Monday, October 01, 2012

Naked Vine One-Hitter: A visit to the Chocolate Shop

Not long ago, the Sweet Partner in Crime and I hosted a dinner in celebration of the retirement of a good friend from her position in the professoriate at the University of Cincinnati. Our guest of honor brought along a bottle of Chocolate Shop, a dessert wine from Washington that she said she'd "always wanted to try." Who were we to say no?

Truth in advertising.
Available for around $15, it markets itself as "The Chocolate Lover's Wine." A "proprietary blend of red varietals" mixed with dark chocolate, it checks in at 12.5% alcohol. There are three varieties: Chocolate Red (the one we tried), Creme de Cocoa, and Chocolate Strawberry Red. There is also a 1.5 liter box version.

I'd never heard of this little confection before. I had a preconceived notion of port mixed with Quik. A bit dubious of the donation, we poured a round, had a sip...

...and, you know, for what it is, it ain't bad. It's not going to be for everyone, that's for sure. It is a sweet red wine with chocolate flavors. The nose is distinct: chocolate covered cherries. The flavor is very much along those lines, as well. While it's certainly got some sugar-weight, the overall feel is much more in the range of a merlot than a port. The finish is actually a bit cherry-tart, and there's a lingering flavor of cocoa powder, and I mean that quite literally. Something about the tannins and the flavors give me the sensation of actually having cocoa powder in my mouth.

Since I had pretty low expectations going in, I'll honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised by this wine. It just isn't the sort of dessert wine I generally prefer. I'd be interested to see how it would taste with some Mexican foods in mole sauce or some such. With dark chocolate, it gets a little overwhelming to my palate -- but if Death By Chocolate is your thing, it might be a good choice to wash it down.

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