Last week we had a virtual tasting in which we paired a bottle of our newly released 2019 Cabernet Franc with three different chocolates locally made by Crumb de la Crumb bakery here in Gunnison. It was great to see all of our neighbors on Zoom and we were able to learn so much from Shelby about the process of chocolate making, and how it affects the flavor profile of the wine we are drinking. The dark chocolate bar gave the Cab Franc a very earthy profile while the milk chocolate vanilla truffle brought out the wine’s fruit flavors, and while the salted caramel tart was beyond delicious, I ultimately decided that maybe one of our white wines might suit it better. It was a very fun and delicious experiment.
So how should you pair wine and chocolate?
First, choose high quality chocolate.
We learned a couple tips for choosing the right chocolate. Everything from looking at where the cacao was sourced to the percentage of cacao in the chocolate bar will let you know both the quality level and how dark the chocolate will be. We also learned that shinier chocolate bars that break easily with a clean snap are higher in quality. Another test is to rub chocolate between your fingers, if it starts to melt then it is good stuff! This is a fun way to use all of your senses while tasting chocolate, a lot like we do with tasting wine!
Second, choose the right wine.
Red wine and dark chocolate can both have intense, at times bitter flavors. So pairing a very dark chocolate with a highly tannic wine can overwhelm your palate. We learned from this tasting that choosing a softer, more fruit forward wine can enhance the chocolate flavors. Or conversely, choosing a milk chocolate can enhance the fruitiness of a more tannic wine.
Third, have fun and play around.
This tasting really surprised me in how three separate pairings can alter the taste of the same wine so differently. I had a lot of fun comparing the chocolates and learning more about the similarities and differences between chocolate making and winemaking. The best part is that there is endless chocolate and wine to mix and match, and you really can't go wrong.
If you missed our virtual tasting pick up a bottle of our Cab Franc from us, find some chocolate and try it yourself! Also stay tuned to our website where we will post future events with more good food and great wine.