When this months Wine Blogging Wednesday host Clotilde set the challenge Like Wine for Chocolate , my plan was to drink outside the square. I would find something other than sparkling or dessert wine to match the very delicious melt in the mouth chocolate cake recipe Clotilde had posted.
I must say this is the easiest flour less (well almost) chocolate cake recipe I have baked. Just melt the butter and chocolate, add the eggs, a spoonful of flour, pour into the tin and bake. And it was best made the day before, which suited me as I had a very busy day before planned.
The previous weekend I'd been drinking the Olssens Jackson Barry Pinot Noir '03 and I'd done a little taste test with a Baci chocolate. Maybe this would be my "outside the square" wine. Also included in my tasting were bubbles and a late harvest semillon.
Sunday afternoon and my invited "to offer their opinion" guests arrived. My friend the French Horn player had brought along a Nevis Bluff Pinot Gris '02 to add to the table. The wines were poured into glasses and everyone was instructed to taste a mouthful of wine, eat a little cake then finish with another mouthful of wine. I wanted them to notice the changes in the wine before and after the cake and then decide their preference.
We started with sparkling, then the pinot gris, next the pinot noir and finished with the late harvest semillon. Everyones preferences were noted one to four and the one with the most votes would be the winner.
The French horn player wanted more instructions as he felt he might have a different preference if it was lunch or dinner. His final choice was for the pinot gris at any time of the day. I suspect all that horn blowing has damaged his taste buds! His wife thinks he chose it because he has shares in the company.
As much as I desperately wanted my Pinot Noir to be the winner of the chocolate match it only came in second. It was a great match with milk chocolate but today we were eating dark chocolate. It was voted best wine of the day though. It is a stunning wine and here is a link to the distributors page.
I expected the Sileni Estate Selection Late Harvest Semillon '03 to be a more suitable match than it was. Clearview Sea Red Dessert Wine 2004, a cabernet franc/merlot blend from Hawkes Bay, would have been a better choice.
There are shiraz or syrah wines that will go with chocolate and I'm sure other bloggers will go down this path. There isn't a shiraz in my cellar I was confident would match this chocolate cake. I thought about opening my last bottle of Masi Amarone '95 but that is marked for a special meal coming up soon.
Finally we all voted the sparkling as the best match. Not expensive sparkling either. The Italian Riccadonna Asti. The slight sweetness of the wine allows the chocolate flavours to shine without overpowering them.
I like this description of Riccadonna Asti from the 2003 edition of Drink Drank Drunk by Ben Canaider and Greg Duncan Powell - Think of a bowl of strawberries that have been dressed with a sprinkle of caster sugar, a dash of tokay, and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
Doesn't that sound like something you'd like to drink with chocolate cake?