It’s always the perfect time to look at a couple of guilty (or not so guilty) pleasures. Wine and chocolate.
We know about wine and food pairings ... it’s generally said that white wine goes well with seafood and red wine with rich meats.
But what wine matches with chocolate:
With tongues firmly in our cheeks, all you really need to know … chocolate is delicious, wine is delicious and eating chocolate while drinking wine is doubly delicious!
Matching wine with food is all about balance and so is matching wine and chocolate.
While there are things to think about, finding the right balance is not complicated. Just look at the most obvious characters of both the wine and the chocolate, are they:
rich vs light
full or medium bodied
bitter or creamy
dry or sweet
Let’s have a look at some types of chocolate and the wines we think will go a long way to creating that match made in heaven.
Dark chocolate with 70% to 80% cacao is the most intense and because of its rich flavours, it calls for bolder, richer and fuller-bodied red wines that have more concentrated fruit notes.
Cabernet Sauvignon and dark chocolate usually work well together, and if there was to be just one chocolate and wine suggestion, it would be this one.
The fruit intensity and medium to full bodied flavour of Shiraz makes for a rich and mouth-filling combination.
The Gig Shiraz Grenache matches well with heavier chocolates as it has good fruit weight and is lower in tannins which can balance out the bitterness of dark chocolate.
Milk chocolate has a lower percentage of cacao and a higher percentage of sugar. This plus its milk content means it’s milder, and sweeter; milk chocolate flavours include brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, honey, caramel, milk, cream, nutty and/or malt.
Milk chocolate pairs nicely with lighter, fruiter and lower alcohol reds or try a fortified wine such as Liqueur Muscat – its butterscotch, toffee and nutty characteristics highlight milk chocolate’s nutty and caramel notes and enhance the overall flavour.
A gently oaked Chardonnay would be delicious with a buttery milk chocolate or with an all time favourite fruit and nut chocolate.The creamy mouthfeel of a Chardonnay works really well with a quality milk chocolate.
Even though this amazing confection is called white chocolate, it isn’t actually chocolate as it doesn’t include cocoa! Instead it is made of cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids.
The sweet flavours of cream, milk, honey, vanilla, caramel or fruit makes it a perfect partner to sweeter wines.
A brilliant match would be a fruit-driven white wine or Rosé as they help cleanse the palate of the richness of white chocolate.
What wine can I drink with Chilli chocolate?
This is perhaps the most popular spiced chocolate out there. The hot spice aftertaste of this delicacy is not for the faint hearted, but it goes wonderfully with a Tempranillo or Verdelho.
What wine can I drink with Salted Caramel chocolate?
Try this with a glass of Sparking Chardonnay; salty and sweet and so moreish.
What wine can I drink with Mint chocolate?
Crisp and refreshing, dark mint chocolate pairs well with Cabernet Sauvignon.
What wine can I drink with Dark Raspberry chocolate? This would be the perfect match to Petit Verdot.
Right now we have so many different flavours of chocolate available, just like we have an amazing selection of wines.
Each and every one of us has a unique palate, likes and dislikes, the only real way to find your favourite chocolate and wine match is to experiment and we know what a tough job that will be.
Give it a go and have a heap of fun finding your favourites.
I often hear ‘buy local’ or ‘support local business’ as well as support small business....but why (apart from feeling good about myself)?
A while ago Dick Smith was forced to close his Australian food business.
Apparently the beginning of the end for him was Aldi. He said that ‘I believed Australians would pay more for Australian products, but turns out I was wrong.’
Upper Reach produces handmade estate grown wines from fruit grown on our Swan Valley vineyard and made in our on-site winery.
We are passionate about linking the local community with its rich Swan Valley heritage.
When you visit Upper Reach, we hope you'll enjoy and experience local produce as a part of the history of this area.
By supporting local Swan Valley producers you are helping to keep a part of the Swan Valley as working vineyards and wineries...and in these Covid times, if we don't support local- who will? There are very few interstate tourists and fewer international ones!
