Rombauer Zinfandel and a Little Romance!

Exotic flower bouquets!!  Boxes of chocolate!  Bottles of Champagne!!

Valentine’s day is big business in the grocery store and, honestly, it’s heartwarming to see so many men, women, younger, older, couples, singles, all planning for their special celebration of love!

I succumbed to the hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries at my store. Who wouldn’t?

But, if anyone tells you chocolate and wine is a natural combination, please just turn and walk away. Creamy sweet chocolate paired with an acidic champagne makes the bubbles sour.  Paired with a dry red wine, your chocolate can taste like chalk. Romantic buzz kill.

Buzz kill be damned, I picked up the Rombauer Zinfandel, hoping for enough ripe fruit in the wine to partner with the sweetness of the chocolate. I have customers who love, I mean LOVE this Rombauer Zinfandel.  So it just made sense to try it on this day of celebrating love.

Rombauer sources grapes for this California Zinfandel from many counties including Amador, Lake and Sonoma. The fruit is harvested by hand at night, then shipped to the winery in refrigerated trucks to keep the fruit fresh and vibrant. Cold soaking extracts color and flavor before fermentation in tanks.  Fermentation is finished in barrels, then the wine is aged 15 month in American and French oak barrels, with 10% being new.  This encourages complexity without an overabundance of oak and spice flavor.

Complex aromas of raspberry, dried savory herbs and a little wisp of smoke greet the nose. The palate is quite different from the nose, filled with rich ripe fruits.  Sweet vanilla and black cherries mingle with plum and cocoa. More layers of flavor bring licorice and pepper spice with bright raspberry.

The wine is plush velvet on the tongue. It all gets wrapped up with a dry finish holding hints of pepper spice and more vanilla.

With my chocolate strawberries?  No buzz kill at all!  Strawberries covered in white chocolate actually brought out strawberry notes in the wine.  And the sweet, ripe fruit in this Zinfandel paired so pleasantly with the milk chocolate and berry flavors.

Emboldened by this delicious pairing, I sliced some salty summer sausage to serve along with this ripely-fruited Zinfandel.  I know, someone stop me.

The salty-sweet combo worked, actually encouraging some meaty notes in the wine.

Buzz kill avoided, the Rombauer Zinfandel was a romantic addition to strawberries, chocolate, yes even sausage slices by the fire on a snowy Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate pairing;
Salty sausage slices;
Sipping with your honey in front of a warm fireplace!

About the author: Sue Navratil

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