This Valentine’s Day rather than the usual box of chocs and bottle of wine, why not present your loved one with a bottle of wine that tastes of chocolate? To find those cocoa nuances you’ll need a full-bodied red from the warmer parts of Europe, South America or California.
Warm climates means grapes ripened to their peak of natural sweetness – and also acidity. Because ripe grapes don’t just contain sugar they also contain tartaric acid (which turns into ‘wine’ flavour after fermentation), malic acid (also found in apples and stops wine tasting like cardboard) and some citric acid (gives that lemon edge in white wines).
Because both sugar and acids are necessary to turn grape juice into fruit and chocolate flavours with the addition of yeast.
And it’s the red grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Shiraz (also seen on the label spelt as Syrah) and Zinfandel that taste particularly chocolatey.
Add in a posh looking bottle (fancy label, gold or black foil trim) and you should be ready for Valentine’s Day.
But don’t, whatever you do, forget to say ‘I love you’ as you hand it over because otherwise you won’t get to share in all those chocolate flavours.
PG Wine Reviews
Cono Sur Chilean Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2012
£5.99 Co-op (down from £6.99 until February 25)
Cherry and dark choc flavours.
Callia Bella Argentinean Malbec 2013
Light strawberry, raspberry and cherry choc flavours – yes, it’s cake and jam in a bottle!
Truly Irresistible Chilean Pinot Noir 2012
Subtler than the Cono Sur with violet aromas adding a touch of sophistication.
Asda Extra Special Italian Chianti Classico Riserva 2009
More subtle cherry flavours but with dark choc and buttered coffee for extra depth.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Spanish Priorat 2009
Blackcurrant and cocoa.
Villa Maria New Zealand Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Fresh blackberry and blackcurrant flavours with a hint of coffee and spice. Yes, I know, no chocolate but it’s still really rather a nice wine.
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© Paula Goddard 2014 www.paulagoddard.com