15 March 2012

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate

So, we all like chocolate right? I remember a few years ago where it seemed everyone in the wine industry did anyway. You couldn't turn a corner without somebody telling you about the most hedonistic and 'chocolaty' ... come to think of it maybe Robert Parker had something to do with it.

Why the chocolate you say? Well it is not some induced insanity as a result of deprivation (i.e. lent), I don't do such things. Life is too short after all. I was in fact compiling a list of wines for The Print, the student news paper in NUI Maynooth, in which the Empty Glass has a bi-weekly column and it struck me that I had not heard the word chocolate in association with wine in some time. The wines I was reviewing all happened to have some sort of chocolate going on. So here we have them;

Altos De Luzon 2006

Every so often a wine comes along and absolutely blows you away in terms of quality and sometimes even value. This is a wine I have followed over a number of years and it just keeps on getting better. Made in the lesser known Jumilla region in Spain, this wine is filled with warm baked fruits, fig, blackberry, some raspberry and a hint of chocolate and coffee. Aged for twelve months in new French oak there is a layer of complexity with notes of cinnamon and cedar box. Full bodied, great structure and delicious.

On the chocolate scale it lies somewhere between rich cocoa and coffee ... so a mocha.

Score (A) 92 Available in O’Briens this month for €12.99 (normal price €17.99)

Norton Malbec Reserva 2009

A wine that I used to buy a lot but seemed to have forgotten about recently, so I decided to reacquaint myself. Typical Argentine Malbec, full bodied and rich. Notes of blueberries, dates, violets and a lovely chocolaty kick from the twelve months in oak. Argentine Malbec is generally rich and sumptuous and the Norton range is always consistent in this regard. Full bodied with fine tannin and good overall length.

No mistaking the intense aromas of chocolate here, mixed in with all the delicious baked fruits. Cadbury's Fruit and Nut? 

Score (Chocolate) 89 Available in O’Briens for €12.99

Longview Yakka Shiraz 2008

Some of our avid readers may remember Longview from the Devil’s Elbow, winner of wine of the year on emptyglassie.com and winner of Long Legs Food and Wine Soc Cabernet blind tasting. Well Peter Saturno, winemaker at Longview has another winner here with his top level Shiraz. Intense aroma of blueberries, blackberry, redcurrant, eucalyptus, cedar and a hint of cracked pepper. The wine is still developing, with the overall structure suggesting years of potential for bottle age. Yes this also goes well with some dark chocolate.

While this wine is similar to the altos in having a hint of mocha after several hours of decanting, it is at present too young and needs further time to develop. That said it is a fruit bomb and is one of my favourite wines to pair with some 70% dark chocolate.Tasty. 

Score: (A) 90 Available in O’Briens this month for €12.99 (normal price €17.99)

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