We’ve all heard about “the days of wine and roses.” Well how about “the nights of wine and chocolate?”
It’s a blessing to have friends and family who understand and encourage you in both your vocation and avocation – especially when your job or your hobby (as in my case) entails wine appreciation and exploration. Right? Some time ago I related the story of Xmas Eve Dinner at Mary Ann’s house and the Parducci Petite Sirah we enjoyed. Well, she is one of those supportive family members! An enabler in the best sense of the word.
A few weeks back she and her daughter, Ashley, traveled to our area for a volleyball tournament. Ashley was playing, not Mary Ann. Although I would pay big bucks to see Mary Ann out on that court. No doubt she would be a fierce competitor. lol We went to see Ashley play, of course, and Mary Ann very generously showered us with gifts for being loyal fans. Those gifts included a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and a box of chocolate wafers that the wine store clerk recommended as an accompaniment. Formidable! What a sweetheart, this Mary Ann. I did my best to exercise self control and didn’t open them right away. But I could only resist temptation for so long.
Notes: Let me say right at the outset that I tasted the wine first without any chocolate. It was a pretty deep ruby in the glass. It’s bouquet was a pungent mix of earth, forest floor (sous bois), spice, a touch of wood and ripe blueberry. It was medium-bodied with fairly high acidity and medium tannins that were somewhat aggressive in their onset. Alcohol was at 14.5%. Flavors included considerable woodiness – much of that attributable to the grip of the tannins – as well as plenty of pepper, some leather, a bit of dark cherry with an underlying blanket of ripe blueberry. The finish was what I consider of medium length with menthol and tart cranberry as it left the palate. I think this Napa Cab was downright good. It was complex and interesting. It could also cellar another few years with the amount of structure it has. Could be fascinating to see how it settles.
What about the chocolate? First, let me name it properly.
Chocolatier: Eclat Chocolate by Christopher Curtin
Name: Aleppo Pink Peppercorn Mendiant
I really enjoyed these little wafers! I do like spicy, peppery things. And it’s true that the peppercorns and the chili pepper in the chocolates were complementary to the flavors of the wine, creating almost a MAD effect on the taste buds. You remember that from the old Cold War days, don’t you? MAD was mutually assured destruction. [a horrible thought] With all the capsaicin hitting the taste buds from both sides, the effect was to lessen the perceived heat from each source and smooth out the experience of both wine and chocolate. Most interesting was the aromatic effect of biting into one of the pink peppercorns. It brought almost a floral scent to the nostrils. Good stuff.
Yep, I’d say this was a very nice night of wine and chocolate, indeed. Thanks, Mary Ann!