Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wine and chocolate pairing at Sweet Decadence

Matt and I recently spent a very pleasant afternoon sampling wine and delicious chocolate truffles handmade by Sweet Decadence, located in Newcastle WA. We had a private table beautifully set with wine glasses and artisan glass plates for the truffles. It definitely felt like a special occasion.

We had four pairings total. For each, we took a couple of sips of wine to let the flavor sink in before taking a bite of the truffle. They were all pleasant, though we enjoyed some samplings more than others. I've rated the wine, the chocolate, and the pairing of both together on a scale from 1 to 5. All of the wines are from WA state and retail for less than $20. Here's what we tried:

Sampling 1
-2007 Ginko Forest Gew├╝rztraminer (2/5) - The wine was not too sweet, but didn't have much finish. Aromas of lychee and spice.
-Peanut butter truffle with crisped rice pieces, covered in white chocolate (3/5) - a very nice texture and strong peanut butter flavor, which I enjoyed.

-The pairing together (3/5) - the truffle complemented the slight sweetness of the wine nicely. I would not have guessed that peanut butter and Gew├╝rztraminer would complement each other, but they definitely did.

Sampling 2
-Dark chocolate espresso truffle (5/5)- this was by far my favorite truffle of those we tried. A deep dark chocolate truffle with subtle coffee flavor, topped with an espresso bean. Wonderful and decadent.
-Townsend Bay Point Wilson blend (non-vintage) (4/5) - a pleasant blend of 48% Sangiovese, 24% Malbec, and 28% Cabernet Sauvignon. A very pleasant nose of cherries and spice. Earthy flavors with a medium finish.
-The pairing together (3/5) - this was a tough one. I really enjoyed the two items separately, but together there just wasn't harmony - the espresso truffle overpowered the wine. Still enjoyable, but I would perhaps pair this wine with a chocolate featuring a smaller percentage of cacao.

Sampling 3
-2006 Ginko Forest Syrah/Cab blend (3/5) - Spicy notes on the nose, loads of ripe berries on the palate. Firm tannins but the finish was shorter than I expected. Not a lot of depth here, but very pleasant.
-Strawberry truffle (3/5) - milk chocolate with a nice strawberry flavor. However, this reminded me of the Strawberry Quik powder I added to milk as a kid. Not necessarily a negative, but not what I want to think of when sampling a truffle.
-The pairing together (2/5) - These did not taste better together. Interestingly, I had a bit of the Point Wilson blend left in my glass and tried that with the Strawberry truffle - with much better results.

Sampling 4
-2007 NW Totem Cellars Syrah (4/5) - This was opened right before we tried it, and it was still tight. We gave it 15 minutes with swirling in the glass, and it began to open up with notes of wood, coffee, and blackberry. Also a caramel note on the nose that I've found to be common in WA state syrahs. Very pleasant.
-Amaretto milk chocolate truffle (4/5) - I'm a fan of Amaretto liqueur, so this was a no-brainer. I'm glad to report that it was not sickly-sweet as Amaretto flavored desserts can sometimes be. Creamy and a lovely almond flavor.
-The pairing together (4/5) - These were both rather bold in flavor and balanced each other nicely. 

Overall, we had a great time, and recommend it to anyone who loves chocolate. Everyone working there was friendly and we saw a couple of people making truffles - I wanted to join them!