A Heart-Winning Combination: Wine, Chocolates and Roses 8

Red wine, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, and a dozen long-stemmed red roses are the perfect ingredients for a romantic Valentine’s Day. While the celebration of Valentine’s Day dates back to Roman times, the tradition of giving chocolates on this special day started in the 1800s. And as fine chocolates pair especially well with wine, lovers of both will want to enjoy the incredibly delicious array of gourmet chocolates and fine wines available in the Conejo Valley.

Gourmet Chocolates

Tifa Chocolates in Westlake Village recommends pairing their specialty chocolate bars with mouthwatering local red wines. Favorites include the following:

  • Amedei Toscano Brown Cioccolato al Latte, a 32% cocoa milk chocolate that is rich and creamy with a vanilla-like flavor.
  • Michel Cluizel Plantation Vila Gracinda, São Tomé, a 67% cocoa, semisweet dark chocolate with an aroma of molasses, licorice, tobacco, and espresso and a taste of fennel, raspberry jam, and a hint of fresh fig. Coffee, tobacco, and oak spices are prominent with a finish of anise and a back note of fig.
  • François Pralus Madagascar Criollo, a 75% cocoa, bittersweet very dark chocolate with fruit and crisp acidity top notes from raspberry to red wine, continuing through more caramelized richer flavors to a golden syrup-like finish.
  • François Pralus Trinidad Trinitario, a 75% cocoa, bittersweet very dark chocolate with aromas of spice, tobacco, and dried herbs and smoky and dark flavors.

To enjoy a wine that complements your favorite chocolate best, follow this basic rule—pair light to dark chocolates with light to dark wines.

Local Specialty Wines

The following fine wines made in and around the Conejo Valley pair especially well with the gourmet chocolate bars listed below:

Sant Wines 2013 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir (94 Points Wine Enthusiast) Being an extremely aromatic wine, there is an abundance of strawberry jam aromas upfront flooding into crushed dry rose and slate notes. On the palate are layers of mixed red fruit laden with forest floor that weave beautifully around fresh-baked piecrust, integrated tannins, and sweet layered oak. The soft, balanced mouthfeel combines with refreshing acidity to create great complexity, allowing this wine to be highly approachable and pair great with bittersweet chocolate and food.

Amedei – Toscano Brown Cioccolato al Latte

Michel Cluizel – Plantation, Vila Gracinda, São Tomé

François Pralus – Madagascar, Criollo

François Pralus – Trinidad, Trinitario

Alma Sol Winery 2012 Almazan Dessert Wine, Paso Robles This Portuguese Port-style wine uses both Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional grapes from the east side of Paso Robles. The nose is cherries and cranberries and follows through with a very fruit-forward, elegant mouthfeel. The finish is long with a touch of fortified wine.

Michel Cluizel – Plantation, Vila Gracinda, São Tomé

François Pralus – Madagascar, Criollo

François Pralus – Trinidad, Trinitario

Eagles Landing 2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills This private label of Herzog Wine Cellars’ head winemaker Joe Hurliman presents black raspberry and black cherry notes, complemented by hints of rose petal and orange blossom. A rich and full mouthfeel leads a layered finish of vanilla and dark chocolate.

Michel Cluizel – Plantation, Vila Gracinda, São Tomé

François Pralus – Madagascar, Criollo

François Pralus – Trinidad, Trinitario

Four Brix Winery 2012 Petite Sirah, Sonoma, Russian River The nose is dark fruit with dominant blueberries and dark fruit on the palette with blackberries and blueberries. The intense, inky color is a good match with chocolate.

Michel Cluizel – Plantation, Vila Gracinda, São Tomé

François Pralus – Madagascar, Criollo

François Pralus – Trinidad, Trinitario

Herzog Cellars 2014 Camouflage A field blend of 12 varietals that tastes of red and black raspberries, espresso, and nutmeg.

Michel Cluizel – Plantation, Vila Gracinda, São Tomé

François Pralus – Madagascar, Crillo

François Pralus – Trinidad, Trinitario

Millesime Cellars 2013 Scoprire Santa Ynez Valley 70% Syrah, 22% Sangiovese, 8% Cabernet Franc This wine blend has characters of blackberry, bing cherry, black pepper, dried figs, star anise, and currants.

Michel Cluizel – Plantation, Vila Gracinda, São Tomé

François Pralus – Madagascar, Criollo

François Pralus – Trinidad, Trinitario

Sunland Vintage Winery Teroldego A unique varietal that compares to Zinfandel, with spicy red fruits, hints of tar, pine, and almond, with an acidity that makes it versatile with most food.

Amedei – Toscano Brown Cioccolato al Latte

Michel Cluizel – Plantation, Vila Gracinda, São Tomé

François Pralus – Madagascar, Criollo

François Pralus – Trinidad, Trinitario

Vinemark Cellars 2013 Primitivo Port Style, Paso Robles A ruby dessert wine with toasty almond aromas and ripe berry flavors: cherry, cassis, and earthy notes, plus a hint of dried cherries and chocolate.

Amedei – Toscano Brown Cioccolato al Latte

Michel Cluizel – Plantation, Vila Gracinda, São Tomé

François Pralus – 
Madagascar, Criollo

François Pralus – 
Trinidad, Trinitario