I’ve been pairing up this combination a lot lately at wine tastings, and it’s been a huge hit with guests.
You want high-quality, dark chocolate to make this work. I’ve been buying the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Premium Tasting Collection. It’s a little sampler bag that contains about 20 individually wrapped chocolates – a few each of 60%, 72% and 86% Cacao chocolates. My preference for pairing with the Meritage is the 72% Cacao — I just happen to think it works best.
If you read my recent post about pairing wine and chocolate, you’ll remember that high quality chocolate has very little sugar, which can work well with a young red wine with a lot of fruit character. High quality chocolate is not really sweet, but it’s also not bitter, because the chocolate and the cacao balance each other out.
Also remember, the higher the sugar content of the chocolate, the more difficult it is to pair with a dry red wine (a higher sugar content chocolate will emphasize the tannins in a wine, the same effect as pairing a dry wine with dessert, and will make the wine more “austere.”)
What you want is a chocolate that has enough sweetness to balance the bitter, say, at least 60% cacao or more, and 13/13.5 grams of sugar or less. The Ghirardelli dark chocolates are perfect because the assortment has three varieties, all at 60% or greater cacao, and contain only 12 grams of sugar.
Somersville Cellars 2007 Red Meritage
I’ve been loving this wine for weeks. I’ve poured it at half a dozen tastings in the last couple of months, and even folks who generally don’t enjoy fuller bodied red wines are loving it. It’s very velvety, rich and smooth.
(A quick note about Meritage — a Meritage is a wine blended from the traditional “noble” Bordeaux varieties, and can be red or white. Red Meritage will be a blend of two or more of the following: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot. St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenere. No single variety may make up more than 90% of the blend.)
This 2007 Somersville Cellars Red Meritage has layers of aromas including plum, cherry, cinnamon and vanilla with hints of sandalwood and licorice. The flavors are intense and ripe with a big mouthfeel and a lot of weight on the palate. The acidity and tannin balance well with the flavor and produce a long pleasing finish.
It is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 15% Cabernet Franc.
You can also pair this wine with roasted lamb or beef dishes, wild mushroom risotto or strong cheeses such as blue. It would be completely phenomenal paired with a steak with blue cheese slathered on top.
If you’d like to order this wine, you can visit my other website here:
Then click on, “Shop Our Products,” then “Shop for Wines,” then “Red Wines.” Once on the red wines page, scroll down to item #: 09-0058 for the Somersville Cellars 2007 Red Meritage.