Jean Smullen reviews 2013 Longview Yakka Shiraz and 2011 Gerard Bertrand Banyuls
Wine and chocolate is a great pairing, but not just any old chocolate, your average commercial bar with all its sugar and fat does not a pairing make. What you need is chocolate with low sugar and high cacao content, now that’s more like it. Today we are going to look at some delicious hand made chocolates that are plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, free-from everything, but deliciously yummy and the perfect chocolate to match with wine.
The chocolates are hand made by Leanne de Cerbo of Urban Kitchen Foods and are available to buy on her website www.urbankitchenfoods.com
2013 Longview Yakka Shiraz €19.95
Stockists: O’Briens Wines Beers & Spirits, Bray, Greystones, Dun Laoghaire, Donnybrook, Blackrock, Sandymount, Dalkey, Stillorgan, Rathgar, Rathmines, Navan road, Glasnevin, Templeogue, Malahide, Navan Town, Newbridge, Drogheda, Naas, Ballybrack, Carlow, Ashbourne, Limerick, Athlone, Citywest, Beacon Quarter Sandyford, Clontarf, Galway, Carrickmine, Blanchardstown, Lucan, Douglas.
This delicious fresh Cocolat is made from just 3 quality plant-based ingredients: Cocoa/Cacao blend. Coconut Oil. Maple Syrup. The distinctive range of flavours is enriched with natural spices, herbs, essential oils, fruits and nuts.
Spiced Caramel €1.50 per piece (6 for €7.50)
Tangy sumac berry and fruity pink peppercorns give zing to this chewy caramel
Sumac, Pink Peppercorns, Green Cardamom, Ground Ginger, Coconut Butter, Maple Syrup
Himalayan Pink Salt
Cherry Cardamon €1.00 per piece (6 for €5.50)
Tart cherry mellowed with the citrus tang of green cardamom
Dried Cherries, Green Cardamom
When pairing Shiraz and chocolate make sure the chocolate is more cocoa than sugar. Drier dark chocolate styles don’t like to share ‘palate space’ with bitter tannin.
Family owned Longview wines have for many years possessed vineyards in one of Australia's finest cool climate terroirs the Adelaide Hills. Their flagship Yakka Shiraz is a model of cool restrained fruit, balance and complexity, but still displays lush ripe fruit. Here we have a stunning Shiraz that is going to improve and evolve for years.
2011 Gerard Bertrand Banyuls (Vin du Naturel) €23.95
Stockists: O’Briens Wines Beers & Spirits,
Orange & Taragon €1.00 per piece (6 for €5.50)
Bittersweet tarragon tempered with tangy wild orange
Orange Essential Oil, Tarragon
Superberry €1.00 per piece (6 for €5.50)
A smooth and fruity gel of mixed berries and chia seeds
Blackberries, Red Currants, Sour Cherries, Chia Seeds, Maple Syrup
Banyuls is a fortified wine style from the South of France made from the Grenache grape. Gerard Bertrand is one of the best known wine makers from the Languedoc. His wines are organic and this is a sweet wine style, made from red grapes, which is made to go with chocolate.
This wine is made the same way Port is made, white spirit is added to the fermenting must before the yeast has done its job in order to retain some of the natural sweetness. This process means the wine is called a Vin du Naturel or “naturally sweet wines”. The wines are matured in oak barrels or outside in glass jars.
This sweet red wine is a classic companion to semi-sweet or dark chocolate. While rich and full-bodied, it is less sweet than a typical dessert wine and it also usually has a good layer of acidity.
Taste you’re your chocolate with berries then a sip of Banyuls, you notice orange flavours showing through, so I have picked the Orange and Taragon, with the tarragon giving a herbal note which really works well.
The full on berry/chocolate flavours also work really well with the sweet orange character of the Banyuls.
Gerard Bertrand is a former rugby union player who represented France. He took over the family estate after the death of his father. He is now one of the top wine producers in the Languedoc, producing a huge range of wine styles from all over the region.
He is an organic/biodynamic producer and has written a book entitled Wine Moon and Stars about his winemaking endeavours.
Summer Wine Events:
Look out for a series of Rías Baixas tastings around the country this summer in Limerick (June 30th) Galway (July 7th) and Dublin (July 13th) Tickets for each evening cost €25 per person which also includes a selection of tapas to enjoy with the wines.
More details in the wine diary www.jeansmullen.com