Pairing a decadent chocolate bonbon with a sweet dessert wine seems like the obvious choice but you will have much better success with a drier, more intense wine with plenty of fruit notes. The reason is the chocolate. A dry and intense wine is necessary to stand with and compliment the acidic, bitter, sweet and spicy flavors in the chocolate.
Many chocolatiers are using unique and surprising ingredients in their creations. Chocolates filled with silky ganaches made with cream infused with spices and herbs and then blended with bitter and sweet chocolates. Then, they are topped with delicate salt crystals such as Fleur de Sel, Smoked Sea salts, and fresh herb salts like Back to Organic Rosemary French Grey with a hint of lavender to enhance the sweetness and flavor. These chocolates are meant to be experienced and savored as the different flavors arouse your taste buds.
The chocolate bonbons from Chocolate South are extraordinary. They may taste slightly bitter at first due to the Valhrona dark chocolate, then turn sweet and creamy as the ganache explodes from the chocolate shell, and finish with subtle vanilla, lavender, rosemary, sage, and even Italian Truffle notes. Chocolates such as these deserve to be paired with the correct wines.
Perrine’s Wine Shop selected several different red and white wines to pair with each chocolate bonbon for their Chocolate and Wine Tasting. It was such a success they have scheduled another chocolate and wine event at Perrine’s on October 30th from 5:30 to 7:30. If you cannot make it, then host your own wine and chocolate party with close friends and serve these wines and chocolates. Everyone will think you spent hours planning the evening.
The first pairing is NV Charles Boves, Cabernet Franc & Gamay, Tourraine, Loire Valley with a Southern Spicy Bonbon filled with a ganache of local cream infused with vanilla blended with Valrhona dark chocolate and a touch of ancho chili powder. The Tourraine is a dry bubbly with a soft cherry watermelon fruit character but rich enough to compliment the spicy chocolate. The wine will also compliment oysters on the half shell, salads with a ginger dressing, and is a great wine to enjoy on its own.
2012 Domaine des Aibruisieres, Vouvray, Chenin Blanc, Loire Valley paired with a Green Tea and Mint Bonbon. Green tea, organic peppermint and spearmint are infused in a cream and blended with dark chocolate and enrobed in a white chocolate. The Aubruisiere is 100% Chenin Blanc with a little sweetness at the finish. There is a floral, peachy melon character. Drink this wine with spicy foods. Consider Thai food, grilled chicken, heartier grilled fish such as salmon, and lobster.
2010 Joseph Foraster, DO Conca De Barvera, Trepat, Spain paired with a Lavender Vanilla Bonbon. Dried lavender flowers and Tahitian Vanilla Bean are infused into cream and mixed with chocolate and finished with delicate artwork of butterflies and flowers. This Joseph Forster wine made with Trepat grapes is similar to a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. It has a good acidity with plum, cherry notes and a spicy finish.
Drink this wine with anything you would pair with a Pinot. Pasta, grilled chicken, and tomato based dishes are good choices.
2010 Collazzi, I Bastioni, Chainti Classico, Sangivese, Toscany, Italy paired with a Rosemary Sage Bonbon. The Rosemary sage Bonbon has a ganache of local cream infused with fresh rosemary and a touch of sage and then blended with Valrhona dark chocolate and enrobed in dark chocolate and dusted with Back to Organic Rosemary French Grey Salt with a hint of lavender. This is one of Chocolate South’s best sellers. Perrine said the Collazzi pairs magnificently with this herb infused chocolate. This Italian red is a classic chianti with appealing raspberry and red cherry fruit notes and a dusty, earthy character with leathery undertone. Enjoy this wine with pasta, beef, short ribs, and tomato based hearty soups such as a milestone.
2010 Bianchi, Zinfandel, Paso Robles, Central Coast paired with the Kona Bonbon with Grand Marnier. Local cream is infused with dark roasted Kona Coffee, a splash of Grand Marnier, and milk and dark chocolate for a rich ganache enrobed in dark chocolate with a milk chocolate swirl. The Bianchi is dry with a jammy, berry fruit character. It is very fruit focused with a high alcohol content. Drink with spicy, Mexican foods especially ones with Chipotle peppers.
Please let me know which one is your favorite. If you are planning your own Wine and Chocolate party this holiday season, I would go ahead and order these wines. Perrine may sell them all this month. Chocolate South will make your chocolates to order. Enjoy!