Vineyards are vital to the future of the Swan, adding hugely to the ambiance, atmosphere and feel of the area.
Agriculture is becoming increasingly mechanised. Upper Reach is a labour intensive, hand crafted family owned and operated producer who employs, supports and lives locally.
Upper Reach as a family business is in stark contrast to mass-produced, corporatized wine production of the big, often multi-national wine companies.
The big wineries transport their grapes and bottled wines thousands of kilometres, first to the winery, as grapes and then to market as bottled wine (high food miles and high carbon footprint).
Corporations do not routinely source local products, they tend to source the cheapest inputs using national buying power. Their main aim is to make the maximum amount of profit to be returned to shareholders.
Whereas small and family businesses often struggle to break even but aim to make a profit, but most of the money is spent locally on the raw ingredients, on the services and the labour required, this is crucial support and investment in the local community.
Upper Reach sells local produced food products and support local services. It is really important that we have a reliable supplier base, so what we need is available when we need it.
Similarly we nurture local trades and service people, this critical network of suppliers and relationships are vital to ensure we can rely on them in an emergency.
People directly employed by small business tend to live in the local community, as do the staff employed by other local businesses that supply products and services.
Possibly the largest benefit to the local community Upper Reach offers, is a peri-urban food bowl 30 minutes from the city.
There are significant cultural benefits of Upper Reach and its agri-tourism setting, for tourists and local people, in promoting local agriculture, WA’s agricultural past, and the Swan settler heritage (Stirling made camp here on his exploration of the Swan).
I’ll think about this next time I’m in the supermarket, I won’t take their $2 milk, but will choose a West Australian brand. Same with supporting all the small fruit and vegetable shops and stalls and our local butcher, rather than the big supermarkets that I know screw down the farmers on price.
First let's look at why wine goes off and goes bad once the screw cap has been opened or the cork popped.
These are both chemical reactions, so if you lower the temperature, the reaction will be slower- that means: keeping your wine in the fridge will make it last longer.
Here is my guide to how long each wine type will last after being opened.
Red wines can last 3–5 days in a cool dark place sealed with their screwcap.
The more tannin and acidity the red wine has, the longer it tends to last after opening.
So, a light red with very little tannin, such as Pinot Noir, won’t last open as long as a rich red wine, like Shiraz.
Some wines will even improve after the first day open.
Store open red wines in a dark cool place after opening them.
If you don’t have a wine cellar, your fridge is better than letting wine sit out in a 21+°C room.
Sparkling wines can last 1–3 days in the fridge with a sparkling wine stopper
Sparkling wines lose their fizz quickly after opening. A traditional method sparkling wine, like ours or a Champagne, will last longer than a tank method sparkling wine, like Prosecco.
I have found the best Champagne Sealer, I've spent years trialling various closures/ ways to seal sparkling wine, and this one is the very best I've found.
Your sparkling wine will now last up to 5 days.
Unoaked white wine or rosé can last 5–7 days in the fridge sealed with the screwcap.
Off dry white and rosé wines will be drinkable for up to a week when stored in your refrigerator.
The taste will change subtly after the first day, as the wine oxidizes.
Overall the fruit character of the wine tends to diminish, becoming less vibrant.
Chardonnay or a full-bo3–5 days in fridge sealed with the screwcap.
Full-bodied white wines, like oaked Chardonnay, tend to oxidize more quickly because they saw more oxygen during their pre-bottling aging process.
Make sure you keep them sealed and in the fridge.
If you drink a lot of this type of wine, it’s a really smart idea to invest in an Argon Gas canister.
Fortified wines can last 28 days in a cool dark place, sealed with a cork.
Fortified wines like Port and Muscat have very long shelf lives because of the addition of brandy.
Just so you know, the sweeter the dessert wine, the longer it will last open.
Next time you're at the Cellar Door,make sure to ask us exactly how long our Swan Valley wines will last once you open them.
We look forward to seeing you soon.