Sunday, September 30, 2018

Fall in Love with Chocolate and Nina Lee

Fall is finally here!

The weather is cooling down. The days are getting shorter. The leaves are turning. For wine drinkers, fall also marks the return to red wine after a long summer of chilled whites and rosés. My husband had just returned from Zurich with a bounty of Swiss chocolate by Läderach. And I wanted something that would go well with the delectable treats.

Fall marks the return to red wine
It may be a romantic notion, but picking a dry red to go with chocolate is surprisingly difficult. The tannins in the chocolate sometimes clash with the tannins in the wine. Not to mention both chocolate and wine have varying degrees of fruitiness and acidity that may result in a poor match.

2012 Nina Lee with Swiss Chocolate
In my experience, the dry red that often has a chance to pair well with chocolate is Syrah. In fact, my go-to for that is Spring Valley Vineyard's Nina Lee. And I am not the only one who thinks so.

Nina Lee by Spring Valley Vineyard

If you go to the Spring Valley Vineyard tasting room in downtown Walla Walla, you will be treated with a whole line-up of outstanding single varietals and blends. Saving the best for last, Nina Lee is often showcased with a piece of chocolate specially made to pair with the wine.

From the stash of Swiss chocolate, I picked a dark chocolate bark balanced with the perfect amount of almond and orange bits. And I matched it with the 2012 vintage of Nina Lee.

On the nose, the Nina Lee was fruit-forward with cherries and berries. On the palate, the full-bodied luscious mouthfeel coated the creamy chocolate flawlessly. The tannins were fine and smooth. The earthiness and hints of spice and even cocoa from the wine complemented beautifully with the chocolate as well as the almond and orange bits - the warm flavors that I often associate with autumn.

What wine in your collection would you pair with chocolate this fall? Share your favorites!