Wine & Food

Snooth User: tgiFLORENCE

Wedding made in heaven: Brunesco 1997 and Chocolate

Posted by tgiFLORENCE, Feb 18, 2011.

We were sitting around one recent winter afternoon, enjoying one of our favorite Tuscan I.G.T.'s, Fattoria Montagliari's 1997 Brunesco, when it occured to us that this wine would be amazing combined with bitter chocolate. Now, the idea of combining certain wines with chocolate is nothing new - but this Brunesco!

With that, Antonio grabbed the half-empty bottle and disappeared into the kitchen. A short while later he reappeared with a tray of dark, almost black truffles. The ganache contained the '97 Brunesco, and in the center of each truffle he'd hidden a whole roasted cocoa bean. There was nothing for me to do but to open another bottle. I poured two glasses. We tasted a truffle. Then we sipped the Brunesco.

Nirvana. Ecstasy. Heaven on Earth. There are no words to describe the sensation. 

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Replies

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 18, 2011.

Cool that you enjoyed it, but I find red table wine and chocolate to be almost as much of an overrated pairing as red table wine and cheese.  You can have my share.  ;) 

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Reply by tgiFLORENCE, Feb 19, 2011.

Girl Drink Drunk - I'm afraid you misunderstood or, perhaps misread my post! I didn't say anything about "red table wine and chocolate"... I said BRUNESCO and bitter chocolate. Let's not, as the Italians say, confuse the wool with the silk! ;o)

Thanks for your offer to send me your portion, but once you get this right I'm betting you won't be so quick to share!

So, smartypants, if this is overrated, what's YOUR idea of the perfect pairing? Hmmm?

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 19, 2011.

I may be confused, but isn't Brunesco a Tuscan blend?  If so, it's what we in America refer to as a red table wine.  In America, red table wine is any non-fortified, non-sparkling red.  It's is not a quality indicator, like VdT is in Italy.  If I'm incorrect and Brunesco is something else, I'd love to be enlightened.

If it's not, my original post stands.  Chocolate, especially dark, kills your palate.  It's such an intense flavor, that it simplifies anything that goes into your mouth next.  To me, dark chocolate and red table wine makes the wine taste like KoolAid.  This seems to be the opinion of the majority of people I work with in the trade.

My perfect pairing is a stinky blue and, strangely, not Sauternes, but a Riesling Ice Wine/Eiswein.  The hyper fruitiness, along with the salty, brine creates magic in the mouth.  The pairing is way, way greater than the sum of its parts.  Champagne and potato chips a/o french fries is a close second.

Finally, don't let my opinion disuade you from what you enjoy.  If you love the match, that's wonderful.  I simply disagree, albeit extremely strongly.

 

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Reply by tgiFLORENCE, Feb 19, 2011.

Brunesco is a sangiovese varietal I.G.T. produced by Fattoria Montagliari in Panzano-in-Chianti according to a traditional method known as the "governo all'uso Toscano". It is neither a blend, a "table wine", nor is it fortified. This particular wine has been in production on this estate since the first half of the 17th century. 

In Italy, anything that is not D.O.C., D.O.C.G. or I.G.T. is called table wine - that is, as long as it's a liquid and you can put it in a bottle, you can call it table wine. VdT (the little used acronym for Vino da Tavola) can be any grape - white or red, in any blend, grown anywhere, processed and fermented anywhere and anyhow, aged anywhere and anyhow and sold whenever. This doesn't necessarily mean there aren't any valid vini da tavola, just that there is no control over its production and no knowledge of what's in the bottle. 

I would agree with your assessment of dark chocolate being too intense, except for the fact that there is dark chocolate, and then there is dark chocolate, as there is red wine and then, there is red wine. Get yourself a bottle of '97 Brunesco and try it with a small bite (temperance!) of good quality, and I mean Good Quality dark chocolate. Then let's talk ;o)

I like your pairing of stinky blue with Eiswein, though I'm not a big fan of sweet/fruity. But will try it! 

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 19, 2011.

You're not understanding what I'm trying to say. 

In the US, any red wine that is not fortified or sparkling is referred to as red table wine.  It could cost $5 or $5,000.  Ergo, Brunesco, in our wine-speak, is a red table wine.  I was trying to say that our term of red table wine has nothing to do with your VdT term.  I also am pretty familiar with your classification system.

