Wine to Drink with Chocolate

Friday, August 3rd, 2007 at 12:00 am

Chocolates are really wine killers. The combination of overwhelming sweetness and filling texture causes majority of wines to taste sour and unappetizing after a rich chocolate desert. Wines that give a balance to this are usually sweet, in some ways meeting the level of sweetness of the chocolate. The safest choice is fortified wines or vintage Port, where the added wine spirit gives a boost to alcohol, body and sweetness.

The Les Clos de Paulilles Rimage Banyuls

The Les Clos de Paulilles Rimage Banyuls is a sweet, fortified wine and is one of the credibly presented wines that goes naturally with chocolates. The Banyuls region in the southern tip of France produces wines that pair successfully with chocolates. This French region is almost part of Spain, in that it was under Spanish possession until 1659. Rimage is actually a Catalan word meaning vintage.

The Banyuls

The Banyuls wine is 100% made from Grenache grape. Much like vintage Port, each grape from this wine comes from a single declared year. It is fortified using a process known as mutage, where a neutral grape spirit is added in mid-fermentation. This basically prevents any further conversion of grape sugar in alcohol, thus allowing natural sugars to remain in the wine.

The addition of spirit to the half-fermented juice results in a gathering of complex tastes and aromas. There is a taste of dried cherries in this rich, intense wine that almost comes out sweet and syrupy, as brought about by the concentration of fruit flavors. There is a nice aroma of cherries, berries, raisins and such other stone fruits. The Banyuls is like a fruit tart on the palate.

Pairing the Banyuls with dark chocolates is one of the perfect matches. After a bite of rich, dark chocolate, the raspberries literally come out in an explosion of flavors. So it’s definitely a flavorful dessert experience that’s worth repeating.

The wine bottle of the Les Clos de Paulilles Rimage Banyuls is already a dessert on its own. With its deep garnet color that’s almost opaque, this rich wine is reminiscent of a cup of cocoa made from the finest beans of the earth. The fruit flavors combined with hints of tobacco and herbs, and with swirls of dark chocolate running through the palate, gives the wine a unique and interesting selection. There’s also less heat as one slowly sips and savors the Banyuls, as the alcohol level rises with the added spirit.