Now, I’m no expert at reviewing wine, my friend Fraser who runs the Red Wine blog is so much better than me, but I’ll do my best here. And I’ll try and put across my thoughts well as this bottle of chocolate wine actually via a friend of Paul Morris’ who owns The Vineyard Wine Merchants in Ramsbottom.
Myself and fortified wine go back a long way. In fact I was a port lover long before I ever got into beer but as I matured I lost the passion for it as I moved on to more sociable beverages for a man in his youth However, I always loved choosing a bottle at random from behind the bar to see what it tastes like and with a name like ‘secret’ I’m sure I would have instructed the bar man to pour me a glass. And this is where I went wrong. Not knowing that this was actually fortified wine (I didn’t read the reverse label) I plumped for a large glass, when I should most probably gone for a sherry glass.
It’s this sort of measure issue that will give away the nature of this wine. The aroma splits into three. At the lower end you’d have a sweet fig-type aroma, a typical red wine character and then a top note of dark chocolate. These combine to create an incredibly sweet, syrupy experience which would serve as a perfect libation for this time of year.
For those people that like to over-indulge it might be the perfect foil. You see, this fortified wine tastes as strong as a Port which is generally 20% ABV but this is only 12%. There is a downside though, I don’t think I could drink too much of it in one go – may be a couple of sherry glasses after dessert and no more. With the recommendation being that it should be consumed within one month of opening I would suggest that means you’d need to have a session on it most nights. That’s ok if there’s two of you partial to a drop or two, but not so good if you’re the only one in the house that’d enjoy it.
In my advancing years and when it’s cold I love the odd glass of ginger wine. I could see this chocolate wine replacing it, and it’d be perfect over the festive period. I’m not sure when it goes on sale properly at The Vineyard Wine Merchants online, but I expect you can get it if you live in Lancashire from their shop at 12 Square Street, Rambsottom, BL0 9BE – Tel: 01706 822 213.
I shared what was left with family last night and the group, a mixture of old and young, absolutely loved it. Great stuff.
p.s. you can follow the producers and retailers of this wine at @vinyardwines.