Like Wine for Chocolate, dared us to find a wine that would be the perfect pairing for a Melt-in-your-mouth Chocolate Cake.
When it comes to chocolate desserts, especially dense, rich and intense chocolate cake, my choice is simple and probably the most obvious: Banyuls, one of our favorite dessert wines.
We like to serve Banyuls anytime but especially with a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g chocolate and ppst!, even over ice, with a twist of lemon or even better, orange.
Banyuls is a fortified wine (Port-style) made in Roussillon, around the area where France meets Spain. High in alcohol (around 17-19%), Banyuls is aromatic, fruity, juicy, sweet and ultra elegant.
Around these parts we love Banyuls almost as much as we do a great Sauternes, Tokaji Aszú, Late Harvest Riesling or Ice Wine and we definitely find it more delicate than a Vintage Port.
We had our Domaine de la Rectorie (AOC Banyuls) Léon Parcé 2003 (100% Black Grenache, $29) over the week with an array of chocolate focused treats:
- Delicious Christian Constant Mandarin Orangettes (also Pistachio and Tea infused ganache pieces)
- An asortment of Fauchon chocolates
- A few Jaffa Cakes (my first, ever)
- A box of fresh as can be, locally made chocolates (Balsamico e Fragola, Caffè, Cioccolato Nera, Lavanda e Miele, Vaniglia, Yoshino and Zafferano) from Fiori Chocolatiers
- Amazingly scrumptious Dilettante Bing Cherry Dragées
- An über rich Spuma Cioccolato (chocolate mousse cake with raspberries and chocolate shavings and curls) from the corner Bakery at Il Fornaio
"Rich, redolent of prunes, figs, cocoa and cherry.
"Full in the mouth with spice and toasted notes.
"I can taste the color orange in the Orangettes"
"The Banyuls intensifies the flavor of the chocolate"
"Is there any more?"
"If I did not have to go to bed and get up early I'd drink the rest of the bottle."
It was a hit with all of them.
Suggested reading & pairings:
About Roussillon: Highly celebrated for its rich, port-style Vin Doux Naturel, such as Banyuls and Maury. The methods used to make these wines allow for high levels of sweetness to be achieved.
Some wines are also given extended contact with oak where they develop a browner colour and more treacly flavour. Côtes de Roussillon is capable of producing robust reds, rosés and whites too. Côtes de Roussillon-Villages is an appellation just for reds. Vin de Pays have a place here too, many of which, as in the Languedoc, are showing promise with the big name international varieties.