For WBW, we selected three wines: Gundlach Bundschu Zinfandel 2001, Tedeschi Vineyards Framboise de Maui, and Los Olivos Vintners Zinfandel Port 1999. The chocolates were wide and varied, but through a painstaking process of tasting and contemplation, we successfully played matchmaker between the wines and the chocolates.
It must be said here that we were not able to make the recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini, so instead we gathered an assortment of chocolates. The first set, the plate at the bottom, was a dud. It turned out to be "diet chocolate," placed in our tasting as a joke to get the good vibes going. After a few winces and disturbed looks, followed by some water, we laughed and said, "Okay, NOW it's time for the good stuff."
The Gun Bun Zin 2001 was the first wine we opened. It was a beautiful medium red color, with aromas of berries and a little bit of spice. The finish was nice, not too long, not too short. We found that the dark chocolate cake (on the left) paired well with it. Its flavor was successful in bringing out the nuances of the Zin; in fact, it made it better.
The Los Olovis Zin Port 1999 was the second one opened. Its flavors were very deep and rich, slightly sweet, with a hint of plums. This one was very good on its own, but ended up pairing well with chocolate covered almonds. The nuttiness was a good counterpoint to the deep fruitiness of the port. We had to stop ourselves from finishing the bottle before opening the third one.
The Tedeschi Vineyards Framboise de Maui is a very special wine. Created a few years ago from Maui's first (and last) batch of commercially grown raspberries, it has the qualities of a good port (see above) but is also laced with an intense raspberry flavor. This one proved to be the toughest to find a match for: most of the chocolate we tasted before sipping the wine was obliterated by the Framboise. We were beginning to wonder if it was a loner dessert wine; meant to roam the earth on its own accord. But strangely enough, we were able to pair it with chocolate covered malt balls! Confused, we tried it again and again, and each time it worked. For me, the Framboise's finish along with the lingering malt taste gave me a strange hint of very very fresh uni (sea urchin) and a very subtle bonito aroma. Which of course, gave way to that whole chocolate raspberry thing. Strange yet beautiful.
The chocolates that found no matches (apart from the diet ones) include the chocolate covered cranberries (it clashed heavily with the Gun Bun Zin), fudge (way too sweet, better off with milk), and the dark chocolate Hershey Kisses (it just didn't get along with anybody).
We commented on how our tasting was a "diabetic's nightmare," and by the end of it we experienced a mellow jitteriness that required lying out on the grass as the summer sun went down.