A First Course in Wine: From Grape to Glass. Copyright 2013; Race Point Publishers, NY. 224 pages. Forward by Mario Batali.

The ultimate handbook for all wine drinkers, for beginners and pros.

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Wines for (the alarmingly low level of) CHOCOLATE!!!

There is a yawning deficit of chocolate, so go out and get yours today.

There is a yawning deficit of chocolate, so go out and get yours today.

The combination of wine and food has been providing happiness and nutrition for many years.  While less championed than other foods for its compatibility, chocolate is in it’s own category when it comes to pairing with wine.  Chocolate comes in all shapes and sizes, bitter and sweet, white and dark, and there are endless styles and ways to enjoy it.  According to some recent reports from news outlets ranging from CNN to The View, worldwide levels of cocoa beans have reached serious lows.  Whether you’re heading to your local store to stock up on M&Ms or investing in cocoa trees in Ghana, here are some wines to pair with your inevitable soon-t0-be covert stash of chocolate.

  • Planeta Nero d’Avola “Santa Cecilia”, Sicily, Italy.  Nero d’Avola is Siciliy’s most important indigenous grape variety.  It grows all over the island and makes a panoply of wine styles, but Planeta nails it with this unctions, deep, and rich expression of the grape.  It has a silky texture and nuances of cooked blueberry that pair well with dark and sweet chocolates.
  • Vina Robles Zinfandel, Paso Robles, CA.  Rich, full-bodied and plump, the direct and driven flavors of dark berries pair well with all styles of chocolate, especially those with sea salt or chilis, which help cut thru the rich tannins of the wine.
  • Domaine Bart Fixin Burgundy Rouge, France.  Stinky, funky, and gamey, the bone dry flavors of this classic Pinot Noir pair well with bitter and lighter chocolates.  Something about the sharp acidity of young red Burgundy balances the sharp and direct flavors of bitter chocolate.  It’s like a poet and lawyer debating the laws of physics.chocolate wine
  • Aichenberg Gruner Veltliner, Niederosterreich, Austria.  Light, quaffy, loaded with lemon-lime citrus and mouth tingling acidity.  The freshness and youthful exuberance of the wine cuts thru white chocolates or lighter chocolates with almonds or nuts
  • Henriot Champagne Brut Rose NV, Champagne, France.  Copper-toned in color, this classic French rose Champagne is lean, crisp, and refreshing, with soft notes of raspberries, brioche, and has its own lingering undertones of toffee and chocolate.  Pairs well with dark and bitter chocolates.

Wine is the common denominator in all of us, so go long and go strong with chocolate and wine…while the chocolate lasts!

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