Presented by Ms. Erin and Ms. Rachel at the Fine Arts Building, 410 South Michigan
Kallari Chocolate, Ecuador
LUSH is sticking to our eclectic tendencies and love of all things interesting, odd, and delicious, thus pairing Ecuadorian chocolate with LUSH wine is a tasty challenge! Pairing wine and chocolate sounds like a brilliant idea…and it is, if properly executed with balanced flavors. The trick to compatibility is to carefully match the right wine with the right chocolate. But, since taste is a very subjective matter, you will have to experiment. Sigh, such a tough task.
Chocolate actually has very intense flavor…it is chocolaty, of course, but it is often simultaneously sweet, bitter, acidic and fruity. As with wine and food pairing, the most common approach is to choose wines and chocolates with completely contrasting or complimentary flavors. So, a deeply nutty, dark chocolate may pair well with a wine that mirrors the same flavors, whereas a spicy, dusty chocolate may also pair well with a sweet, viscous wine. To begin at the beginning with simple pairing advice, choose a wine as sweet, if not sweeter then the chocolate. If it is not, the wine could end up tasting flat and metallic. But, if the sweetness is matched, the wine may coax more complex flavors within the chocolate. Different chocolates also require different wines. For example, dark chocolate pairs well with wines that have more robust flavors. Have fun with pairing…try new things, and play at expanding your palate and transforming your preferences!
1983 Barros Almeida Colheita Port, Douro, Portugal
Barros Almeida is the oldest family-owned Port house in Portugal. Located in the Douro region of Portugal, Barros is well respected for making lovely, delicious Port. The 1983 Port shows a beautifully vibrant rusty ruby, with aromas of fresh black raspberry dusted with cayenne and spicy, vanilla oak tones underneath. On the palate, caramel and honeyed almonds mingle with complex dried black cherry, a wisp of cinnamon spice, and dark chocolate. Ruby Port is a lovely classic pairing with chocolate, as the fortification process pumps up the intensity and sweetness of the wine to mellow the cocoa and highlight the distinctive notes of the dark chocolate. This will certainly make you melt with heady delight.
2005 Brumont Brumaire Pacherenc Moelleux, Pacherenc du Bilh, Gascony, France
Alain Brumont, the producer of Bouscasse in the Madiran, has been the leader of this interesting appellation. He has instilled radically strict production methods and believes the wine is crafted in the vineyards. Each of his wines is small production, handmade, and extremely delicious. The ‘Brumaire’ is harvested in November, the month of mist. The dulcet-toned wine is created from old vines of the native Petit Manseng grape, with gorgeously intense aromatics of honeyed pear, almond extract, brioche, and spice. The wine is concentrated and silky smooth, with peachy, golden raisin flavors highlighted by cinnamon, honey, and almond. This wine is a dream with dark chocolate.
2006 Brochelle Syrah, Paso Robles, California
Brock and Michelle Waterman create rich, voluptuous wines at their tiny estate winery. This couple takes great pride in the fact that each wine is truly hand made with excessive emphasis on quality of the finished product. Primarily Zinfandel producers, Brock and Michelle planted two rows of Syrah in 2002. The resultant wine is necessarily small production and outrageously complex. The nose is an explosion of earth and rich, ripe red and black berries with a shock of spice. Layers upon layers (upon layers!) of elegantly perfumed and richly structured fruit indulges and excites the palate. An essence of warm, fresh baked gingerbread cookies peeks from within a pool of gushy red fruit, sexy, spicy vanilla bean, and a touch of dusty cocoa. This is a fun, flirty, and surprising pairing!