Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

And now for something completely different

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So I drop by my neighbourhood SAQ outlet yesterday to pick up a few bottles for this evening’s tasting. After helping me find them, the senior wine advisor says, “Oh! I’ve got something special for you to taste,” and disappears into the staff room.

Now, the last time I heard that line, he came back with a glass of 2009 Sassicaia. The time before, a glass of delicious vin jaune from a bottle that had been open several months. So you might say I’m expecting a treat.

He reappears and places a glass in my hand. Pale red, more like a Burgundy than, say, a Bordeaux. I swirl the glass, take a sniff and stop dead in my tracks. What the…?!

Tasters often find chocolate in the smell of a wine. Cherry, too. Throw in some vanillin (extracted from oak barrels or chips) and you may get chocolate-covered cherries or, in particularly egregious cases, Cherry Blossom. Usually it’s a component but here it’s Cherry Blossom all the way down. It’s like being on the Cherry Blossom production line. Like dying and going to Cherry Blossom heaven (or hell, as the case may be). This isn’t your metaphorical chocolate. Blindfolded, you’d guess someone was holding a bowl grated chocolate and cherry jam under your nose.

I shudder to think what the wine will taste like. I take a sip and… it isn’t disgusting. Medium-bodied, supple, fluid, sweet but not saccharine. There’s a focused fruity core, very little structure and enough acidity to avoid flabbiness. There’s chocolate too, but it’s an added layer, like oak can be on some wines. Totally disconcerting. It’s like drinking ludlab. Is it some sort of strange Banyuls?

Nope. It’s a new arrival at the SAQ: Walla Walla Valley, Chocolate Red Wine, Chocolate Shop Wine ($17.95, 11814747). The ingredients are wine made from unspecified red grapes, chocolate flavouring and sugar, so I guess you can call it a blend. It clocks in at a reasonable 12.5% ABV. There’s even a sparkling version though, alas, not at the SAQ.

I’d never buy a bottle except as a gag (MWG members should be thankful our silly tasting isn’t till December). But people who don’t much care for wine might. And I can even see some people who like wine buying this to serve with a not-too-sweet chocolate-cherry dessert.

Written by carswell

April 18, 2013 at 16:23

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