolate since 1870 and run a museum where you can see all the paraphernalia needed to make chocolate, observe their production process and best of all try their range!

Comes

For this tasting we decided to match the following wines and chocolates:-

Recuerdame 2014 Blanco Seco ( Sauvignon Blanc 80%, Chardonnay 15%  and Macabeo 5%, ).

Gotas de Chocolate con Leche.

Paraje Tornel 2012, 100% Bobal with 12 months oak ageing.

Chocolate Puro 70%.

DO Cava Brut Nature, 100% Macabeo, 14 months `en rima´.

Chocolate a la Piedra.

DO Cava Brut Reserva Especial ( 70% Macabeo, 30% Chardonnay) 22 months `en rima´.

Chocolate Picante.

Arte Mayor, DO Cava,60% Macabeo, 40% Chardonnay 36 months `en rima´.

Cacao Puro.

Choc Tasting 1

1. Recuerdame. Golden colour, clean and bright. On the nose it is intensely floral, concentrated, with elderflower. This is the Sauvignon Blanc asserting itself (the fruit is tropical, passion fruit, apricot), and then as it opens up the banana and pineapple from the Chardonnay emerge.

In the mouth, initially light, well-integrated fruit, alcohol and acidity, perfectly balanced with a long finish. Very good with creamy fish dishes.

This matched well with the creamy chocolate. Neither wine nor chocolate dominated the palate.

Recuerdame

2.Paraje Tornel.

12 months in new French oak barrels, plus a minimum  of 12 months in bottle. Cardinal garnet red. Initially, on the nose, we find tertiary aromas from the oak ageing, toast, spices, coffee, cocoas,and mineral notes of the soil. Elegant, ripe red fruit such as plums, blackberries and red currants.

Full on entry, with silky and smooth tannins, an elegant acidity that adds vibrancy and balance to the whole. Match with all types of grilled or braised red meat and fermented raw milk cheeses. With dark Comes chocolate….it is `Caprice de Dieux´…

Probably the easiest to match. 70% pure chocolate matches well with the fruit, tertiary notes and the smooth tannins in this wine.

3. DO Cava Brut Nature.

At first sight has a yellow colour with fine bubbles.On the nose aromas of citrus and green apple with long-lasting floral notes , hints of bakery and pastry aromas. In the mouth expressive, dry on entry, balanced between the wine and the bubbles,  and a fat finish. Best pairing with seafood, fish, salads, spicy dishes, and also all kinds of appetizers.

Paired with the Chocolate a la Piedra, a traditional textured chocolate. We also tried this with the milk chocolate. Both worked suggesting that this wine might also match some desserts.

Choctasting2

4. DO Cava Brut Reserva Especial.

20 % of the base wine spends 3 months in French oak barrels, and 22 months on the lees. At first sight it is bright golden-yellow colour with fine bubbles. On the nose, it shows complex aromas, ripe fruit (baked apple and apricot), white flowers and pastries and also vanilla.
In the mouth, very creamy with toasty notes, lively acidity and long elegant finish. Perfect match with spicy dishes, Asian food, white meat and chocolates as Comes Chocolate Picante.

In fact this was the ideal match, the best of the night. The piquancy and heat of the chilli in the chocolate was noticed only after it was swallowed where it `lit up´in the throat! With the depth of the wine matching it perfectly all present considered this a `marriage made in heaven!´

Choctasting3

5 Arte Mayor.

It is made by blending  two harvests together to obtain a base wine with complexity, volume and personality. The 2009/2010 is a bright golden-yellow colour with  fine and persistent bubbles. On the nose, it has an intense, complex bouquet, mineral aromas (chalk), hints of baked apple and vanilla. There are also notes of patisserie (custard), and a subtly smoky backdrop . On the palate it is velvety, unctuous and intense, creamy, full-bodied, with a good structure and a long finish. Pairing: cheese, cold cuts and today we are going to match it with a special chocolate from C. Comes.

This was paired with the pure cacao. In fact this was perhaps too bitter with hindsight but both the Picante and Pure chocolates worked perfectly.

VÍ vid lead the tasting.

VÍ vid lead the tasting.

This experimental workshop was a huge success with lots of participation and expression of opinions in English! If anyone has any doubts we urge you to try it for yourself with an open mind – many were surprised how well the pairing worked in this workshop, part of Proava´s summer `Come y Bebe´ programme.

Proava Valencia
.

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