I was unaware that Brunesco is 100% Sangiovese, but that doesn't change my opinion in the slightest, nor does the quality of the wine/chocolate.  I drink high quality, amazing wines all the time (job perk) and have attempted pairing them with ridiculously good chocolate.  It just isn't for me.  Such is life.

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Reply by tgiFLORENCE, Feb 20, 2011.

I must be terribly dense! Do you mean to tell me that in the U.S. any red wine that is not fortified or sparkling is referred to as red table wine? Is that what you mean and what I'm not understanding? Let me get this straight - in the United States, if a red wine is fortified or sparkling, it's not red table wine. Right? And if it's not fortified or sparking, it is. Am I getting there? What if it's fortified and sparkling? What then?!?

Ah GDD, I'm pulling your leg. I'm sorry that the U.S. terminology is so dismally reductive, but that's not our fault now, is it! It's evident that there is a misallignment between U.S. and Italian wine terminology. Viva la differenza!

Good for you that you won't change your opinion. Stick to your guns! I wouldn't dream of forcing you to sample something that I think is great. It would be difficult anyway, given the circumstances. Your loss - more for me! Such is life.

Congratulations on your job perk. I also enjoy amazing food and wine every day (life perk!)

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 20, 2011.

tgiF, yes Brunesco is red table wine, in US parlance. Not tafelwein, or any other such term in whichever European language.

Nonetheless I'll agree with GDD. Chocolate and redwine are a horrible match. Unless we're talking Port or Bandol or other fortified versions.

Have the sangiovese with the main courses, save the chocolate for after with espresso and grappa. Or that's what I'd do, anyway....

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 21, 2011.

Thanks, dm.  Seems someone gets a little touchy when disagreed with. 

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Reply by tgiFLORENCE, Feb 21, 2011.

Whoa! Hahahaaa! Seems like someone has to have it her way or no way - or someone gets a bug up her...! I don't think anyone put a gun to anyone else's head and said YOU MUST DRINK THIS ITALIAN NON-FORTIFIED NON-SPARKLING RED TABLE WINE WITH BITTER CHOCOLATE OR I'LL BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT! Haha! Lighten up, guys!

My intention was to share what I, personally, find to be a delicious thing. In a normal world, this would be looked upon as something nice - even if you don't agree - not as a challenge to your superior knowledge and more refined taste. Apparently, this is not a normal world.

So go ahead, you two very superb connoisseures of the finer, nay, the finest things in life - enjoy whatever you like combined with whatever else you like! Gay ga zinte hate! Enjoy! It's wine, not war!

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 21, 2011.

Frankly, wasn't thinking I was escalating things that much tgiF. You seem to have brought out the big guns.

So what is it you like about the combination of a relatively lush sangiovese and good dark chocolate? I like them both separately, very much, but together I think the cacophony of their clash is eardrum-rather tastebud-breaking. A muddled cancellation in the middle of things, where the bitterness of the chocolate causes the tannins of the wine to twist in bad, bad ways.

Would be interested in hearing some details of the sensations you're encountering, rather than the emotions you're trying to raise....

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 21, 2011.

Yes, that must be it.  I must have a bug up my ass because I commented on the fact that you're touting one of the worst wine pairings out there.

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Reply by tgiFLORENCE, Feb 21, 2011.

Yow! You play rough, lady! Cool your tools! I stopped by to share what I think is a very pleasing sensory delight... and you get all unlatched? Breathe! Breathe! Breathe!

 

Oh and... I never mentioned where the bug is, but you filled us in on the news. Thanks.

 

dmckr - You seem to be a more reasonable individual, so I am glad to answer your question. The sensations that I encounter with this, not all - this particular wine with very dark chocolate ganache is one of consoling comfort, warm arms embracing, all's good in the world. Round, mushy, cushy feelings of solace and contentment. That deafening cacaphony you mentioned I think came from the drunk girl, not the Brunesco and chocolate.

 

My experiences with this "worst pairing" out there may be dreadfully bottom shelf, declassé, boorish. But I like it! Call me Pisha. Funny, I live and work in a place where wine and food are everything... and nothing. Here, they are above all a substances to be enjoyed, preferrably in good company - not something to feel superior about or threatened by when someone suggests suspending disbelief. (Are you listening, GDD?)


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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 21, 2011.

"Round" and "mushy" do nothing to describe how the flavors work with each other.  I'm not sure you know how to actually do that.  We've each given a practical example of how red wine and chocolate don't pair well (intensity and tannins).  If you could explain how they do, I'd be all ears.

