Malbec and Local Chocolate
After creating our Wine and Chocolate Pinterest Board, it got me thinking we should do another wine and chocolate pairing. As I looked into those links, it reminded me that the tannins in Malbec wines, work well with the tannins in dark chocolates. That settled it, I’d find a Malbec and some local Costa Rican chocolate. Strangely I had a hard time coming across some local chocolate. (Most likely due to the pandemic) Then, at a local coffee shop, we noticed a display with a few different options. The owner recommended the almond one, so we were ready to go.
Do you like Malbec wines? Are you a fan of tannins? A lot of times I’m not but I wanted to broaden my horizons for this entry. This did make it a little tricky to pick out a bottle so we kind of just rolled the dice.
Right now in Costa Rica, we’re near the coast so we were sure to chill the bottle in the refrigerator. Then it was necessary to let it warm up a bit so we could notice the intricacies of the wine. It did seem to get us close to the appropriate temperature so that worked out well. Ok lets get to the tasting!
While searching for aromas, I picked up blackberries, earth/slate and some smoke while Neil called it dark berries and oak. This was a dry wine with tannins but I could notice dark fruit, some acid and a dry finish. Neil picked up dark fruit flavors that he called fuzzy grapes, some more oak, smokey/burnt wood and some alcohol. Some of those elements made him wonder if this wine might have been aged in a bourbon barrel? Once my wine warmed up a little, I found the oak influence too.
Now onto that local chocolate! This region of Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula, is actually known for the chocolate grown by the indigenous people here. There are couple local cacao farms not too far from our hotel but we couldn’t find one that was open. Then as we called around a bit, we found out that some of the places are not producing chocolate now since there is little demand. The brand we found is called Kiala and they are located in the Brunca region of the country. The name Brunca is the same as the indigenous culture of people.
As we tasted the chocolate, I picked up berry and sweet aromas although Neil couldn’t identify any standout aromas. The chocolate had a dry flavor but a smooth texture that changed to be a bit chalky. The percentage of cacao (65) was surprising to us because it seemed greater than that. There were berry and earth flavors too. Neil liked that the almonds gave it a nice crunch but I didn’t think they gave it much flavor. We both found this to be very nice dark chocolate.
Since there were berry flavors in both the wine and chocolate we were pretty curious to see how they worked together. The wine changed to have even more dark fruit and slate aromas, and a spicy flavor. The chocolate seemed a bit more nutty but then once I tasted them together again it seemed that the flavor of both the wine and chocolate kind of went away. Neil agreed that the nuttiness came out a bit more and the chocolate seemed to get sweeter. He said the chocolate made the berries and sweetness dissipate from the wine though. The wine changed to be more slate, earthy and dry. Despite this change, he still found the pairing to be interesting. I think I enjoyed the wine better with the chocolate because there was some spice that came out. Neil said he’d prefer the wine on it’s own.
I wish I could have found a couple different Osa chocolates so we could have compared their flavors to each other. Guess we’ll have to come back when it’s not a pandemic. As I finished writing this entry and inserted the photos, I noticed that the bottle said “barrel select” so I guess we were correct in our assumptions about the oak barrels influencing the wine! #winenerds