Match of the week | Chocolate layer cake and single vineyard rioja

Match of the week

Chocolate layer cake and single vineyard rioja

I’ve always been sceptical about the combination of red wine and chocolate but I came across one in Moscow last week that was simply sensational

I was in there to present a talk on food and wine pairing for the annual Spanish Wine Academy Rioja producer Ramon Bilbao organises for the sommeliers there. It was an impressive event with a high turnout - Russian sommeliers are really keen to learn more about wine.

In the evening we had a dinner at a very smart restaurant called Selection where the chef Ramon Bilbao had brought with them, Ignacio Echapresto of Venta Moncalvillo, cooked a five course meal which we matched with a range of contemporary Spanish wines. The red in question was the 2014 vintage of one of Ramon Bilbao’s top wines called Mirto, a beautifully poised, ripe modern rioja that you’d be more inclined to pair with a main course

The dessert, a light but intensely flavoured chocolate cake was sandwiched with ganache and (I think) a touch of red fruit jelly which chimed in beautifully with the Mirto. Generally a wine needs to be sweeter than a dessert to work but this was just perfect.

I still wouldn’t open a red of this quality just to drink with dessert but if you’re drinking a similar wine with the main course you could happily save a sip for a chocolate cake or even a square of dark chocolate.

Disclosure: I was paid by Ramon Bilbao to present the wines (but not asked to write about them.)

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