Cabernet Sauvignon, Grafton 2 Year Cheddar & Cabernet Matinee Dark Chocolate

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Cabernet Sauvignon, Grafton 2 Year Cheddar & Cabernet Matinee Dark Chocolate 1

As a special treat for Valentine’s Day, we not only paired wine and cheese but added some chocolate. Not a bad deal if you ask me! We wanted to step it up a bit so the wine today will be a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Since there is more than one pairing happening the entry will be wine, cheese, wine and cheese, chocolate, wine and chocolate. Enjoy!

Today’s wine is produced by Winery SF, a very well-rated urban winery located on Treasure Island. ( It also happens to be where I spend my Fridays as a tasting room associate. Plan a trip out to Treasure Island some time and come say hi! I currently pour this wine so I am familiar with it but we pour the 2009 and this is the 2010 vintage.

As I swirled the wine I picked up menthol and cherry while Neil could identify spice, blackberries, and a hint of floral notes. When we tasted the wine it was dry, tangy, tart, lightly tannic and medium bodied. Neil noticed the definite grape flavor, spice on the throat and the alcohol. One thing that we agreed on was that the wine could use some more bottle age. There seems to be more flavors waiting to develop. We’ll have to pick up another bottle in 6 months to a year and try it again.

We purchased the Grafton 2 year Cheddar at Cheese Plus. ( After our last visit for the cheese tasting, we couldn’t wait to go back! ( We always try to find the right cheese for the wine and our lists suggested this one in particular, so we were excited to find it. I found it to have a creamy, medium texture with sharp, tart and tangy flavors. Neil added that it was kind of sour and soft for a cheddar. We both noticed a funky barnyard flavor that coats the mouth and stays on the palate. It lingered for quite a while which surprised us.

And now our first pairing, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cheddar. We both found the cheese to make the fruit more noticeable in the wine, with it almost getting sweeter. I detected the alcohol more and found a hint of oak. The cheese was toned down by the wine, but still sour/sharp. Neil thought the cheese got saltier with the wine.

This chocolate was made by Ghiradelli, a local San Francisco company. ( It’s a challenge walking by their stores and not going in every time! The chocolate smelled terrific right out of the package, reminding me of cotton candy. Neil was surprised that it was solid chocolate and not filled with juice or cream. The flavors were semisweet but not quite as bitter as some dark chocolates, super smooth, rich cocoa and blackberry and grape. Quite simply, Yum!

With a name like Cabernet Matinee, we had to pair this chocolate with Cabernet Sauvignon. So how did the wine and chocolate influence each other? The chocolate made us both notice the oak in the wine, the wine more tannic and dry, and increased the alcohol flavor but making it more like dessert wine. The wine caused me to taste more of the fruit in the chocolate and helped make my mouth more smooth to balance the wine. Neil thought the chocolate got slightly sweeter.

What a decadent night of wine, cheese and chocolate! Neil prefers the wine with cheese or chocolate but not by itself. Maria agreed the wine does so much more during the pairings than on its own. Maybe next Valentines day we’ll redo the pairing to see how the wine changes in a year?

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