Saturday is National Chocolate Cake Day. It’s also my birthday. And guess what I’m having to celebrate?
You guessed it: chocolate cake. It is my absolute favorite. But chocolate as a whole (and cake in particular, with all its sweet frosting) is notoriously hard to pair with wine. Forget about trying to match it with a dry wine, but not any sweet dessert wine will do either. While wines from Banyuls are a classic match, it’s my plan to seek out a Recioto di Valpolicella, a sweeter red wine from Italy’s Veneto region.
This wine is made with a combination of corvina, molinara, rondinella and corvinone. The grapes are dried on pallets for anywhere between three weeks and three months, a process that concentrates the sugars and results in an intensely flavored wine. Following fermentation, the wine ages in barrels (typically made from Slovenian oak) for two years before bottling and release.
It is a rich and luscious wine, with notes of raisins, black cherry, plum, cocoa, vanilla, baking spices and tobacco. Though this wine can be enjoyed on its own, it shines with such desserts as chocolate cherry cake, tiramisu and pecan tarts. It is a delightful match with blue cheese, and can even be enjoyed with savory entrees such as duck in a Port wine sauce, filet mignon or tagliatelle alla Bolognese.
Producers to look for include Quintarelli, Dal Forno Romano, Luigi Righetti and Allegrini.