I was not feeling superior.  You, apparently, don't enjoy having your opinion challenged.  This is a discussion board, you realize?  If everyone agreed, what would be the point?

Oh yes, I'm the drunk girl, even though my screen name is about a Kids in the Hall skit featuring a man...

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Reply by tgiFLORENCE, Feb 21, 2011.

Drunk Girl, give me a practical example of how red wine and chocolate don't pair. Explain! Tell me why, oh WHY is it not allowed. Tell me who wrote the law that intensity and tannins don't mix? Enlighten me! I need to know why I'm so wrong! And while you're at it, please tell me why are you such a conventional thinker and slave to received wisdom? Oh please. Please! Tell me!

Drunk girl, I think you may be nuts. Maybe you've been on a bender for too long. Give your liver a rest. Learn how do discuss, then come to me and tell me about discussions. 

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 21, 2011.

Are you really always this dramatic?  I have a differing opinion.  Do you speak so rudely to everyone in life who disagrees with you?

As I mentioned upthread, the intensity of the chocolate desensitizes your palate, making the following sip of wine simple, negating all its depth and interesting characteristics.  I never "said you were wrong" and no one "wrote the law", Drama Queen.  It's simply my opinion, but I will profess to having an extremely educated, well-practiced palate, which I'm paid handsomely for the use of.  Does this mean I'm professing to know all there is to know about wine?  No.  It simply means that myself and my colleagues (and most wine writers and critics) dislike the wine/chocolate pairing.  Why is this so hard for you to grasp?

Yes, I disagree with you so I must be drunk.  You're laughable.

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 21, 2011.

GDD is correct.  This brings back nasty memories of having to swallow nasty cough syrup with a bitter, sour taste lasting for hours, as a child. sigh.

Red wine + chocolate = bitter for me

Sparkling wine +chocolate = bitter for me

in the end, both taste bad, and why turn people off to either????   They can both shine in their own right, just not with each other. 

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 21, 2011.

Kinda like Jen and Brad... :-) :-)

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 21, 2011.

TGI

I have followed this thread without comment so far but I think I need to make a couple of points [By the way I am from Australia]

  1. I do not always agree with GDD's views but her opinions are to be respected and highly because, as she correctly points out - wine is what she does for a living and she sits on the cutting edge of the wine world every day. I rarely read something she writes that does not add to my knowledge or create a need to research and learn, which is a good thing.
  2. Food and wine matching is very much about personal taste and what she is pointing out to you is that not only does she have a problem with the match, she also has good and valid reasons why a problem exists matching chocolate and wine.  She probably gets a lot of feedback from consumers who in the majority agree with her view.
  3. I generally do not match choclate with wine because there is so many other great matches, but on a few occasions I have found a wine the goes OK with a certain chocolate.  But sometimes I wonder if that is more to do with mood and the event etc etc.  Plus I am not a great chocolate eater, preferring cheese over chocolate by a factor >20 to 1.
  4. If your palate enjoys the match of a certain wine and certain chocolate and you can share that with others who agree then thats great, nobody is judging your taste other than to say that they do not share the same view.
  5. The real benefit of these forums is to share ideas and debate differences of view.  I am an accountant with one of the Big 4 accounting firms and my client base is predominantly in the wine industry and I advise people from the large multi-nationals to the small owner operators on financial and business strategies.  I have often spirited debate with my clients on what should happen in the industry and I learn a lot more from absorbing other peoples knowledge and looking for solutions rather than trying to prove a point..

So my advice is don't take comments personnally, and be prepared for many contrary views, but that is the fun of the forums. 

Your chocolate/wine match may work for a lot of people and they will be greatful for your input but for many it will not, que sera, such is life.

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 22, 2011.

Hey, I thought it was fun to see a little life in the discourse! ;-)

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Reply by tgiFLORENCE, Feb 22, 2011.

Thank you, dmcker, for the refreshing breath of sanity and spirit of fun and irony.

Sometimes I think some of these so-called "wine professionals" take themselves entirely too seriously. Extreme education and well-practiced palates are meaningless unless these remarkable assets are used to enhance other people's experience. I feel sometimes that this forum is used by them more as a shiny mirror that they can admire their own refined tastes and prejudices. It's too bad - I think they really miss the point of wine. Perhaps they're able to make a living at it, they may even be highly paid. But they miss the point.

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