The most recent wine tasting I attended, led by Brian of Vintner Select, focused on wines pairing well with chocolate. He made the observation that people either really love the taste of chocolate with wine or it simply doesn't work for them -- not much in-between. I happen to be in the former category, as does the Sweet Partner in Crime. He put together an interesting array. Unfortunately, many were outside Vine range.
However, I shamelessly cribbed the idea and sampled a few wines for readers looking to craft a gift basket for someone special. (And for single Vine readers -- that "someone special" can be yourself. You also get the whole bottle to yourself that way…make the best of it!) So here’s something for every palate:
Rosenblum Vintner's Cuvée XXIX Zinfandel -- If you ever see a wine labeled "cuvée" -- that’s WineSpeak for "a blend of different batches or vintages." Winemakers commonly blend bits of wine from different vineyards. In many cases, the whole outstrips the parts. The Rosenblum Vintner Cuvée series is a very accessible set of wines -- and they're especially good for this price. Their cuvée zinfandel hits you with an enormously fruity nose with strong plum and cherry scents. There's a medium body and lots of fruit. The finish is less spicy and peppery than some zins and not overly dry. If you've ever heard a zinfandel referred to as a "fruit bomb" -- here's a prime example. If your intended doesn't like dry reds, here’s an excellent alternative. However, the finish of this wine doesn't hold up well against dark chocolate. The first sip is nice, but the rest of the flavor combination doesn't work very well. With milk chocolate -- normally not so bitter -- the flavors marry really well. Chocolate-covered cherries would be a great combination here, also. At $8-9, a good choice for the Esther Price recipient on your list.
Rabbit Ridge 2004
Jacob's Creek 2004 Reserve
Until next time, be happy with yourself or others and bundle up against the February cold…