Chocolate and wine… Can it be a “Met In Heaven” experience?There are so many wines to choose from, so there are chocolates to go as a match. Once you create a perfect combination, both can taste heavenly and supplement each other with every sip and bite.No doubt, these two are the food that can create a good mood. Chocolate and wine is the best pick when you want a romantic evening with your loved one. Just to make it even more pleasant, you can add some beautiful flowers and flavored candles. What else do you need?A little warning though. Sometimes pairing food can be a difficult task. Finding wine to match chocolate dessert can be a real challenge. Dry wine can be a hard time when combining with chocolate. The latter, in most cases, is a killer to wines. What is going on then? Sweet chocolate desserts can underline sour wine taste. This fact, almost certainly, will make you feel about wine as not appealing addition.Nothing to worry about. There is a guide for people who love both and want to enjoy their tasting session. All the difference makes a proper approach and obviously experience, that comes with many tastings.What are the suggestions when it comes to choosing a wine and a chocolate that work together?Here we go…First of all, the distance between wine and chocolate sweetness should always be short. Said that, wine should be at least as sweet as the chocolate, maybe even slightly sweeter. Otherwise the sour notes of wine will make it appear hollow and might set you back from enjoying your time.Generally speaking, red wines pair with chocolate easier than white wines. Some white wines of late harvest do the exception though. Champagnes are often good with many kinds of chocolate and choc desserts.Chocolate and tannin do not “love” each other, so tannin rich wines should go with savory dishes.To stay on a safe side at any time, go for fortified wines. Spirit will boost sweetness and the whole body of the wine.Wine quality does matter. Bad wine will simply be worser with chocolate. To make the pair work you might go for around $15-30 per bottle. Actually, wine should be the best quality possible.Taste the wine first and only then start enjoying anything made of chocolate. Why would you do that? Trying wine first will allow you to evaluate the flavor and taste of a wine itself. If you bite chocolate first, your mouth will be sweetened with it and your taste buds will be covered with a thin layer of cocoa butter, preventing you to taste the wine.Keep in mind another general rule: elegant flavored light chocolate taste better with lighter-bodied wines. That means, the stronger flavored the chocolate, the more full-bodied wine you need in order to meet perfection. Said that, a bittersweet chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa content, pairs with intense red wines like Zinfandel or more sweet variety – Port.If you are going to visit a wine and chocolate tasting event, then try them in a light to dark order. That is, start with white chocolate gradually moving to milk, plain to bittersweet and ending up with dark bitter chocolate.If you are the one who holds such a party, then let a bigger variety do the job. Said so, put two red wines, a sweet wine or a fine port to safe yourself. You can also make an experiment with something unusual and unexpected. Offer bigger variety of desserts including white, milk and dark chocolate sweets.The last, but not the least, focus on quality and flavors of chocolate and wine. Stop judging the match. The more you worry, the less enjoyment you get.
Nothing makes a wine tasting party complete like information on the wineries featured. At your next party, consider providing the history of a winery as you pour wine into the glasses of your guests. This article looks at featuring the wines of Blue Cellars at your next wine tasting or dinner party.High Technology And Winemaking?What do high technology and winemaking have in common? Absolutely nothing. For that exact reason, Jim Fenstermacker has worked at both careers full time for almost two decades and what draws him to the two activities is that they are diametrically opposed.In 2002, Jim joined with Jeff Brock to start Blue Cellars. The winery and tasting room is located on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. Jim’s last technology job was Director of Operations for the software company, Autodesk, and he informed the company at the onset of his employment that he owned a winery and would be gone for three weeks in the fall during crush. It was a great relationship, although he left the company to devote his time to Blue Cellars.Running The WineryJim’s tasks around the winery are various and he enjoys all of them, especially getting out into the vineyards, making the wine, and even doing maintenance. The first time he invited his Autodesk team to visit the winery, they were shocked when he hopped on the forklift. Jim had been driving a forklift for years and never even thought about it being unusual.Customers FirstBlue Cellars stays very customer oriented. They make customers, distributors, and wine clubs a priority, including what they can do to make them happy and how they can make the best wine possible at the best price. The partners aren’t interested in making a gazillion dollars to buy a $16 million vineyard in Napa and move up there. If Jim were interested in that, he would use the money he makes from high tech, not from wine. That allows Blue Cellars to shed all that extraneous interest and focus on the wine.Buying LandInitially, the partners expected to buy land and develop a vineyard, making a bid on a 40-acre property in Paso Robles. When they were unable to finalize the deal, they rethought their business model and decided to continue buying grapes from growers instead of growing their own fruit. They didn’t want to be locked into making a limited number of wines from the fruit that could be suitably grown on a particular property.From a creative standpoint, they would have been fenced in. Instead, they chose to buy fruit, make a variety of different handcrafted, high-end wines and focus on the quality of those wines rather than on the viticulture. In some cases, they have long-term contracts and full control over how the grapes are grown and managed. In other cases, the quality of the fruit is sufficiently high that such control is unnecessary.The winery stays right around 1,400 cases per year and never goes beyond 500 cases per varietal with 100% varietal wines, no blending whatsoever, and single vineyard designated wines only. They don’t mix vineyards, which makes them a favorite of wine clubs and wine connoisseurs.Winning AwardsThe partners submit their wines to the best competitions in the country, especially the San Francisco International Wine Competition and the Dallas Wine Competition, the top shows in the United States. Their first year, Blue Cellars won a gold medal at San Francisco International for their 2003 Napa Truchard Vineyard Syrah, 93 points from Wine & Spirits Magazine, and 91 from Wine Spectator.Regardless of the wine you serve, consider enhancing the experience of your guests by offering information on the wineries you feature.