David L. Kahn Wine Tasting Club
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Wine Tasting Summary

Many of us enjoy chocolate too, so we decided to conduct a special wine/chocolate tasting this month. This tasting featured 20 assorted chocolates from Green River. Each participant had four glasses of wine (instead of the usual six) and 20 chocolate samples (large enough to pair with each of the wines). I designed a custom rating sheet which gave us the option to record our thoughts on each of the 80 pairings, as well as our thoughts on the wines and the chocolates by themselves. Each pairing was rated from 1 (poor) through 5 (excellent).

Our 20 chocolates included:
  • Two white chocolates
  • One cappuccino (chocolate/coffee)
  • Six milk chocolate (25% to 41% cocoa)
  • Eleven dark chocolate (45% to 75% cocoa)

  • In the list below, winery names are linked to their respective Web sites.
    #26 Wine with Chocolate pdf January 8, 2005
    Year Producer, Selection From Variety Price * Score +
    NV Parxet, Cuvee 21 (sparkling) Spain blend $8.00
    NV Bonny Doon, Pacific Rim Dry Riesling California Riesling $8.80
    NV Ficklin, Tinta Port California Tinta Madeira, Tinta Cao, Souzao, Touriga $12.00
    2003 Cartlidge & Browne California Pinot Noir $8.80
    We were expecting to find that some chocolates matched well with some wines, but that other pairings would not work as well. Clearly, the chocolates were quite varied, including white, milk and dark. The wines were also quite varied, including two red and two white. It seemed logical to pair the very dark chocolates with the dry red pinot noir. We also expected the riesling to pair well with the white chocolate.

    Given the number of pairings, we tried several different approaches. Some of us tried one chocolate at a time with each of the wines. Some of us tried one wine at a time with each of the chocolates. Some of us imposed less structure, pairing whatever we felt like at the time.

    Our conclusions were quite different from what we expected. In general, we decided:
  • We enjoy wine!

  • We enjoy chocolate!

  • They go great together!

  • Yes, some pairings worked better than others. We rated each pairing from 1 to 5, with 3 being 'ok' and 5 being 'excellent'. Overall, no pairing rated lower than 3. This was quite different from our experience with fruit or cheese, where some pairings just don't work at all.

    The port (Ficklin) was phenomenal, paired with any of the chocolates. If you're looking for a wine to serve with chocolate of any kind, it is highly recommended. The other wines were nearly as flexible. The only 'chocolate' which didn't pair as well was the Old City, which contained coffee too. It was delicious by itself (to those of us who like coffee with chocolate) but didn't pair as well with the wine.

    Featured Dessert: Lemon shortbread with fresh strawberries (no chocolate!)
    * The Price reflects the club discount for non-sale wines purchased at Kappy's Liquors in Sudbury and Grape Ideas in Wayland. Any purchases at the club price must be coordinated through me.
    + The Score represents the average rating of the group at this tasting, on a scale from 50 to 100. We each assign a value of 0-4 for appearance, 0-6 for aroma, 0-6 for flavor and 0-4 for our overall impression resulting in a total score from 0-20. These are averaged, the result is multiplied by 2.5 and then 50 is added. The resulting 50-100 scale is the same range used by Wine Spectator though their process may be different.