I had walked past this Chocolate Shop Wine a few times before deciding it had to be tasted. As someone who used to taste wine for a supermarket chain part of me wanted to know if it was possible to combine wine and chocolate in the same glass, while another part of me was just shouting “No! It’s wrong!”
This rather elegantly labelled bottle contains an ‘aromatised red wine drink’, or as the makers prefer to put it ‘”a deep ruby red wine blended with rich, velvety chocolate flavouring.” There’s a little ‘sweet-dry’ chart on the back, and the arrow is almost right at the ‘sweet’ end. Checking the ingredients I find that only 89% of what’s in the bottle is wine. Additional ingredients are sugar and chocolate flavouring, as well as some preservatives, and that had me worried. If adding 1% salt to a bar of chocolate can radically change the flavour, what would up to 10% sugar do to a bottle of wine?
According to the label, this drink has ‘inviting aromas of black cherry and dark cocoa’ with ‘notes of creamy mocha’ lingering on a ‘smooth finish’. In the glass it looks like any other wine, but even while pouring it I was immediately aware of the black cherry aromas coming from the wine. It smelled like a slightly boozy Black Forest Gateau. My first mouthful confirmed what I had suspected about the sweetness, with the cherry flavour sitting right on top of a fairly light wine. It’s certainly sweeter than any wine I have drunk in a long time, but not overpoweringly so. The finish is a combination of vanilla, cherries and wine and taken in the context of ‘a glass of wine’ it’s a little odd. Taken in the context of a glass of chocolatey booze it’s less disturbing and kind of pleasant, although I doubt I could go a second glass – it’s far too sweet for that!
As a sweet dessert wine (possibly eaten with fruit or some sort of sticky, sugary pudding) I think this would probably go down quite well with a lot of people. Drunk on it’s own the high sugar content and unusual flavour make it hard to take more than a small glass. I suppose it would make the perfect companion drink to a classic Black Forest Gateau, but you’d never get away with having this alongside a cheeseboard!
Worth trying for the novelty value, but this is never going to become a regular purchase – for me at least.